A final vote on Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s election pledge to repeal the medevac law is expected today, as the Government continued efforts to secure the crucial vote of Senator Jacqui Lambie. Source: The Australian.
The Government, as of last night, was waiting for Senator Lambie to make a final call on whether she would back the medevac repeal after making unspecified demands in return for her support. If Senator Lambie backs the Government, a vote on the repeal would likely take place shortly after.
Under medevac laws, doctors were granted the power to recommend an asylum-seeker or refugee in PNG and Nauru be transferred to Australia for medical treatment. The Government has expressed concern people complaining of trivial medical issues are being approved by doctors for transfer.
There are 171 people offshore who have applied for transfer under Labor and Greens-backed medevac laws. As of Monday night, there were 466 asylum-seekers and refugees held offshore, 208 on PNG and 258 on Nauru.
Repealing medevac, a key national security promise made by the Prime Minister ahead of the May 18 election, is expected to be separate to any demands made by Senator Lambie to secure her support. Pauline Hanson, who abandoned the Government on its union-busting bill last week, has committed One Nation’s support for the medevac repeal vote.
In a last-ditch attempt to persuade Senator Lambie not to vote with the Coalition on the medevac repeal, Labor leader Anthony Albanese said Government claims the laws would end border security hadn’t eventuated. “Jacqui Lambie, I think, should look at the gap that is there between the rhetoric of the Government before this legislation was introduced a year ago, and what’s actually happened,” he said.
“The bigger issue than medevac is why are people still in offshore detention who’ve been there now for seven years? Why is it that the Government hasn’t both looked after the interests of those people by settling them in third countries, and looking after the interests of Australian taxpayers by doing that as well?”
Jacqui Lambie the key vote to end medivac law (The Australian)
Most people transferred under medevac law now living in community detention (Sydney Morning Herald)