Get the kids off Nauru for medical treatment

22 Jul 2020

Posted October 16, 2018

Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie is backing a Private Member's Bill that would temporarily bring any of the 77 children on Nauru to Australia if they needed urgent medical treatment.

The Bill, to be formally introduced next sitting week by the Independent Member for Denison Andrew Wilkie, has been seconded by Rebekha.

The two MPs were joined by fellow crossbench Greens MP Andrew Bandt in announcing the Bill during a press conference at Parliament House today.

The legislation, if passed, would allow any child in offshore detention on the Pacific island, and a family support member, to be “temporarily removed” to Australia for medical treatment.

Andrew Wilkie says the temporary measure negates any Government argument that the legislation will open the door for asylum seekers to stay in Australia indefinitely.

“I would like them to be permanently removed and I have moved legislation personally to that effect but the Government is not interested so the next best thing is to get the kids off for medical treatment,” Andrew said today.

Rebekha said the Government was refusing to act so the crossbench was taking the lead.

“This is not a left wing, right wing thing this is just the right thing to do and so I hope the Parliament will get behind us,” Rebekha said.

“This is something we as a crossbench have been calling for months indeed sadly it is something we have been talking about in the Parliament for years.

“It is wrong of this Government to keep these children on Nauru and to use the courts, to be dragged through the courts to eventually bring them to Australia.

“So we’re saying bring these children here for medical treatment.”

Andrew said the situation on Nauru had reached an “absolute crisis point”.

“There are 77 children currently on Nauru as best that we can tell. Twenty of them are judged by doctors to be in a critical medical condition,” Andrew said.

“Another 28 of the children are deemed to also need less urgent medical attention so we have 48 out of 77 children on Nauru who are in need of being brought to Australia for medical treatment on the advice of doctors and the government refuses to do it.

“It’s simply not good enough that it’s been left to the Federal Court to intervene in some cases and order the evacuation of some children to Australia for medical treatment.”

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