Centre Alliance welcomes today’s vote on the amended asylum seeker medevac bill.
Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie said today’s passage of the Home Affairs Legislation Amendment (Miscellaneous Measures) Bill 2018 in the Lower House was a sensible and considered outcome for a humanitarian issue that has dragged on for too long.
“This is good legislation that provides a medical solution for a medical problem,” Rebekha said.
“It addresses the concerns of national security and insufficient timeframes and it ringfences the legacy caseload of those people left on Manus and Nauru for more than five years.”
Centre Alliance’s Immigration spokesman, Stirling Griff, said the Government should be ashamed that the Parliament has been forced to do what it would not.
“It is appalling to think that some asylum seekers have been in offshore detention for more than five years and that their mental and physical health has been allowed to degenerate to such an extent that we have had to resort to this Bill,” he said.
“The Government might like to claim victory for having finally removed children from Nauru but it should hang its head in shame that it did not do so earlier, and not before some children had attempted suicide and were in a catatonic state – and will suffer ongoing PTSD as a result of their experience – all under this Government’s watch.”
Rebekha said the compromise legislation passed in the Lower House completely negated the argument this legislation would act as a pull factor for people smugglers and open the floodgates.
“Let’s be clear. Operation Sovereign Borders has not ceased and nor is it diminished in any way,” Rebekha said.
“No new asylum seekers have arrived at Manus or Nauru since 2014 – although I note that 34 boats have been turned back or returned to their country of origin.
“Australia needs to take responsibility for those they have detained on Manus and Nauru.
“This legislation deals only with those who have serious medical issues and it offers no permanent pathway to a new future.
“It aims to provide temporary medical support for those needing critical care.
“We now call on the Government to revisit the offer from NZ to resettle a large portion of those on Manus and Nauru so we can deal with this legacy issue.
“People should not have to face a lifetime in detention.”