Dutton slams doctors' choice
The Home Affairs Minister says recent moves are making boat arrivals much more likely.
Peter Dutton says a recent federal court decision on the so-called medevac legislation will make travelling to Australia by boat more attractive for potential asylum seekers.
The Federal Court has ruled that doctors do not need an appointment with patients before deciding if they need treatment in Australia, allowing them to provide assessments without waiting to see patients.
The Human Rights Law Centre says there is nothing unusual about recommendations being made based on a person's records.
The ruling only applies to those on Nauru, where medical consultations via teleconference are banned.
“The fact that two doctors who haven't had any interaction with the patient could make a decision that that person should come to Australia is a completely outrageous arrangement,” Mr Dutton said.
He said the ruling “has certainly the potential to restart boats and that would be a travesty”.
Shadow Home Affairs Minister Kristina Keneally has pointed out that the medevac legislation only applies to people already on Manus Island and Nauru.
“There is no pull factor here, this is just scare-mongering from the Government,” she said.
The Federal Government said when the medevac bill passed that it would result in “a flood” of hundreds of immediate transfers to Australia.
It even spent over $180 million to reopen the Christmas Island detention centre under the pretext that it would be needed to help process the waves of sick asylum seekers.
Only about 30 people have been brought out from Manus Island so far, none of which went to Christmas Island.
The Federal Government will look for the support of four out of the six crossbench senators to help it scrap the medevac legislation when Parliament resumes.