Asylum seekers must be allowed medical treatment in Australia

Monday 11th February, 2019

The country’s largest union, the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) is calling on Federal MPs to support an amendment to the Home Affairs Legislation Amendment (Miscellaneous Measures) Bill 2018, in relation to the transfer of asylum-seekers from offshore detention centres for urgent medical treatment.

The amendment to the Bill, moved by Independent Senator Tim Storer and the Australian Greens, was passed by the Senate on 6 December last year.

ANMF Federal Secretary Annie Butler said politicians must listen to the ongoing concerns from the ANMF, the Australian Medical Association (AMA) and Independent MP Dr Kerryn Phelps, about the rights and needs of asylum-seekers to be allowed medical treatment on the mainland when they urgently need it.

“Nurses and midwives believe that our current offshore detention policies are morally reprehensible,” Ms Butler said.

“As a civilised, decent society, we must allow asylum seekers with serious medical issues to be transferred to the Australian mainland for the temporary purpose of assessment and treatment.

“Health professionals understand that there is simply no way of them getting the level of medical treatment they need in detention centres like Nauru.”

The ANMF supports any amendments which aim to have medical professionals overseeing transfers of asylum seekers rejected by the Immigration Minister and time limits placed on urgent medical transfers.

The Bill is expected to come before the House of Representatives on Tuesday, 12 February 2019.

Authorised by Annie Butler, ANMF Federal Secretary. 1/365 Queen St, Melbourne.

The ANMF, with over 275,000 members, is the industrial and professional voice for nurses, midwives and assistants in nursing in Australia.

Media contact: Richard Lenarduzzi on 0411 254390