Australia Revokes Medical Evacuations for Offshore Detainees

Clay Curtis
December 4, 2019

David Burke from the Human Rights Law Centre said today was "a shameful day for Australia" on which "lifesaving laws" that allowed doctors to decide when seriously ill people needed to be transferred were repealed.

"The only undertaking we've given is to implement our policies - that is it", he told reporters in Canberra on Wednesday.

Only 22 percent said they thought the law weakened Australia's borders.

Lambie was one of four crossbenchers in the Senate who supported the repeal bill, which passed by 37 to 35 votes.

Lambie, who cast the deciding vote, broke down in tears while telling the senate of her decision, insisting that it was a matter of national security.

A teary Lambie told the Senate "I'm not being coy or silly when I say I genuinely can't say what I proposed".

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.

However Prime Minister Scott Morrison argued the legislation had offered a "nationwide safety" threat.

"We have always taken the actions necessary to ensure that Australians can have confidence in the way our borders are managed", he said.

However, there have been conflicting accounts of what took place as Government Senate leader Mathias Cormann has denied that any deal had been made.

'My hand is on my heart and I can stand here and say that I would be putting at risk Australia's national security and national interest if I said anything else about this'.

Police searching Australian Outback for woman find body
Daytime temperatures in the Australian outback often exceed 40C (104F), with temperatures plummeting after sundown. Police say formal identification of the body is yet to be conducted and a report in being prepared for the Coroner.

"We know that these people have self-inflicted... like palm oil into their bloody penises, for crying out loud".

"To those who say that doctors should make the final call on matters like this, doctors don't make our health policy", she said. Repeal would deny people treatment, she said.

He described the legislation as a law created to provide a "backdoor" to Australia, which was now closed.

"You can go strong on borders without going weak on humanity", Senator Keneally stated.

Jacqui Lambie sided with the government, paving the way for the bill to be introduced. "Are you lying? Or is Senator Lambie lying?" Less than 20 minutes later, however, Lambie addressed the senate and said there was, in fact, a deal.

Opposition senators accused the federal government of "secrecy" in placing the last-minute deal.

But Cormann earlier said: "There is no secret deal".

Green Party senator Nick McKim said offshore detention was "a humanitarian calamity" that had caused "misery and suffering".

Since 2013, the nation has sent asylum seekers who arrive by boat to the detention centers in Nauru and Papua New Guinea (PNG). "In forcing this repeal, he has made his own life more hard, done a disservice to our country, and exacted another cruel blow on a group of people who have already suffered unspeakably at Australia's hands".

Doctors are the appropriate people to be entrusted with these medical decisions. If the concerns were medical, the case was referred to the Independent Health Advisory Panel (IHAP) for review.

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