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Migration Amendment (Repairing Medical Transfers) Bill 2019

The submission to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee in respect of its inquiry into the Migration Amendment (Repairing Medical Transfers) Bill 2019 (the Bill) was prepared by the Law Council. 

The Bill addresses the provisions added to the Migration Act 1958 (the Act) by Schedule 6 of the Home Affairs Legislation Amendment (Miscellaneous Measures) Act 2019 (Cth) (the Amendment Act), which commenced on 1 March 2019. Those provisions are generally referred to as the ‘Medevac Law’. The Bill’s objective is to repeal the Medevac Law and ensure that people transferred under its provisions can be removed from Australia.

The Law Council does not support the repeal of the Medevac Law. It considers that under Australian law, as well as international law, the Commonwealth of Australia has responsibility for the health and safety of asylum seekers transferred to other countries for offshore processing and assessment. Since regional processing was reinstated in 2012, concerns have been consistently raised about the impacts of these arrangements on the physical and mental health of refugees and asylum seekers. These impacts have become more profound as the period of time has lengthened.

You can read the full submission below. 

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