Government moves to repeal Medevac bill

Government moves to repeal Medevac bill

The Morrison Liberal Government is a step closer to its goal of dismantling a law that lets doctors decide whether or not asylum seekers on Nauru and Manus Island may come to Australia for medical treatment.

A motion to repeal the asylum seeker medical evacuation (“medevac”) bill passed the House of Representatives on Thursday, 25 July.

The Morrison Liberal Government has said it wants the bill repealed as soon as possible, arguing that it weakens Australia’s border protection.

Centre Alliance Member for Mayo, Rebekha Sharkie made an appeal to scripture during debate, calling on other MPs to read a passage from Matthew.

“Matthew 25 makes it very clear. Christians should see everyone as Christ in the flesh. And in the New Testament, stranger and neighbour are in fact synonymous,” Ms Sharkie said.

“The golden rule of love your neighbour as yourself refers not just to the people you know, your neighbours, but also to those you do not know.” 

The bill now heads to the Senate. To pass, it will need support from Senate crossbenchers. It will not be considered by the Senate until after a parliamentary committee examines it and reports in October.

As of June, 31 asylum seekers had been transferred for medical treatment under the new laws, with most of these being for treatment related to mental health.

The Medivac Bill passed Parliament late in 2018, with the support of the Opposition, Greens, and independents. Its passage through the lower house marked the first time a government had lost a vote on legislation in the House of Representatives since 1929.

Christian aid campaign organisation Micah Australia expressed support for the Medevac bill at the time, suggesting that the Bill “balances compassion and security.”

At the 2019 federal election, however, the government won a slim majority, making it possible for them to successfully introduce the bill to end medical evacuations.

Jonathan Foye is Insights’ Editor


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