A refugee with suspected links to methamphetamine trafficking and an asylum seeker with military services security agencies deem “of interest” are among the growing number of unsavoury individuals who could now qualify for medical transfers to Australia.
A refugee with suspected links to methamphetamine trafficking and an asylum seeker with military services security agencies deem “of interest” are among the growing number of unsavoury individuals who could now qualify for medical transfers to Australia.

Fears grow over refugee transfers

A REFUGEE with suspected links to methamphetamine trafficking and an asylum seeker who military services security agencies deem "of interest" are among the growing number of unsavoury individuals who could now qualify for medical transfers to Australia.

The Daily Telegraph has seen 12 examples of individuals held on Manus Island and Nauru who, if signed off by two doctors, the government fears would be transferred to Australia.

It comes as the Opposition refuted the overhaul of the medical transfer scheme it designed would end the government's power to return boat people to Manus Island or Nauru.

Labor attorney-general spokesman Mark Dreyfus urged the government to immediately release the legal advice from the Solicitor-General on the loophole.

The Daily Telegraph has seen 12 examples of individuals held on Manus Island and Nauru who, if signed off by two doctors, the government fears would be transferred to Australia.
The Daily Telegraph has seen 12 examples of individuals held on Manus Island and Nauru who, if signed off by two doctors, the government fears would be transferred to Australia.


"On what we've got to go on at the moment we don't think that there's any problem," he said.

"Our bill talks about temporary transfers and that's the idea - that when someone who is in offshore detention needs medical treatment that they will be temporarily transferred to Australia and when they are well on doctors' advice, they will be returned."

University of NSW migration law expert Dr Sangeetha Pillai said it was not clear that changes to medical transfers would prevent the government sending people back to Manus Island and Nauru.

"The concern raised today by the Government is that this framework won't apply to people brought to Australia under the changes passed in the Medevac Bill. But that isn't at all clear," she said.

The Bill makes it clear at a number of points that Medevac transfers are transfers for the 'temporary purpose' of medical treatment.

"In the event that the government is right, it's worth noting that this still doesn't mean that people brought to Australia under the Medevac Bill will have to be settled in Australia."

The Daily Telegraph revealed yesterday that the government had been handed official advice that two people linked with Doctors Without Borders had been caught by Papua New Guinea authorities using tourist visas to gain access to boat people.

An MSF spokeswoman said MSF doctors did not visit Manus Island, visit any patients or conduct any assessments.

"MSF has been active in Papua New Guinea for many years with a well-established program providing medical care to tuberculosis patients," the spokeswoman said.

 

The Telegraph has seen 12 examples of people held on Manus and Nauru who, if signed off by two doctors, the government fears would be transferred to Australia.
The Telegraph has seen 12 examples of people held on Manus and Nauru who, if signed off by two doctors, the government fears would be transferred to Australia.


"Since 2016, MSF has been speaking with PNG's Ministry of Immigration to determine whether we can provide mental health care to refugees on Manus Island.

"MSF continues to monitor the situation and remains in discussion with the PNG authorities to assess the healthcare needs on Manus."

.