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THE HON SHAYNE NEUMANN MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR IMMIGRATION AND BORDER PROTECTION
FEDERAL MEMBER FOR BLAIR

CATHERINE KING MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR HEALTH AND MEDICARE
MEMBER FOR BALLARAT

MEDICAL TRANSFER OF CHILDREN FROM AUSTRALIAN-FUNDED REGIONAL PROCESSING CENTRES

Labor will introduce legislation to address the Government’s failure to ensure children in Australian-funded regional processing centres receive the urgent medical care they need.
For five years, successive Liberal governments have failed to ensure that children in regional processing centres are receiving timely and adequate care – or being transferred to alternative locations for that care.
Labor shares the increasing concerns expressed by the medical fraternity, including the Australian Medical Association, that the Government is failing in its obligations to provide adequate medical care for children in offshore processing locations.
To address the Liberals’ failure, Labor will introduce legislation to:
  • Ensure the recommendation of treating clinicians is the primary consideration when determining a temporary medical transfer for a child;
  • Ensure the Minister, not the bureaucracy, is the final decision-maker with respect to medical transfers;
  • Require the Minister to make a determination on medical transfers within 24 hours;
  • Introduce greater transparency and accountability over decisions to approve or deny the medical transfer of children; and
  • Strengthen the existing Independent Health Advice Panel by establishing it in legislation, regularising its work, entrenching greater independence through membership, and mandating transparency in its reporting.
These are practical, reasonable and responsible measures to address the chaotic, confusing and inconsistent medical transfer process that currently exists for asylum seeker and refugee children. This is about making sure vulnerable and sick children in Australia’s care can receive the medical treatment they need – when and where they need it.
If the Liberals’ decision making had the best interests of the child at its core, then they should welcome these proposed improvements, which entrench this principle and enhance transparency over decision making.Under Labor’s legislation, families, a parent or a guardian will be able to transfer to Australia whilst the child undergoes treatment.
The Bill ensures that the rights of the child are a primary consideration for the Minister – every child has a right to be with their family or guardian.Labor has long held concerns about medical treatment services and medical transfer procedures in regional processing centres. We investigated these issues in the Labor-initiated Senate inquiry following the leaked Nauru files.
Labor believes that medical transfers to alternative treatment locations for refugees and children in regional processing centres should be made available when treatment is recommended by appropriate medical practitioners.Labor will not put the lives of vulnerable children at risk by allowing people smugglers to restart their vile trade.
Labor’s proposed legislation will mean children in regional processing centres can receive medical treatment when it is required.
Ensuring Australia maintains strong borders does not absolve the Government of its obligation to provide appropriate health, security, and welfare services to children in Australian-funded regional processing centres.
Labor’s policy on asylum seekers is clear – we will never let the people smugglers back in business.We believe in strong borders, offshore processing, regional resettlement and turnbacks when safe to do so, because we know it saves lives at sea.
Nauru and Manus Island were set up as temporary regional processing centres but have become places of indefinite detention because of the failure of successive Liberal Governments to negotiate other third country resettlement options.
Scott Morrison must do everything possible to end genuine refugees languishing in indefinite detention – he should begin by accepting New Zealand’s generous offer to resettle eligible refugees, including children, from Nauru and Manus Island as quickly as possible.
Labor has made clear that, in government, we will accept New Zealand’s offer with appropriate conditions, and negotiate other third country resettlement options as a priorityLabor took a strong, progressive policy to the last election – including commitments to increase Australia’s annual humanitarian intake to 27,000 by 2025, provide funding to support the important work of the UNHCR and establish an Independent Children‘s Advocate to protect the rights of children.
TUESDAY, 16 OCTOBER 2018

SHAYNE NEUMANN MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR IMMIGRATION AND BORDER PROTECTION
FEDERAL MEMBER FOR BLAIR

