Australia government loses bill blocking sick asylum seekers

Charlene Craig
February 14, 2019

Morrison refused to disclose the cost of reopening the center, which closed in October last year after running for 10 years.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, parliament rebuffed government warnings and adopted legislation opening the door for some of the 1,000 refugees detained in existing offshore centres on Nauru and Papua New Guinea's Manus Island to travel to Australia for medical treatment if the transfers are requested by two or more doctors.

The Christmas Island center, on par with detention facilities on Nauru and Manus Island, has become a symbol of Australia's controversial migration policy, associated with torture, mistreatment, and abuse.

Mr Shorten proved the government's vulnerability by gaining support from five independent and one Greens MP to gain 75 votes on the floor of the House of Representatives to pass the new rules for refugee medical transfers. If they don't come it will be because of the work and decisions we are now taking.

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Morrison added: "My job now is to ensure that boats don't come, my job now is to do everything in my power to ensure that what the parliament has done to weaken our borders does not result in boats coming to Australia".

Prime minister Scott Morrison will speak at the National Press Club in Canberra on Monday - where he will argue only his government can protect Australians from local and global threats.

"Where we will always stand, and the Australian people can always trust us to do, is to have the mettle to ensure the integrity of our border protection framework. the Labor Party demonstrated tonight they have no such mettle".

"If the Labor Party thinks that nuance is going to be heard by desperate people paying money to a people-smuggler they are completely deluded at every turn", he told 2GB radio.

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"To open up a taxpayer funded motel in Christmas Island to basically advertise to people smugglers in the region that indeed business is back - that is a desperate act".

"We can have strong borders while still fulfilling our duty of care to the people in our care". But 17 Vietnamese asylum seekers who reached northeast Australia in August last year - the first boat arrival in four years - were sent to Christmas Island before they were returned to their homeland.

The secretary will have to refer the case to the Immigration Minister, who will have 72 hours to either approve or reject a transfer.

Most refugees who arrived by boat have gone into the community in the past.

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His government, he said, was adopting "100%" of a series of recommendations from the country's security services to further tighten efforts to prevent the arrival of migrants and asylum-seekers by sea.

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