Australia revokes medical evacuations for offshore detainees
- Author: Sonia Alvarado Dec 05, 2019,
Dec 05, 2019, 1:07
The repeal passed 37-35 after Tasmanian independent senator Jacqui Lambie voted to repeal the laws, giving the government the numbers it needed to scrap the legislation.
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.
But there is some confusion about how Senator Lambie came to vote for the repeal. "I get that this vote will disappoint many, and I apologise for that".
"This was always a law that was about getting people here through the back door, and today we've closed that back door", Peter Dutton, the minister for home affairs, told reporters in Canberra, the capital.
It's understood the government may have agreed to send refugees from offshore processing to New Zealand after a similar arrangement with the United States ended. "He said "...we are living in an extremely tough environment. The group called on Christians to pray for Senator Jacqui Lambie, "that she would continue to hear and respond to the calls [for] compassion and care from doctors and medical professionals, and that she remains strongly committed to seeking a compassionate solution".
And they petulantly got their way by striking some sort of clandestine deal with a loose unit moron sitting on the crossbench, the details of which aren't even being made available to opposition politicians, let alone the Australian public.
In defiance of such revocation, opposition MPs said the government was "heartless". Opponents say this risks the lives of refugees.
"We've worked to an outcome I believe we both want, which is an outcome that our borders are secure, the boats have stopped and sick people aren't dying waiting for treatment", Lambie continued.
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Opinion polls had shown that 62% of voters supported the law. "There will be no change to our strong border protection arrangements", he said just minutes before Lambie tearfully confirmed her conditions had been met.
The Medevac Bill, which passed despite the Morrison Government's best efforts to kill it dead at the time.
Greens leader Senator Richard Di Natale also accused the Morrison government of misleading the Parliament for saying no "secret deal" had been reached with Senator Lambie.
Under Australia's immigration policy, asylum seekers intercepted at sea are sent to camps in Papua New Guinea and Nauru.
There are now more than 200 refugees and asylum seekers left on PNG and more than 250 remaining on Nauru.
Almost 180 asylum seekers were brought into Australia under the medevac legislation.
The request was then considered by the Minister for Home Affairs, who could deny this on national security grounds or if they have concerns on serious character grounds.
"And 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".