Australian government suffers historic defeat over refugee medical bill

Anthony Albanese during Question Time in the House of Representatives

This bloc of 75 was enough to pass the bill over the 73 government votes and another vote from Queensland independent Bob Katter.

Morison made the decision to reopen Christmas Island just prior to the passing of new legislation in Parliament to give sick asylum seekers easier access to mainland hospitals.

Even still, Mr Shorten believes the "incompetent and divided" Morrison government should call an election as soon as possible.

Australia will reopen its Christmas Island immigration centre after the Morrison government suffered a historic defeat in the House of Representatives on the refugee medevac bill. The government of prime minister Arthur Fadden lost a symbolic budget vote in 1941 and immediately resigned.

"As they let bikies and criminals and rapists and others stay in the country because they simply don't have the mettle to make the decisions to protect Australia and to keep Australians safe", Mr Morrison said.

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She went on to comment, "It was like him spitting on me, saying, 'You don't know anything, I don't trust you with anything". But his mother, Jill Wheeler, described the move as insulting and a "slap in the face", according to Undark .


"We have approved putting in place the reopening of the Christmas Island detention facilities, both to deal with the prospect of arrivals as well as dealing with the prospect of transfers", Morrison said in a press conference following his government's defeat in the parliament.

Under a harsh policy meant to deter asylum seekers from reaching Australia by boat, Canberra sends arrivals to the camps for processing and barred them from resettling in Australia.

The ruling coalition lost its single-seat majority when former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull quit politics after he was deposed by his party colleagues in August.

He also said police, the military and Australian Border Force have been working on "contingency plans" in the event laws related to asylum seekers in offshore detention are changed.

The bill was first mooted by independent MP Kerryn Phelps past year after she won the Liberal Party stronghold of Wentworth when former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull was ousted in a party coup.

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The changes included a provision that only the 1,000 asylum seekers now held on Nauru and Papua New Guinea and not any future arrivals would be considered for medical evacuation under the new regime.

Medical evacuations have become a loophole in Australia's policy of exiling asylum seekers who arrive by boat.

He said he was confident anyone who was transferred to Australia would remain in detention while receiving treatment. "In the past year alone, we have had to take court action repeatedly to help secure the medical evacuation of 26 ill people on Nauru, many of these children".

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton took a swing, too.

The federal opposition is introducing amendments to overhaul existing laws, lifting jail time for corporate crimes from 10 to 15 years and more than doubling the proposed cap on financial penalties.

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