PROVISION OF HEALTHCARE SERVICES FOR ASYLUM SEEKERS AND REFUGEES IN NAURU

Scott Morrison must immediately take action to ensure asylum seekers and refugees, including children, in the Australian-funded regional processing centre on Nauru are receiving adequate healthcare and mental healthcare services.
Labor is concerned Médecins Sans Frontières are no longer able to provide psychological and psychiatric services to asylum seekers and refugees on Nauru as they have done so since late-2017.
The Australian Government must work with their Nauruan counterparts to ensure vulnerable asylum seekers and refugees have access to the services they require – including providing appropriate health, security, and welfare services – and that there will be no diminution of these services as a result of MSF’s departure.
Labor strongly believes that medical transfers to alternative treatment locations for refugees and children in Australian-funded offshore regional processing centres should be made available when a treatment is not available on the island and where treatment is recommended by appropriate medical practitioners.
If a medical practitioner recommends the medical transfer of a vulnerable individual requiring treatment, it should not require a legal challenge to take place to compel the Government to meet its obligations – an occurrence that has taken place far too many times under the current Abbott-Morrison-Turnbull Government.
Australia has a moral responsibility to people currently in Australian-funded offshore regional processing centres; Scott Morrison, Peter Dutton, and the new Immigration Minister David Coleman cannot absolve themselves of this responsibility.
Ongoing concerns about the provision of healthcare are one of the many reasons why Scott Morrison must accept New Zealand’s generous offer to resettle eligible refugees – including children – from Nauru and Manus Island as quickly as possible.
Nauru and Manus Island were set up as temporary regional processing centres but have become places of indefinite detention because of the failure of successive Liberal Governments to negotiate other third country resettlement options.
If elected, a Shorten Labor Government will accept New Zealand’s offer and negotiate other third country resettlement options as a matter of utmost priority to end genuine refugees languishing in indefinite detention.
The Morrison Government cannot bury its head in the sand when it comes to its ongoing failures to manage Australian-funded regional processing centres or negotiate other third country resettlement options.
FRIDAY, 12 OCTOBER 2018

SHAYNE NEUMANN MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR IMMIGRATION AND BORDER PROTECTION
FEDERAL MEMBER FOR BLAIR

DUTTON HAS NO EXCUSES TO REFUSE NEW ZEALAND’S OFFER TO RESETTLE REFUGEES

Peter Dutton and the out-of-touch Morrison Government have no excuses when it comes to refusing the generous offer from New Zealand to resettle eligible refugees and children from Manus and Nauru.
At the Pacific Islands Forum on Nauru, New Zealand has confirmed that they would be willing to negotiate conditions to negate any concerns Peter Dutton and the Liberals may have.“If the issue was that was their (Australia’s) concern by letting them come to NZ they will gain right to Australia, we can fix that up so that’s not really a concern in my view.”
New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters
4 September 2018
Labor has written to both Peter Dutton and Scott Morrison urging them to accept New Zealand’s offer so that eligible refugees, including children, from Manus and Nauru, can be resettled as quickly as possible.
If the Turnbull Government was able to negotiate appropriate conditions for the US refugee resettlement agreement to prevent people smugglers exploiting vulnerable people, the Morrison Government should be able to negotiate similar conditions for any deal with New Zealand.
The New Zealand offer was first negotiated in 2013 between former Prime Minister Gillard and former New Zealand Prime Minister John Key – before being shelved by Tony Abbott who said it would only be called upon “if and when it becomes necessary”.
Nauru and Manus Island were set up as temporary regional processing centres but have become places of indefinite detention because of the failure of successive Liberal Government’s to negotiate other third country resettlement options.
The embattled Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton needs to immediately do his job and accept New Zealand’s offer.
If Peter Dutton is incapable of negotiating conditions on a deal with New Zealand – or he’s too distracted by his ministerial intervention drama – Scott Morrison needs to step in and take action to end the indefinite detention of refugees.
TUESDAY, 4 SEPTEMBER 2018