Politics

Everything You Wanted To Know About The Medivac Bill But Were Too Afraid To Ask

"Peter Dutton, Scott Morrison and Tony Abbott are lying liars who lie."

Scott Morrison and Peter Dutton announce new laws to strip people convicted of terrorism offences of Australian citizenship, Medivac bill

You’ve probably heard a lot about the “Medivac Bill” that almost brought down the government this week, and you probably have a few questions about what it all means, so we got Greens immigration spokesperson Nick McKim to explain it for us.


So What Is The “Medivac Bill”?

The so-called Medivac Bill actually began as an uncontroversial piece of Government legislation. For trivia buffs, it was called the Home Affairs Legislation Amendment (Miscellaneous Measures) Bill 2018.

It was amended by the Greens and Tim Storer in the Senate last year, and further amended by Labor in the House of Representatives this week.

What Does The Medivac Bill Do?

It ensures that sick refugees and people seeking asylum are able to receive health care in Australia quickly and without unnecessary delay.

It is the result of years of campaigning by people across Australia, who have joined protests, signed petitions and demanded that their members of Parliament act with a bit of compassion towards people seeking asylum and refugees.

But How Did It Pass The Parliament?

It first passed the Senate late last year, before passing the House of Representatives with Labor’s amendments on Tuesday. It then got the final tick off in the Senate on Tuesday.

It was possible because Greens, Labor, Centre Alliance and independent MPs worked and voted together in both houses to get this outcome.

But it never would have happened were it not for the actions of hundreds of thousands of Australians who have demanded, and continue to demand, an end to the cruelty inherent in offshore detention.

But Wait, Doesn’t The Government Control What Gets Through Parliament?

Not always. On rare occasions, when the Government is in minority, the other parties and independents can get legislation through the Parliament.

How Will Sick Refugees And People Seeking Asylum Be Able To Access Healthcare?

Once two doctors recommend a sick person currently on Manus Island or Nauru be brought to Australia, the Minister (Peter Dutton) will have three days to approve or deny the request.

If the request is approved, they will be brought to Australia for treatment.

What If Dutton Doesn’t Want Them To?

If he denies the request on health grounds, a panel of medical experts will have three days to review the case. If they recommend the person be brought to Australia, then their decision is final.

Dutton can deny the request on national security or character grounds, but that decision can be challenged in the courts.

Will Rapists, Pedophiles And Murderers Now Walk The Streets?

No. Peter Dutton, Scott Morrison and Tony Abbott are lying liars who lie.

The legislation gives the minister power to prevent transfers where people have committed serious offences

Will The Bill “Restart The Boats”?

No. But for all of Scott Morrison’s shouting and lies this week, he is actually encouraging people to get on boats again, for his own base political purposes. Taking a step back, it’s clear that both parties have failed to create safe pathways for people to seek asylum in Australia.

So Why Are Morrison And Dutton So Angry?

Because they lost. For the first time in years, their hatred, vitriol and lies didn’t work, and the Parliament voted for humanity and compassion. The pendulum has swung, and the will of decent Australians is finally starting to be reflected in Parliament.

What Does This Mean For The Future Of Offshore Detention?

Unfortunately, offshore detention has not ended, as it remains a key part of both Labor and the Liberals’ policy. But the Greens will keep fighting against offshore detention until every detained man, woman and child gets the freedom and safety they need and deserve.


Nick McKim is a federal Senator for Tasmania and the Greens’ spokesperson for Immigration. He is on Twitter.