Published: Wed, February 13, 2019
Medical | By

Medivac bill passes in the House of Representatives and Senate

Medivac bill passes in the House of Representatives and Senate

Mr Shorten dismissed that claim and argued the bill simply allowed for better medical care for asylum seekers who needed help in Australia.

The bill, which will give doctors more power to bring offshore asylum seekers to Australia for medical treatment, was then passed in the Senate on Wednesday, shortly after Morrison's deliverance, as Senator Derryn Hinch switched sides and placed his support with Labor, claiming the issue was a "humanitarian" one.

However, the CEO of the Christmas Island Shire, David Price, has labelled the Government's announcement a "political knee-jerk reaction", citing that the small regional hospital on the island was not adequate as it did not perform operations and had no specialists to address mental health concerns.

PRIME Minister Scott Morrison has taken the extraordinary step of reopening the Christmas Island detention centre as the government braces for a new wave of boat arrivals after suffering a historic defeat on the refugee medical evacuation bill yesterday.

He added "Just opening the detention centre doesn't do that".

"If we're sending people who really need [help] to Australia already, why make a big deal of it, and why create a symbol that says we're going to get even kinder?"

The bill approved by the lower house must go to another vote in the Senate, where the government does not appear to have the numbers to stop the new scheme becoming law.

The Justice Party senator said it was the "toughest decision" of his time in parliament. I think it's a foolish law. People have died as a result.

He pressed the point that the legislation only applies to people now on Nauru or Manus and therefore was not an incentive for people smugglers.

"Last night was not about an election - last night was about the simple proposition that Australia is strong enough to treat people humanely", he told reporters at Parliament House.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten sought to send a message to would-be asylum seekers.

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