Phelps fight reveals govt’s Nauru deceit - checks & balances already in the 'Phelps' Bill

Phelps tells The Saturday Paper her bill is based on long-established procedure in remote medicine, as practised, for example, by the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

“A doctor in a remote location is doing their best to look after patients with their available resources,” she says.” If there comes a point where they can’t, they contact someone else, usually a specialist.”

Depending on the advice that comes back, they might either continue to treat the patient in situ or, if recommended, medically evacuate the patient for more intensive care.

But, given the unique sensitivities of the asylum seeker situation, there would be safeguards in the new process. The proposed legislation includes a specific power for the minister to refuse a transfer on national security grounds. It also includes a provision allowing the minister to override a transfer recommendation by those initial treating doctors.

Says Phelps: “If the minister thinks it’s just a couple of activist doctors trying to game the system, then it goes to a separate, expert medical panel comprising the Commonwealth chief medical officer and nominees of the AMA and the [relevant medical] colleges, and then within 24 hours, they would give advice to the minister on whether or not the transfer should proceed.”

One in three Nauru refugees to seek medical help in Australia under Phelps bill, expert says

"For Nauru, I'd say 30 per cent [would need medical treatment in Australia]," Dr Martin said. "After five or six years of this effective neglect, anyone who was healthy at the beginning will have picked up things that normally in Australia you would go have a test for."

Australian government ignored refugee transfer advice from its own doctors for up to five years

Asylum seekers and refugees are waiting as long as five years for specialist medical treatment even when it has been formally recommended by the Australian government’s contracted doctors, new data has revealed.

Australia can't be allowed to play politics with refugees' lives any more

It should not take legal intervention for doctor’s orders to be followed. That’s why the home affairs legislation amendment (miscellaneous measures) bill 2018, introduced by Kerryn Phelps last year and supported by the crossbench, ALP and the Greens, is such crucial, life-saving legislation.

Labor seeks probe into possible Hayne report leak and signals shift on asylum bill

Shorten said the government was lining up a U-turn to avoid a defeat in parliament, “but I’m not going to be a purist. If they get to an acceptable outcome I’m not going to judge their motivation.

“Labor said that we want to make sure that independent medical advice is taken more seriously. We will have a look at what the government’s proposing.

Labor releases legal advice to counter government claims that refugee bill threatens national security

Legal advice from Melbourne barrister Matthew Albert says the security definition used in the bill is strong enough to give the immigration minister of the day enough discretion to turn away an asylum seeker if he or she presents a threat to border integrity.

Refugee advocates, lawyers and human rights groups unite in rejecting Government’s medical panel proposal

Mr Morrison’s proposal does not specify a time limit for reviews. And it will not be enshrined in legislation - meaning it could be changed for any reason at any time.

The cross-bench/Labor Bill is the only enforceable mechanism that ensures people get lifesaving medical treatment urgently.