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Asylum seekers recommended to Australia after medivac bill passed and Christmas Island reopening

On our doorstep: Up to 300 asylum seekers have ALREADY got doctors to recommend they’re sent to Australia for treatment – less than 24 hours after Christmas Island detention centre re-opened

  • Up to 300 asylum seekers recommended to Australia after medivac bill passed
  • Senate passed crucial bill by 36 votes to 34 in a razor thin win on Wednesday
  • The bill allows Nauru and Manus Island detainees to seek treatment in Australia
  • Medivac bill came as blow to Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his government 
  • Mr Morrison feared the bill would re-encourage people smugglers to the country
  • He said steps were already taken to reopen Christmas Island detention facility 

Hundreds of refugees and asylum-seekers in offshore facilities have already gotten recommendations from doctors to be transferred to Australia under new medivac legislation. 

Up to 300 asylum seekers from Manus Island and Nauru have obtained the crucial paperwork and are awaiting transfer, The Australian reported. 

The sudden inlfux comes after the medivac bill passed through the Senate on Wednesday by 36 votes to 34.

Under the bill, detainees on Nauru and Manus Island will be able to seek ‘medical or psychiatric assessment or treatment’ in Australia. 

Hundreds of refugees and asylum-seekers in offshore facilities have already gotten recommendations from doctors to be transferred to Australia under new medivac legislation (pictured, Prime Minister Scott Morrison)

According to the Department of Home Affairs, the government's medical contractor on Nauru International Health and Medical Services has experienced a 'surge of inquiries' from Australian-based doctors seeking medical records of the island's detainees (boat carrying asylum seekers sailing in to Flying Fish Cover on Christmas Island on August 7, 2011) 

According to the Department of Home Affairs, the government’s medical contractor on Nauru International Health and Medical Services has experienced a ‘surge of inquiries’ from Australian-based doctors seeking medical records of the island’s detainees (boat carrying asylum seekers sailing in to Flying Fish Cover on Christmas Island on August 7, 2011) 

According to the Department of Home Affairs, the government’s medical contractor on Nauru International Health and Medical Services has experienced a ‘surge of inquiries’ from Australian-based doctors seeking medical records of the island’s detainees.

In other cases, paperwork for asylum seekers and refugees had been prepared well ahead of yesterday’s passage of the bill, so the documents could be ‘ready for lodgement’ as soon as the changes become law.

While the medivac bill comes as a win for doctors, detainees and social advocacy groups it comes as a blow to Prime Minister Scott Morrison who staunchly opposed the bill over fears it would re-energise people smuggling to the country.

In a direct response, Mr Morrison confirmed steps had already been taken to reopen the Christmas Island detention facility and that action had been taken to strengthen Operation Sovereign Borders.

‘Bill Shorten has done what he has done out of manifest weakness, an inability to stand up to the left wing of his own party, the Greens and others who have applied pressure,’ Mr Morrison said on Wednesday.

‘He has no strength on this issue and he cannot be trusted to follow through on any of the borde­r protection measures that our government has put in place.’

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton picked up the thread and warned news of the legal changes had already reached people smugglers as parliamentary debates were closely followed overseas.

He said the Christmas Island facility was on ‘hot contingency’ alert for any new arrivals.

He also suggested the facility could be used to treat sick refugees. 

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton (pictured) picked up the thread and warned news of the legal changes had already reached people smugglers as parliamentary debates were closely followed overseas

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton (pictured) picked up the thread and warned news of the legal changes had already reached people smugglers as parliamentary debates were closely followed overseas

'I just say to people trying to put out the welcome mat for people­-smugglers, the medivac legislation applies for people who are already there. It does not apply to anyone new,' Mr Shorten said

‘I just say to people trying to put out the welcome mat for people­-smugglers, the medivac legislation applies for people who are already there. It does not apply to anyone new,’ Mr Shorten said

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten clapped back at the fear-mongering claims.

He pointed out the medivac bill only applied to asylum seekers and refugees currently stranded on Manus Island and Nauru.

‘I just say to people trying to put out the welcome mat for people­-smugglers, the medivac legislation applies for people who are already there. It does not apply to anyone new,’ Mr Shorten said.

‘So if you think that by buying a ticket on an unsafe boat, paying a people-smuggler, a criminal syndi­cate, you’ll get a better deal to come to Australia, you’re wrong.’

Labor frontbencher Brendan O’Connor went one step further and accused Mr Morrison of actually talking down Australia’s border protection. 

‘It is sending a message — he is advertising like the ad-man he is — to people-smugglers that business is open. And that is an outrageous act,’ Mr O’Connor said.            

In a direct response, Mr Morrison confirmed steps had already been taken to reopen the Christmas Island detention facility (pictured) and that action had been taken to strengthen Operation Sovereign Borders

In a direct response, Mr Morrison confirmed steps had already been taken to reopen the Christmas Island detention facility (pictured) and that action had been taken to strengthen Operation Sovereign Borders

Labor frontbencher Brendan O'Connor went one step further and accused Mr Morrison of actually talking down Australia's border protection (pictured, sunken fishing vessel believed to be carrying asylum seekers off the beach at Cape Kimberley on August 27, 2018)

Labor frontbencher Brendan O’Connor went one step further and accused Mr Morrison of actually talking down Australia’s border protection (pictured, sunken fishing vessel believed to be carrying asylum seekers off the beach at Cape Kimberley on August 27, 2018)

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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