Our one chance to transfer critically sick people from Nauru and Manus to Australian hospitals is before Parliament.
In a coalition of consciousness, Labor and crossbench MPs passed amendments for urgent medical treatment in the Senate in December 2018. This February Parliament must pass it through the Lower House and bring about urgent treatment before another life is lost.
People must not be denied treatment a second longer
Twelve people have died in offshore processing. Doctors across Australia have been incredibly clear; if people are not transferred to Australian hospitals we will lose a life. After being detained in offshore processing for close to six years, men, women and children have been denied doctors and appropriate medical care for complex yet treatable medical conditions.
The vast majority of those in offshore processing are now critically sick, in exasperated pain and rapidly deteriorating physical and psychological health. Detained for close to six years under six Prime Ministers, the Australian government’s offshore processing policy has failed.
Amendments to the Home Affairs Legislation Amendment (Miscellaneous Measures) Bill ensures doctors, not politicians, determine when and how people on Manus and Nauru receive the medical treatment needed to prevent permanent damage and save their lives.
It strikes a fair balance between critical medical need while enabling fair and reasonable checks and balances about security. Any Ministerial oversight for doctors recommendations for transfer is appealable, reviewable, transparent and quantifiable, and importantly, it will require evidence.
The amendments will stop Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton from arbitrarily blocking and denying critically-ill people urgent medical treatment recommended by doctors for close to six years. The Australian Government spent $480,000 on legal fees to block much needed medical transfers in one year alone.
The bipartisan support for generated to address this medical crisis is a huge achievement and demonstrates a significant political shift in Australia.
Back the bill on February 12
Come the first sitting week in 2019, the House of Representatives will have the opportunity to put people before politics and pass the Home Affairs Legislation Amendment (Miscellaneous Measures) Bill.
Labor and crossbench MPs must all stay strong and back the bill when parliament sits for the first time this year. Many of the crossbench have faced mounting political and media pressure from Scott Morrison and the Coalition. It’s critical that we remind each of our leaders to stay strong.
Remind crossbench MPs to Stay Strong
Together in our thousands, we are calling our political leaders to say strong and back the bill.
People on Nauru and Manus cannot, and must not, wait for another election, just to get treated by an appropriate doctor.