We are deeply concerned that today (Wednesday 4 December 2019) the Federal Government has voted to repeal the Medevac legislation.
There are still over 500 women and men in PNG and Nauru who remain there because the Australian Government refuses them entry into Australia. Some have been in this situation for six long years.
At the very least, it is our duty as a civilised country to provide the necessary health care for these people when it is unavailable to them in either PNG or Nauru. Doctors are the appropriate people to be entrusted with these medical decisions.
Churches call on the Senate to protect 'Medevac' legislation
We do not believe that the Medevac legislation has been open to misuse. Instead it has been saving lives.
Having taken this action, the Government must immediately open a humane resettlement pathway for these people and guarantee that seriously ill people in PNG and Nauru will receive the appropriate health care.
The ACSQ’s Justice Unit supports the ACRT and the NCCA’s advocacy for the men and women on Nauru and in PNG, and encourages members of our Diocesan community to sign former Socceroo and human rights advocate Craig Foster’s ‘Game Over: get people to safety’ petition, which he has launched with Amnesty International Australia.
“There has been no death in offshore detention while the bill was in place, compared to 12 deaths in five years. Chronic conditions, like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), need to be treated immediately and without Medevac, there may be serious implications for refugees and people seeking asylum on Nauru and in PNG due to significant delays,” Justice Unit Coordinator Jen Basham said.
“We can pray for them and talk to friends and family to help dispel misinformation about refugees and people seeking asylum on Nauru and in PNG. We can also sign the ‘Game Over: get people to safety’ petition, and give to organisations advocating for the transfer of people with medical needs approved under the Medevac provisions and urgently find a long-term, safe solution for the 535 people still detained offshore.”