Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Picture: AAP
Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Picture: AAP

‘Violent’ asylum seeker approved for medevac transfer

An asylum seeker charged with domestic violence offences has been approved for medical transfer to Australia as the Morrison government attempts to repeal controversial medevac laws in the final parliamentary sittings of the year.

The Australian reports the man, who has been on Nauru since 2013 after attempting to reach Australia by boat, also faces allegations he tried to enter into a relationship with a 13-year-old girl.

A panel of independent doctors assessed the man, believe to be in his 30s, several weeks ago. He was approved for transfer and is awaiting a flight to Australia.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton was unable to intervene in the case because it did not meet criminal or national security risk thresholds, according to The Australian.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton was unable to stop the man’s medical transfer despite domestic violence charges against him. Picture: AAP
Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton was unable to stop the man’s medical transfer despite domestic violence charges against him. Picture: AAP

It comes as the federal government attempts to woo independent Senator Jacqui Lambie into voting with them to repeal the medevac legislation.

But The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) is pleading Senator Lambie to use her casting vote to keep the laws in place.

It warns Australia's offshore immigration centres will return to "living graveyards" if the government succeeds in scrapping the legislation

The Morrison government hopes to win her support to repeal the law, passed against its wishes in February, which makes it easier to bring refugees to Australia for medical treatment.

The controversial medevac laws passed against the Morrison government’s wishes in February. Picture: AAP
The controversial medevac laws passed against the Morrison government’s wishes in February. Picture: AAP

ASRC head Kon Karapanagiotidis says that contrary to the scary picture the government painted when the law passed, there haven't been hordes of people coming to Australia overnight, the asylum boats haven't restarted and there hasn't been a single national security incident.

"What we have seen through medevac have been men who had kidney stones so serious that they would have actually died if not transferred have been saved," he said

"A man who would have lost a limb after being violently attacked in Manus Island had that limb saved.

"We've had some people very mentally unwell whose lives were saved as a consequence.

"And what has been most critical is that it's been done with order."

He's appealing to Senator Lambie's compassion on the issue.

As of last Thursday, government figures show 169 people have been brought to Australian from offshore centres under the medevac law.

The government hopes independent Senator Jacqui Lambie will vote with them to repeal the medevac legislation. Picture: Kym Smith
The government hopes independent Senator Jacqui Lambie will vote with them to repeal the medevac legislation. Picture: Kym Smith

Analysis by the ASRC finds 86 per cent of these transfers were approved by Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton without reference to an independent medical panel.

Mr Karapanagiotidis said the nation was now at a crossroads. He visited the Manus Island immigration centre two years ago.

"What we saw was a medical catastrophe, like a living graveyard," he said.

"Why would we go back to what we had before?"

Senator Lambie met with Mr Dutton and Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Monday to discuss amendments that could ease her concerns about dismantling the medevac regime.

She's indicated she wants to land a deal that amends the system, without giving the government a full repeal.

Medical groups continue to back the laws.

The repeal is scheduled for debate in the Senate on Wednesday.