Labor will move to make it easier to transfer asylum seekers from Nauru for medical treatment, with the shadow cabinet resolving to put more weight on the recommendation of treating clinicians, and will make the responsible minister accountable.
The shadow cabinet resolved on Monday night to draft a private member’s bill overhauling current processes to make the health of children the primary consideration when determining a temporary medical transfer from offshore detention.
The bill will ensure that the minister rather than department officials makes decisions on medical transfers.
If the minister refuses a transfer, a second medical opinion must be sought to ensure the decision is predicated on medical advice.
The position follows weeks of negotiation with the Australian Medical Association. The peak doctors lobby group has termed conditions on Nauru “a humanitarian emergency requiring urgent intervention”. Guardian Australia understands the AMA supports Labor’s revised procedures.
There have been breakouts on both sides of politics, with MPs increasingly concerned about conditions in offshore detention following a spate of medical transfers to Australia.
Three government MPs have urged Scott Morrison to remove children and their families from Nauru, declaring conditions in offshore detention have reached a tipping point. Moderates Craig Laundy, Julia Banks and Russell Broadbent have appealed directly for prime ministerial intervention.
Labor’s left faction has also been restive about the condition of children on Nauru and concerns were raised at a meeting of factional convenors and union bosses a week ago as a precursor to debate at the party’s national conference.
The revised procedures will be discussed at Tuesday’s caucus meeting.
More to come