Morrison celebrates repeal of medevac laws

Jacqui Lambie speaks in the Senate with Mathias Cormann

"We've always understood that that type of loophole doesn't strengthen our borders, it only weakens them", said Morrison.

Earlier in the week, Senator Cormann and Senator Lambie both ruled out horse trading on the medevac repeal bill.

Prior to the vote, Senator Lambie became emotional as she explained the reason for her decision. "When I say I can't discuss it publicly due to national security concerns, I am being 100 per cent honest to you".

It's understood the government may have agreed to send refugees from offshore processing to New Zealand after a similar arrangement with the United States ended.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison had said at a press conference in February that there was no need for the medivac bill, calling it "unnecessary".

The only thing that needs "repair" is Australia's human rights reputation, former MP Kerryn Phelps said, as the government seeks to repeal the contentious refugee medical evacuation laws.

But Finance Minister Mathias Cormann denied making a secret deal.

RCOA CEO Paul Power said the Senate vote removes legislation created to end political and bureaucratic interference in decisions about how best to treat the medical needs of the refugees and people seeking asylum held by Australia in Papua New Guinea and Nauru. I know that's frustrating to people, and I get that.

That led to the passage of the medevac invoice - the primary time in a long time {that a} authorities had misplaced a vote by itself laws within the decrease home. "They must urgently find a long-term, safe solution for these people", Mr Power said.

He described the legislation as a law created to provide a "backdoor" to Australia, which was now closed.


In the mind of Lambie, she could not erode the protection of our borders, and allow people to drown.

Jacqui Lambie sided with the government, paving the way for the bill to be introduced.

"Someone's lying here. Either Senator Lambie is lying or the government is lying".

But the Federal Government continues to insist there was no deal, let alone a secret one.

"The public has a right to know if the Government and the Prime Minister have done a backflip and chose to accept the New Zealand offer - they should announce that".

Jacqui Lambie after speaking in the Senate on Wednesday. Senators were asked to vote on specific amendments, proposed in consultation with Lambie, which they had not seen - leading Labor and Greens senators to accuse their opponents of a "secret deal".

"Someone is misleading the Senate about one of the most important pieces of legislation that has been before this Parliament". How many of those people have been sent back (to Nauru)?

"What has underpinned the government's arguments about repeal has been a campaign of fear, of misinformation, of exaggeration about a process that in fact has worked extremely well to ensure that doctors not politicians make recommendations about the health needs of people held offshore".

Labor's shadow home affairs minister, Kristina Keneally, called on the government to release details of the undertakings it had given to Lambie.

"The repeal of Medevac is a devastating result for the lives of people who have already suffered so much", said Dr. Barri Phatarfod, founder of Physicians for Refugees.

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