Australia parliament votes to take in sick refugees in historic defeat for government

The Australian parliament has passed a bill giving doctors greater say over medical transfers for refugees, the first time a government has lost a vote on its own legislation in the country for more than 80 years.

It means that doctors at Australia‘s processing centres on the Pacific islands of Nauru and Manus Island will be able to force through medical evacuations against the government’s wishes, as long as the patient meets a set of criteria.

Previously, the decision of whether to allow a medical transfer to the mainland was entirely at immigration officials’ discretion. The prime minister, Scott Morrison, said the bill would “take control from the government”, and “unleash a world of woe”.

The change was forced into a broader government bill on border security, as a series of amendments proposed in the Senate and supported by the opposition Labor party.

And by just 75 votes to 74, the government has now been defeated on the bill in the House of Representatives.

“This was never about politics,” said Shayne Neumann, the shadow minister for immigration and border protection. ”This was about doing the right, decent and humane thing.”

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Source : The Independent

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