Repeal of Labor’s Medivac Law


The repeal of Labor’s Medivac Law does not remove the ability to medically transfer a transitory person to Australia.

It is important to have a single, consistent, transparent medical transfer process with all the necessary protections for the Commonwealth and individuals in place.

Labor’s Medivac Law was passed by Parliament in February on a lie. There is no medical emergency on Manus or Nauru. There are no children on Manus or Nauru.

Labor’s Medivac Law, which they teamed up with the Greens to rush through the Parliament, has only served to weaken Australia’s border protection policies by effectively removing the ability of the Government to decide who comes to Australia.

The Government had significantly less powers to prevent the transfer of a person with bad character under Labor’s Medivac Law, than under any other process.

In fact, the Minister actually had more power to stop individuals coming on a Tourist visa than to stop those with bad character that seek to be transferred under Labor’s Medivac Law, or ‘bring them all here’ law.

There are currently people in PNG and Nauru who are charged with crimes against children, are being investigated for the supply of illicit drugs or have posted terror-related information online and the Government, under Labor’s law, had no discretion to prevent the transfer to Australia of those individuals.

Any law which removes the Government’s ultimate discretion to decide who enters Australia’s borders undermines our strong border protection policies.

We have always been clear on our position on border protection – it is the Australian Government that should determine who is allowed to enter Australia, and the terms and conditions to be imposed on that entry.

Medical services in Papua New Guinea and Nauru have improved over time to more effectively respond to transferee health needs and requirements. The need for medical transfers to third countries, including Australia, reduced as medical capacity and treatment options became more readily available in Papua New Guinea and Nauru.

Processes for medical transfer already exist and are effective. Specifically, section 198B of the Migration Act allows for a transitory person from a country or place outside Australia to come to Australia for a temporary purpose, for example medical or psychiatric assessment or treatment.

It is a misconception that the medical transfer provisions inserted by the Miscellaneous Measures Act introduced ‘doctors’ into the medical transfer process. It did not. The Department has consistently relied on clinical advice from doctors to form decisions on whether to bring a person to Australia for medical treatment.

In addition to undermining our border security, Labor’s Medivac Law contained other significant flaws as provided in evidence by the Department of Home Affairs at Senate Estimates including the fact that it does not provide a mechanism to return or remove transitory persons brought to Australia back to a regional processing country or third country.

You can read te Prime Minister’s media statements HERE.




Coalition’s Record at the Border

  • We must not forget – the only reason anyone is on Manus Island or Nauru is because Labor lost control of our borders.
  • When Labor entered government in 2007, there were only four illegal maritime arrivals in detention – none were children.
  • Without any policy forethought, Labor proceeded to unwind the successful Howard Government border protection policies. The results were disastrous.
  • Here is a reminder of what happened under Labor:
    • 50,000 people arrived on over 800 boats;
    • 1200 deaths at sea (that we know of);
    • Over 8000 IMA children were put in detention;
    • 17 onshore detention centres and 2 regional processing centres were opened; and
    • $16 billion border protection budget blowout.
  • We must never return to Labor’s policies which resulted with chaos at our border, deaths at sea and children in detention.
  • Under Operation Sovereign Borders, we have taken back control of our border from the people smugglers.
  • The Coalition Government has ended Labor’s border chaos using the three policy pillars of OSB:
    • Turn-backs where it is safe to do so;
    • Offshore processing; and
    • Temporary Protection Visas (TPVs).
  • We are proud of our record at the border, under OSB:
    • There have been 0 deaths at sea
    • We have closed 17 detention centres
    • We have removed all the children from detention
    • We have got all the children off Manus and Nauru;
    • We have increased the humanitarian program to 18,750; and
    • Provided a generous humanitarian response to the Syrian crisis, through the additional intake of 12,000 Syrian refugees.
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