PIAC welcomes the passage of the Home Affairs (Miscellaneous Measures) Bill 2018 by Commonwealth Parliament.
Otherwise known as the ‘MedEvac Bill’, this legislation is an important step forward in Australia’s treatment of people seeking asylum, including the requirement that people currently in detention on Manus Island, PNG or on Nauru be transferred to Australia for medical treatment if two doctors recommend doing so.
The passage of these reforms, through co-operation between Labor, the Greens and members of the cross-bench, shows that a more humane approach to the issue of people seeking asylum is possible.
PIAC urges the Government to ensure that all people seeking asylum, including those transferred from Manus Island and Nauru under this new legislation as well as those already in onshore detention facilities, receive the same standard of health care as members of the community.
Unfortunately, too often that is not currently the case. Our June 2018 report ‘In Poor Health: Health care in Australian immigration detention’ detailed numerous instances where people in detention received sub-standard health, and mental health, treatment.
That report also contained 10 recommendations for how this situation can be fixed. We reiterate our call for the Government to adopt these recommendations, and fulfil the human rights obligations we owe to people in immigration detention.