Thursday, 3 December 2020
Statements by Members
I rise to remind the House of a shameful anniversary. On this day a year ago this parliament voted to repeal the medevac laws. On this side of the House and in the Australian community, we haven't forgotten and we won't forget. The medevac laws were modest, measured and working to do justice. The parliament in putting those laws through this place and the other place had done its job, with Labor and the crossbench working together, listening to the experts, listening to each other to find common ground and, above all, listening to our consciences, doing what was right for vulnerable people in our care. We made a law that said this: it's doctors who should be responsible for giving medical advice. In this parliament we said that we would act on their advice when it came to refugees in our care.
What did the government do? They came to this place full of hubris and full of arrogance but without an argument. They ripped down something that was working simply because they could, to reintroduce cruelty for its own sake. This repeal a year ago today has hurt people. It has damaged and continues to damage lives. More than that, it has damaged our society.