Scott Morrison's Response To The Medivac Bill Is Reopening Christmas Island

Doctors visited Parliament House to urge politicians to back a bill to make it easier for critically ill asylum seekers to be transferred to Australia

Morrison approved the reopening of the remote facility - closed just months ago - claiming new laws just passed by parliament would increase the number of people trying to arrive in Australia illegally.

It was the first time in decades that an Australian government has lost a vote on its own legislation in the House of Representatives.

Labor's Senate leader Penny Wong said Mr Morrison was playing politics ahead of the election, likely to be held in May.

The government says the Christmas Island re-start will cost about $1.4 billion over four years.

The reopening of the infamous Christmas Island detention center is part of that plan to stop unwanted arrivals and detainees who might take advantage of the newly-emerged loophole to come to Australia.

Earlier this morning, Mr Morrison called a meeting of the National Security Committee after which he declared the Christmas Island detention facility will be reopened.

"If we're re-elected it won't apply to anybody because I will reverse it".

"What my job is is to make sure the beast doesn't wake up, but I can tell you Bill Shorten's given it a big poke... and he's done it willfully".

"My job now is to do everything within my power, and in the power of the government, to ensure that what the parliament has done to weaken our borders does not result in boats coming to Australia".


The amended bill, which passed into law in the Senate shortly after Morrison's announcement, hands doctors on Nauru and Manus Island greater power to transfer asylum seekers to Australian medical facilities.

"I'm not sure if it's going to have any great effect (on votes) but I do think it's a precursor to what the government's going to try and do in the election campaign".

He argued people smugglers did not deal with the nuance of the "Canberra bubble" but rather the psychology of messaging about "stronger" and "weaker" borders.

"But when you're in a village in Indonesia and someone is selling you a product, there's no protection or truth in advertising for people smugglers".

The contest will play out differently in different seats and demographics across the country, but Morrison has made it clear that any new boat arrival "is on Bill Shorten and Labor's head".

Protesters marched along Sydney streets to demand all asylum seekers and refugees be brought to Australia, in Sydney, Australia, August 27, 2016.

"The legislation applies for people who are already there [on Manus and Nauru] - it does not apply to anyone new", he told reporters.

At the time, Immigration Minister David Coleman said the centre would be kept in a state of "operational readiness" so it could be re-opened at short notice.

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