Immigration

Protesters rally in support of Phelps' asylum seeker bill

Protesters rallied outside Liberal MP Warren Entsch's office in Cairns. Source: Twitter

Protesters have targeted conservative MPs as they called on parliamentarians to back a bill to allow critically ill asylum seekers to be transferred to Australia.

Protesters have rallied outside Parliament House in a bid to push the government to act on removing refugees from detention.

Other rallies were also held outside the offices of MPs, including the Immigration Minister David Coleman, in support of a bill introduced by new independent MP Kerryn Phelps on Monday morning. 

Ms Phelps' bill would facilitate the urgent evacuation of any asylum seeker who was critically ill and unable to be treated offshore.

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

"It is appalling that the Australian government has pushed children to such despair, to the point where they've lost the will to live," Dr Phelps told parliament on Monday.

Dr Phelps has the backing of fellow crossbenchers Andrew Wilkie, Rebekha Sharkie and Adam Bandt but she will need more support to bring on debate in the lower house. 

Grandmothers Against Detention of Refugee Children was one of the groups taking part in the protests, gathering at the office of MP Trent Zimmerman.

The offshore policy is designed to deter people embarking on treacherous sea journeys, but the United Nations and other rights groups have criticised the camps' conditions and long detention periods.

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