Medevac Law: Geneva Conventions in Detention Centres?

I have felt inspiration around this as it has come to me and I mentioned medivac in my video but without knowing the content.

Today I found out it is about moving sick people out of off-shore detention.  My first feeling is the fear of bringing them onshore as this means entry into Australia when these islands were excised to absolve Australia from the 1951 Refugee Convention.

I have also felt the words ‘Geneva Conventions into Detention’ not unlike holding prisoners of war and their right to fair and humane treatment.  I feel this is the central call when dealing with authority that doesn’t feel empathy for innocent civilians fleeing harm.

What I feel is good from the email is that Australians will come together to help other homeless people called refugees.  I am homeless.  I can’t imagine what it is like to be on an island with private contractors controlling a site who have detention/jail/security backgrounds rather than therapeutic.  Those fleeing persecution find themselves politically persecuted as we are dealing with toxic approaches that harm innocent people.  They are not armed, they are not violent, they are families seeking a safe haven.

I wonder how they can find that safe haven?  Or some may say heaven.  This state of play is felt when home is where the heart is, I feel.

I will post to emails that came into my inbox 1) GetUp! 2) Human Rights Law Centre.  I don’t always read but felt inspired to today.

Human rights are the operative words in the absence of a feeling for those in the greatest need. Rights increasingly become important as people are harmed and those harming are harmed spiritually, they darken in their hearts which surfaces years later when they deeply contemplate those harmed through policies that are political not humanitarian.

I send love to those in authority who are in pain (as they are not in a loving space). I send love to the refugees who are in pain for they are not treated in a loving way.  We each get to choose love or fear?


I write this to you from Parliament House in Canberra, in what feels like the belly of an enormous beast from which little good ever comes.*

You’ll excuse me the feeling because today, in it’s latest ‘success’, the Morrison Government took away medical treatment from sick people offshore.

It’s devastating.

Earlier this morning the bill repealing Medevac passed the Senate, with the votes of a tearful Senator Lambie and a smug One Nation getting it across the line.

The one little protection guaranteeing transfer and treatment of sick people in offshore detention without battling it out in court – gone.

Senator Lambie suggested a deal had been done which could secure a safe future for those offshore, but wouldn’t reveal details. One can only hope.

But all we know in reality, is that today the Morrison Government showed its true colours. The humiliation of a public defeat on the floor of the House of Representatives earlier this year, when a former member left the party after crossing the floor to vote for a life-saving medical bill, needed to be avenged.

It didn’t matter that before Medevac became law, 12 people died in offshore detention.

It didn’t matter that nothing the Government claimed turned out to be true. There were no ‘floods’ of people after Medevac passed, Christmas Island detention centre remained empty of Medevac transfers. The impending armada of dastardly criminals who were going to arrive turned out to be a fizzle of false Murdoch front pages.

And it didn’t matter that, during the 9 months Medevac was in place, nearly 200 people received treatment that had been denied them for 6 years. Doctors reviewed patients, doctors made decisions, and Minister Dutton was required to listen to them for the first time.

The only thing that mattered was that Prime Minister Morrison and Home Affairs Minister Dutton needed a victory.

Well let’s make that victory as pyrrhic as possible. Let’s mobilise the enormous community that brought the Kids off Nauru, and got the Medevac Bill passed, and held it in place for 6 months after this Government came to power – until it took a crying Senator voting for something she really looked like she didn’t want to, to have it pass.

Let’s take the 51,000 of us who signed a petition, the thousands who’ve marched in rallies, the 12 medical colleges that spoke out, the 5000 doctors that signed open letters, the celebrities who pinned ribbons for those offshore onto their red-carpet outfits. Lets take all of us, and turn all that power on the Government and continue the fight for those 535 people who remain offshore.

Today is a tough day, but know this – together we will keep fighting till everyone offshore has found a safe and secure future. I know that because almost 200 people came here this year thanks to a law Morrison and Dutton fought tooth and nail, and if we keep fighting Morrison and Dutton will have no choice but to take the rest to safety.

In determination,

Shen, Renaire and Daney for the GetUp team

P.S Together, let’s start by turning this people-powered movement straight at Dutton and Morrison. Can you help flood their parliamentary offices with calls to make sure people offshore keep receiving the medical care they need, and resettle the people still on PNG and Nauru to safety

*Good does come from this place when a huge people-powered movement inspires politicians of conscience to buck party fiat, work together on a compromise and cross the floor to vote for the Medevac Bill. I know that this place, Parliament House, did that too. So I’m not going to give up on it, and neither should you!

Human Rights LawCentre

Dear Susan,

Today is a shameful day for Australia.

The Morrison Government has repealed the Medevac laws – lifesaving laws that allowed doctors to decide when seriously ill people detained in Nauru and PNG needed to be transferred to Australia for medical treatment.

We have seen our politicians once again disregard the safety of the women and men it has deliberately kept trapped in offshore detention for more than six years.

For the last two weeks, I have been in Canberra with our partners doing everything in our power to convince our politicians to stand up for humanity.

We have fought hard to keep the Medevac laws in place because they worked. They put medical decisions back where they belong – in the hands of doctors, not politicians or bureaucrats.

We are deeply disappointed that today, the Morrison Government chose to terminate this lifeline. But this cruel and cynical move to keep innocent people trapped in limbo will not go unanswered.

We will redouble our expert legal action, we will amplify our advocacy in coalition with NGO allies and we will rally the support of thousands of people, like you, who are appalled by Australia’s cruel and inhumane refugee policies.

Because when we stand together, we have an incredible impact – as we saw when the last remaining child was brought to safety from Nauru.

There are still over 500 women and men who the Government continues to detain offshore after six long years.

Together, we will fight for these people. We will stand up for compassion and dignity. And we will not stop until every person is rebuilding their life in safety and freedom.

Thank you again for your support.

David Burke
Legal Director, Human Rights Law Centre