Local, Independant and Effective

Action on medical evacuation of refugees strikes the right balance

Federal Independent member for Indi Cathy McGowan said today she supported the amendments on the urgent medical transfer bill for refugees on Nauru and Manus because they provided a balance between urgent medical treatment for sick people and matters of national security and safety.

Ms McGowan said over recent months she had been listening closely to her constituents, those in favour and against the legislation, refugee advocacy groups and her political colleagues.

“The message from the community is clear – an overwhelming majority of comments are in favour of the medical evacuation bill,” Ms McGowan said.

“I believe the amendments help ensure critically ill people in our care have access to medical treatment. Ministerial discretion is strengthened, and the legislation is confined to the present refugees on Manus and Nauru.

“It is preferable to allowing the current existing situation to remain unchanged.”

Ms McGowan said her position on refugees had been consistent.

“It’s important for Australia to uphold its international obligations. Support for asylum seekers and keeping our borders secure does not mean we should treat people in anything less than a humane way,” she said.

“I was hoping we might see the acceptance of New Zealand’s offer to resettle 150 refugees in that country. Without this, the amendments are the best option to provide medical treatment for refugees while maintaining key decision in the hands of the government of the day.

“I will continue to lobby the Government on the need to accept the New Zealand offer.”

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