Labor leader Bill Shorten is considering support for a newly amended version of the medivac asylum-seeker bill after a briefing from security officials about the implications for a re-start of the people smuggling trade from Indonesia.
The crossbench bill, which passed the Senate late last year but didn’t reach the House of Representatives because of a widely acknowledged sustained solo effort on the last day of sitting by Conservative Party leader Cory Bernardi, much to the chagrin of the political left.
The Australian reports, if the bill, in its current form, passes the House of Representatives, the decision making power about which refugees could come to Australia would be taken out of the hands of the Minister and transfered to doctors, effectively creating a medicocracy.
Labor’s parliamentary caucus is meeting today to discuss their next steps on the controversial crossbench amendments which would allow two doctors to set in motion the transfer of refugees from offshore detention centres.
There is growing nervousness within Labor that the medivac bill will leave the party exposed to a pre-election attack on border protection.
Some Labor MPs have told The Australian today they want Mr Shorten to abandon support for the bill because it will undermine our national security.
One senior right-wing Labor MP said “children” on Labor’s frontbench and within the caucus needed to grow up and face the reality that they could soon be in government.
“The children in our party who believe in fairytales have to be stopped. National security is just too important to be allowed to be run by children,” the source said. “We have got to ensure the minister retains the unequivocal discretion to override the doctors.”
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