Labor leaves the door ajar: Bernardi

February 14, 2019

Bill Shorten and Labor have opened the door to another flood of illegal arrivals of boatpeople from Indonesia in pushing through the controversial 'medevac' legislation. The legislative joint effort between Labor, the Greens and leftist crossbenchers allows doctors to decide who comes to Australia, limiting the grounds that the Immigration Minister can use to reject the transfer.

The medevac bill allows for the transfer of asylum seekers or refugees from Nauru or Manus Island to Australia for “medical or psychiatric assessment or treatment” and family members can also be transferred.

The recommendation is given to the Minister for Home Affairs who must either approve or refuse the transfer within 72 hours. The minister can refuse the transfer if the person has an adverse security assessment or if the person has a “substantial criminal record”.

The minister may also refuse the recommendation on the basis he does not accept the transfer is necessary on medical grounds. In those cases an expert medical panel – known as the Independent Health Advice Panel (IHAP) – would be formed to reassess the recommended transfer.

If the panel recommends the person’s transfer should be approved, the minister must transfer the person unless satisfied there are security or character grounds for refusing the transfer.

Reports emerging today indicate that leftist doctors have already prepared authorisations for hundreds - if not all - the detainees on Nauru and Manus Island to come to Australia, in expectation of the passed legislation becoming law.

The Coalition government has meanwhile re-opened the Christmas Island detention centre in anticipation of the influx, and are warning the people smuggling trade could well resume.

Senator Bernardi has told Peta Credlin on Sky News he thought Bill Shorten and Labor were smarter than that.

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