People smugglers are preparing for business again, with a former smuggler saying he’s been asked by his employers to return to Indonesia and begin gathering passengers willing to travel to Australia illegally by boat.
It comes after Labor and the Greens passed new laws making it easier for doctors to order medical evacuations of illegals held in offshore processing facilities.
Since passing the new medivac legislation last week, up to 300 refugees and asylum-seekers on Manus Island and Nauru have obtained recommendations from doctors to enable them to transfer to Australia.
Peter Dutton, Minister for Home Affairs, said: “The Bill takes decisions about medical transfers out of the hands of Government and gives it to two doctors in Australia, who most likely will never have met the people on Manus or Nauru. Don’t forget, the changes mean people can be transferred even just for assessment.
“Bill Shorten’s policy doesn’t exclude people of bad character,” Dutton said. “It didn’t incorporate the character provisions under s501. It limits the scope for refusing transfers on security or character grounds; this includes people charged with serious offences such as rape and murder.”
“Labor’s Bill will put more people in detention; the amendments say they need to be kept in immigration detention – at the moment they live in the community in Nauru. That means you need to reopen a detention centre somewhere to cope with a 1,000-person influx, and the only one with the necessary capacity, which can be stood up in a short amount of time available, is Christmas Island,” Dutton added.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he has been left with no choice but to reopen the Christmas Island immigration detention centre following Labor and the Greens efforts to weaken Australia’s borders.
.@ScottMorrisonMP: Our government will be doing everything in our power … to ensure these boats don’t come. That is why we have taken the recommendation of the Department of Home Affairs to reopen Christmas Island.
— Sky News Australia (@SkyNewsAust) February 17, 2019
“Our government will be doing everything within our powers — despite what the Labor Party has done to undermine our border protection regime — to ensure these boats don’t come,” Morrison said.