Australian government suffers historic defeat over refugee medical bill

12 Février, 2019, 12:29 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau

Morrison last week ruled out calling a snap election if his government was defeated over the "stupid" bill.

It is the first time in decades that an Australian government has lost a vote on a substantive piece of legislation, sparking applause and cheers from observers in the parliamentary viewing gallery in Canberra.

The constitution spells out that the Senate, where the amendment was originally made, are not allowed to approve bills which increase the spending of public money.

The Senate will look at some legislation dealing with recommendations from the royal commission, while the lower house will consider laws making it compulsory for candidates to reveal if they are eligible to sit in parliament.

His coalition has to call an election by May and has been trailing the opposition centre-left Labor Party in opinion polls.

The Labor leader, Bill Shorten, said ensuring that people in offshore detention had access to proper medical treatment was a test of national character, not a sign of weakness.

"I believe we can keep our borders secure, we can uphold national security, but still treat people humanely", Labor leader Bill Shorten told parliament on Tuesday.

Despite his historic loss, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has refused to do the same.

"I remind them that their humanitarianism, as supposed, last time led to child deaths".

"The people of Australia will remember this day and know that this is now on your head - leader of the opposition".

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He also took to social media after a press conference to say that Mr Shorten didn't care about the Australian borders.

'Bill Shorten and the Labor Party have demonstrated tonight they do not have the mettle to protect our borders.

"And he will not make Australia stronger".

"The Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs are meeting now with our Border Protection Command to work through the contingency planning that we have been putting in place for this outcome".

Proposed changes to Australia's border protection laws have been declared "unconstitutional".

His explosive comments come less than three months out from the federal election.

Labor and the crossbench MPs who voted with it are claiming a moral victory because the parliamentary vote was created to improve medical treatment of asylum seekers on Nauru and Manus Island. Labor changed its proposed laws to explicitly say a panel of doctors judging medical transfers would not be paid.

The package also gives ministers 72 hours to make decisions, rather than the original proposal of 24 hours.

The health advice panel includes the Home Affairs Department's chief medical officer and the Commonwealth chief medical officer.

The minister can reject the transfer on national security grounds or if the person has a substantial criminal record and poses a threat to the Australian community.

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