Just days after federal member for Lyne, David Gillespie, revealed his reasons for voting to repeal the Medevac Bill, local refugee advocacy group Great Lakes Rural Australians for Refugees has provided a number of contrasting reasons as to why the legislation should be kept in place.
Passed earlier this year, the bill essentially gives medical experts the final authority to decide whether sick asylum seekers on Manus Island and Nauru should be brought to Australia for medical treatment, provided they pose no threat to national security.
However, since a motion to repeal the bill was put forward by the coalition government and subsequently voted through the House of Representatives late last month, that final authority could once again rest in the hands of Minister for Home Affairs, Peter Dutton, if the motion gets through the Senate in October.
We all have a stake in making the world a safer placeMargaret Gardner
In contrast to Dr Gillespie's claim the law would encourage more people to come to Australia illegally, coordinator for GLRAR Margaret Gardner said the bill does not threaten our security.
"No person with a criminal background or conviction is allowed to enter Australia," she said.
"It is legal to be an asylum seeker and Australia has an obligation under the UN Refugee Convention to protect basic human rights."
Mrs Gardner also held a vastly different view to Dr Gillespie's belief that detainees already had access to adequate healthcare.
"Sadly the lack of efficient and accurate medical diagnosis and treatment results in life-threatening illnesses and deaths," she said.
"The death of 24-year-old man, Hamid Khazaei, from a leg infection after delayed assessment by a department official was deemed preventable by the Queensland coroner, stating that "if the Government met its responsibility to provide comparable health care to Australian standards" then the man would not have died."
Mrs Gardner not only believed the Medevac legislation should be kept in place, but more needed to be done to make it easier for sick asylum seekers to be treated in Australia.
"Despite some approvals happening, serious issues slow the process," she said.
"The department requires extensive documentation for each case. RAR understands the total number of medical personnel is 60 with only a small number of fully qualified doctors, so case number management is constrained and time consuming."
Ultimately, she said it was a question of humanity and compassion.
"We should not turn an issue of human rights into political bickering," she said.
"We all have a stake in making the world a safer place - by creating a fair and efficient asylum process we can show that when people are in harm's way we will do the right thing."
The Senate will consider the Medevac Bill repeal after a parliamentary committee examines it and reports back in October.
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