We’re not going soft on the boats
Labor won’t weaken offshore processing
BILL Shorten has vowed not to weaken Australia’s offshore processing of refugees and boat turnbacks, despite a move to fasten medical treatment for people on Nauru and Manus Island.
The Opposition Leader traded blows with Prime Minister Scott Morrison after Federal Parliament descended into chaos on its last sitting day of the year when the Government desperately tried to avoid a humiliating defeat.
The Morrison Government was forced to shut 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 actually caring about the refugees and said the laws would undermine border protection.
Mr Shorten, pictured, 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.
“That is the path that has led to drownings at sea. At the end of the day, I do think we 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 – but the Home Affairs Minister could still override the advice on national security grounds.
The Government is facing the prospect of losing the vote on the refugee Bill when Parliament returns in February – which would be the first legislative defeat for a government in the Lower House since 1929.
Mr Morrison said fewer than 10 children remained on Nauru and that number would continue to drop before the end of the year.
The PM denied the move to adjourn the House of Reps was to save the Federal Government from a humiliating defeat.