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Jacqui Lambie keeps mum over Medevac repeal negotiations

2 min read

“I have given the government a choice. It can either pick ‘A’ or ‘B’ and that is where we’re at,” the Tasmanian independent told ABC TV on Sunday.

“So out of all due respect to both the Prime Minister and Peter Dutton, and to make sure that those talks continue over the week, I don’t want to be saying too much about this.

“What I am discussing with the PM and Minister Dutton is all in good faith, and I do not want to say or do anything that may jeopardise those talks, because otherwise, nobody is going to win out of this.”

Last week Senator Lambie said ending the medvac regime, established while the government lacked a majority in the lower house before the May election, would not risk the government’s hardline border security policies.

A source close to the negotiations described Senator Lambie’s demand as “unobtainable”.

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson told The Australian Financial Review the current medevac provisions were “an ongoing threat to Australia’s national security”.

Since rules allowing transfers on the advice of doctors were introduced, 179 people have been brought to Australia for treatment.

“Medevac is a sham and provides a loophole in the national security laws of this country,” Senator Hanson said.

“It allows people to come into Australia and stay, often based on minor and even dodgy health reasons and often injuries that are self-inflicted solely for the purpose of getting into Australia.

“Those in Papua New Guinea and Nauru are not genuine refugees and that is why they haven’t been granted asylum in Australia, and they use health claims made courtesy of medevac as a strategy to undermine our processing and assessment procedures.”

Senator Hanson hit out at horse-trading and said New Zealand’s long standing offer to accept Australian immigration detainees was “a feel good strategy designed to capture headlines.”

Australia has detained about 260 people on Nauru, with another 220 in Papua New Guinea. Another 640 have been resettled in the United States under a deal agreed by Malcolm Turnbull and the Obama Administration.

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