Wednesday, 11 December, 2019

Australia restricts medical evacuations of refugees from Pacific camps

Greens Senator Nick Mc Kim and Senator Jacqui Lambie READ MORE'Blood on their hands: Medevac debate begins in Senate as supporters warn against repeal
Deanna Wagner | 04 December, 2019, 16:52

"He said "...we are living in an extremely tough environment.

But Prime Minister Scott Morrison believes the law has presented a risk of "national security".

"I'm not being coy or silly when I say I genuinely can't say what I proposed".

In farcical scenes, Liberal Senator Mathias Cormann stood up in the senate this morning and robustly denied that a deal had been struck.

The government has long hoped to overturn legislation allowing the medical evacuation of refugees and asylum seekers from Manus Island or Nauru to Australia for health treatment, which was passed late a year ago.

Fighting back tears, the Senator said it had been a hard decision she had worked out with the Government over the past week.

"I'm not anxious about the politics of this issue, I'm anxious about the people, the patients here at the centre of this system", he told the National Press Club.

Christian asylum seeker advocates are disappointed with the repeal, though they remain hopeful about rumours Lambie negotiated a deal with the Government to accept New Zealand's offer to permanently resettle asylum seekers from Manus and Nauru.

That led to the passage of the medevac invoice - the primary time in a long time {that a} authorities had misplaced a vote by itself laws within the decrease home.

In the mind of Lambie, she could not erode the protection of our borders, and allow people to drown. "Since medevac, not one person has passed away", Mr McKim said.

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"A deal between the Morrison government and Senator Lambie to drive a stake through the heart of medevac and they're keeping it secret from this parliament and from the Australian public".

"Without the full details of this secret deal how on earth can Senators have a vote in this debate", she said. If you care about the Government being accountable to the people, that should bother you.

Repeatedly asked if any assurance involving New Zealand was given to Senator Lambie, the prime minister refused to provide a direct response.

Taking an already fucked scene to even more ridiculous depths, Greens leader Richard Di Natale then asserted he'd overheard Cormann asking Lambie if it was ok if he told the Senate floor there was no deal, a point which Lambie responded to by confirming there really was a deal.

"Someone is misleading the Senate about one of the most important pieces of legislation that has been before this Parliament".

Morrison rejected those allegations, insisting Canberra has provided significant medical aid, while those unable to get necessary treatment can be sent to Australia if the minister for home affairs approves it. Since the legislation entered into force in February, 179 people have been transferred to Australia from Nauru and Papua New Guinea for health reasons.

"Processes for medical transfers existed prior to Medevac laws and they will continue to exist when this Bill passes the Senate". If the concerns were medical, the case was referred to the Independent Health Advisory Panel (IHAP) for review.

"As a result of that work, I am satisfied, I am more than satisfied that the conditions are now in place to allow medevac to be repealed".

With additional reporting from wires.