Media Alert: Save Medevac Rally

Garema Place, Civic: 1.00 pm on Saturday 9th November

Media Alert: Canberra, November 2019

With the Senate expected to vote on the Migration Amendment (Repairing Medical Transfers) Bill 2019 in the week commencing 11th November and the casting vote likely to be with Jacqui Lambie, the Canberra Refugee Action Campaign (Canberra RAC) will rally in Garema Place on Saturday afternoon to urge the rejection of the Bill. The Canberra Rally will coincide with similar events in Sydney and Melbourne on the same day and will be followed by an overnight Vigil outside Parliament House, organised by Rural Australians for Refugees (RAR) from 6.30pm on Sunday 10th until 9.30am on 11th.

Among those addressing the Canberra event will be Dr. Mark Short, Anglican Bishop of Canberra/Goulburn, Dr. Joo-Inn Chew, a GP who has worked with refugees and asylum seekers in Australia for 15 years, and retired Army officer Tim McKenna, who has visited the people on Manus and in Port Moresby four times in the last two years and has observed the results of their poor medical treatment at first hand.

Tim says, “the Medevac Law is working as intended, evacuating people in desperate need of medical treatment that is not available in PNG or Nauru and which the Medical Colleges of Australia say can only be delivered in our country”. In respect of claims that such transfers pose a risk to Australia, he says “As a former soldier I have always been sensitive to such matters, but the Law protects Australia’s security and safety. It applies only to people already in offshore incarceration, so boats haven’t started coming and the Minister can refuse a transfer if a detainee poses a threat to national security or to the safety of our community.”

The recent enquiry by the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee has brought the motivation behind the bill to repeal the Medevac Law into sharp focus. The committee received more than a hundred submissions, from a wide range of independent organisations, opposing the bill and just one supporting the bill, from the Department of Home Affairs. Those opposing concentrated on providing care for vulnerable people adversely affected by our offshore detention regime and gave evidence supported by clinical histories. The Departmental submission was essentially about administrative convenience and offered untested assertions and unanalysed statistics as evidence.

Canberra RAC spokesman Dr. John Minns said “It could not be clearer that the motivation for repeal of the Medevac Law is power rather than people. There have been 13 deaths already among those detained in PNG and Nauru and history shows that playing politics at the expense of the vulnerable never ends well for anyone. On Saturday we will call on the Senate to reject this bill.”

For further information on this event, please contact Cliff Smith – 0419 660 303

About the Canberra Refugee Action Campaign

The Canberra Refugee Action Campaign is part of a network of concerned citizens around Australia seeking the fair and humane treatment of refugees.. It is composed of individuals from a broad range of backgrounds and is not associated with any political party.