Daily Bulletin


The Conversation

  • Written by Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra
The Conversation

The government has finalised the removal of the last children from Nauru, as it battles to head off a parliamentary defeat on legislation to facilitate medical transfers from offshore.

Scott Morrison and Immigration Minister David Coleman said on Sunday: “There are now only four asylum seeker children on Nauru and they have all been approved for departure to the United States of America with their families”.

When parliament rose for its summer break a government filibuster had prevented amendments reaching the House of Representatives that would put medical transfers into the hands of doctors, though with the minister having some oversight on security grounds. The amendments – based on a proposal originally coming from independent Kerryn Phelps and supported by Labor - had been passed by the Senate.

At that time the legislation potentially had enough crossbench backing in the House to pass, but it is not clear whether that will hold when it is put to the test this month. The government is pulling out all stops to peel away crossbench support.

Passage of the measure would be a major blow to the Coalition, although it would not amount to a vote of no confidence. Asked about major defeats in the past, House of Representatives clerks last year had to go as far back as 1929 (which led to an election) and on the 1941 budget (which brought down the Fadden government).

The government has been hopeful that it can persuade independent Cathy McGowan to break ranks with other crossbench supporters of the bill.

McGowan said on Sunday it was good news about the children but she would reserve her position on the legislation until it came before the House, after parliament resumes on Tuesday of next week.

“Indefinite detention needs to be addressed,” she said.

Phelps said the news about the remaining children was “absolutely fantastic” but it was “nowhere near enough”.

Hundreds of people were still languishing on Manus and Nauru and there were “dire reports” about mental health issues, Phelps said.

The proposed change, which would see medical transfers on the basis of the advice of two doctors, would “take medical decisions out of the hands of bureaucrats and politicians – with appropriate ministerial oversight on national security grounds”.

Phelps said she hadn’t seen any evidence of a weakening of crossbench support while parliament has been in recess.

The government on Sunday declined to explain how it has been able arrange for the removal of all the children from Nauru when Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton last year suggested security issues were a barrier to removing some of them.

Dutton told parliament in October there were 13 children at that time in family groups where there were adults, mostly males “that are the subject of adverse security assessments from the United States.”

At his news conference on Sunday Coleman refused to clarify how these security concerns had been resolved or where the people in question were.

“I can’t go into specific cases but I will say that in each case issues have been worked through to the satisfaction of the Department,” he said.

Asked whether some of the children who had been brought to Australia still had parents on Nauru because of a negative security assessment, Coleman said: “There have been a number of issues that have been worked through – but, no, the family groups are together”.

Authors: Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

Read more http://theconversation.com/mcgowan-remains-tight-lipped-about-refugee-legislation-despite-removal-of-children-111053

Writers Wanted

From 13 unis to 1: why Australia needs to reverse the loss of South Asian studies

arrow_forward

Do vegan diets make kids shorter and weaker?

arrow_forward

97% of Indigenous people report seeing negative social media content weekly. Here's how platforms can help

arrow_forward

The Conversation
INTERWEBS DIGITAL AGENCY

Politics

Prime Minister interview with Karl Stefanovic and Allison Langdon

Karl Stefanovic: PM, good morning to you. Do you have blood on your hands?   PRIME MINISTER: No, it's obviously absurd. What we're doing here is we've got a temporary pause in place because we'v...

Karl Stefanovic and Allison Langdon - avatar Karl Stefanovic and Allison Langdon

Prime Minister Scott Morrison delivered Keynote Address at AFR Business Summit

Well, thank you all for the opportunity to come and be with you here today. Can I also acknowledge the Gadigal people, the Eora Nation, the elders past and present and future. Can I also acknowled...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Morrison Government commits record $9B to social security safety net

The Morrison Government is enhancing our social security safety net by increasing support for unemployed Australians while strengthening their obligations to search for work.   From March the ...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Business News

What Is COVID 19 Risk Assessment for Vulnerable Workers and Why Your Business Needs it

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, governments strongly advised people to just stay at home as a critical effort to stop the spread of the virus. This led to many businesses temporarily s...

NewsServices.com - avatar NewsServices.com

Where Does Australia Stand in the Global Green Energy Transition?

Renewable energy sources seem to be the solution for a less polluted environment, but the transition from fossil fuel is not that easy to make. After all, we still have entire industries that base...

NewsServices.com - avatar NewsServices.com

Elegant Media honoured as a Deloitte APAC Technology Fast 500 Winner

Elegant Media has been awarded a place in the prized 2021 Deloitte APAC Technology Fast 500TM. This recognition stands as a testament to Elegant Media’s dedication and success in producing outstandi...

Tess Sanders Lazarus - avatar Tess Sanders Lazarus