Proposed changes to medevac laws must be rejected, say lawyers

26th Aug 2019

Proposed amendments to the Migration Amendment (Repairing Medical Transfers) Bill 2019 should be rejected, says the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA).

“No objective evidence has been disclosed that suggests the medevac laws are being abused by refugees,” said ALA National President, Andrew Christopoulos. 

“Until such time as any evidence is at hand it is neither fair nor reasonable to link the deteriorating health of asylum seekers to the introduction of the medevac bill. The continuing inhumane and cruel treatment of asylum seekers remains the issue.

“Under the current medevac laws, medical decisions are being made by doctors and taken out of the hands of politicians, bureaucrats and lawyers.  It is not acceptable for decisions about health care to be made by anyone other than health professionals.

“The proposed changes to the laws threaten the health of asylum seekers and could mean litigation is again required to get people the urgent medical care they need.

“Australia has a non-delegable duty to people seeking asylum in Australia and we are obliged to ensure that appropriate medical care is provided. The current medevac laws go some way towards helping Australia to meet this obligation.”

The ALA is a national association of lawyers, academics, and other professionals dedicated to protecting and promoting justice, freedom and the rights of the individual.  

Read the ALA’s full submission to the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee here:

Tags: Human rights Asylum seekers and refugees