Bor­der vow

La­bor refugee law push

Herald Sun - - NEWS - AN­THONY GAL­LOWAY an­­[email protected]

BILL Shorten has vowed not to weaken Aus­tralia’s off­shore pro­cess­ing of refugees and boat turn­backs de­spite a move to has­ten med­i­cal treat­ment for peo­ple on Nauru and Manus Is­land.

Mr Shorten traded blows with Prime Min­is­ter Scott Mor­ri­son af­ter fed­eral par­lia­ment de­scended into chaos on its last sit­ting day of the year when the gov­ern­ment avoided a hu­mil­i­at­ing de­feat by shut­ting down the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives be­fore the refugee Bill was sent back, where La­bor and the cross­bench had the num­bers to pass the leg­is­la­tion.

Mr Mor­ri­son ac­cused La­bor of play­ing po­lit­i­cal games in­stead of car­ing about the refugees and said the laws would un­der­mine bor­der pro­tec­tion.

Mr Shorten said politi­cians needed to take the ad­vice of med­i­cal pro­fes­sion­als, and the pro­posed laws would have not weak­ened off­shore pro­cess­ing.

“We want to re­set­tle peo­ple over­seas, and what we’ve got to do is make sure the peo­ple smug­glers can’t sell their crooked and wicked prom­ise and ex­ploita­tion of vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple that if you get on an un­safe ves­sel, it will all be happy,” Mr Shorten said.

“At the end of the day, I do think we think should take refugees in this coun­try, but we don’t have a pol­icy that is ac­tu­ally dan­ger­ous to peo­ple.”

The changes would have al­lowed crit­i­cally ill refugees to be flown to Aus­tralia for med­i­cal treat­ment on the ad­vice of two doc­tors, although the Home Af­fairs Min­is­ter could still over­ride the ad­vice on na­tional se­cu­rity grounds.

The gov­ern­ment faces the los­ing the vote on the refugee Bill when par­lia­ment re­turns in Fe­bru­ary — the first leg­isla­tive de­feat for a gov­ern­ment in the lower house since 1929.

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