18 October 2018

The situation for refugees detained on Nauru is now critical. The Morrison government must take immediate, real action to address a collapsing and dire health situation for those refugees and asylum seekers.

Labor has a proposal, backed by the Australian Medical Association, that will make it easier and quicker to get sick refugee children to treatment. It does not, as some have stated, give Peter Dutton increased power to override doctors' orders. It will make the advice of doctors the primary factor in determining whether a child is evacuated for treatment and increase accountability of the minister's actions. We want doctors on our independent medical panel to have urgent access to all the kids on Nauru. If they recommend medical transfers, that is exactly what should happen.

I've met with advocates, like the AMA, the ASRC, MSF and the UNHCR, and I want to thank them for their tireless and incredibly challenging efforts in pushing the parliament to where it is now, with people from all parties saying, 'Enough is enough.' It should never have come to this. These are children who, with their families, sought our protection. Their trauma, which we are now witnessing, is because of five years of the untenable policy of indefinite detention. We need to get help for sick kids, then resettle them safely. We, in this parliament, must now work together urgently to end the trauma inflicted on these children and their families.