Immigration

Labor backs crossbench push to get sick asylum seekers off Manus, Nauru

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Labor will support crossbench legislation to urgently transfer sick children from Nauru provided three key amendments are made.

Labor has offered conditional support for a crossbench push to make it easier for sick asylum seekers on Nauru and Manus Island to be urgently flown to Australia for treatment.

The opposition will support legislation introduced to parliament by independent MP Kerryn Phelps on Monday, provided three key changes are made to the bill.

Labor wants to ensure the minister or minister's delegate must sign off on all medical transfers.

The minister would also be required to table a statement in parliament if they refuse to transfer someone, and an independent health advice panel would be established.

Labor says it will support a crossbench push to get sick asylum seekers off Nauru and Manus Island.
Labor says it will support a crossbench push to get sick asylum seekers off Nauru and Manus Island.
AAP

Dr Phelps' legislation would also require the urgent medical transfer of all asylum-seeker children on Nauru.

The bill would ensure the urgent evacuation of any asylum seeker who is critically ill and unable to be treated offshore, as well as their families, on the recommendation of two or more doctors.

It would strip from existing legislation the ability of Australia's immigration minister to veto medical transfer requests from treating doctors.

The crossbench want sink asylum seekers flown off Nauru and Manus .
The crossbench want sink asylum seekers flown off Nauru and Manus .
AAP Image/Jason Oxenham/Pool Photo via AP, File

Labor's support, which was decided at a caucus meeting on Tuesday, would edge the bill closer to passing the lower house, but the government has the power to prevent it being debated.

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