The Medevac Bill (Home Affairs Legislation) is now law. Sick people in our care are now one step closer to getting the medical treatment they need without jeopardising our borders.
This bill illustrates how we, as parliamentarians, can work together to create meaningful change. Members from a number of parties, as well as independents like myself, came together to achieve a result which should help sick people on Nauru and PNG get the medical attention that we would expect for ourselves. The amendments I put forward in the Senate last year were further amended in February to reflect the concerns of security agencies.
Frustrated by the seemingly arbitrary and ad hoc nature of the Government’s action, I was glad to have the opportunity to put forward amendments (see below) to the Home Affairs Legislation Amendment (Miscellaneous Measures) Bill 2018, which would see decisions relating to the health of refugees returned to those who should have been making them in the first place – independent doctors.
The bill will not, as has been suggested, reopen Australia’s borders. Rather, it will provide long overdue medical treatment to those in need, with the Minister retaining veto power on national security or character grounds due to serious crimes. This strikes the right balance between national security and our humanitarian obligations.