The Australian government’s current offshore detention policies are tough, to be sure. But they are necessary to ensure national security and protect Australians from a potential influx of criminals.
According to AAP, Scott Morrison is sounding the alarm — stressing that if the laws are changed around evacuating sick asylum seekers from offshore detention, Australia could be letting in ‘hundreds upon hundreds upon hundreds’ of child molesters, rapists and murderers.
That’s if Labor supports the changes next week.
This outcome seems highly likely, considering Bill Shorten has accused the PM of shameful scaremongering in his warnings against a lack of proper screening.
‘The fact of the matter is people who have done those crimes don’t get the refugee status unless the government’s missed them when they’ve assessed them as refugees,’ Shorten said while assessing the water damage from the Townsville floods.
‘The idea that somehow because you’re a Liberal you dislike those crimes more than if you’re someone else, I just get sick of that moral superiority and finger pointing.’
Mr Shorten said Mr Morrison should be ‘ashamed of himself’.
Come one, come all
But whether or not they attain refugee status, the bill would still allow medical transfers to asylum seekers with criminal histories, despite supporters saying the protections would remain in place.
AAP reports that in fact, the only screening these people would have to face is the final tick from any two doctors on the island — not politicians or public servants — before they are sent to the mainland for specialised medical treatment.
‘They may be a paedophile, they may be a rapist, they may be a murderer, and this bill will mean that we would just have to take them,’ Mr Morrison told reporters in Melbourne on Wednesday.
‘This is what will happen if Bill Shorten does not put national security ahead of his own political opportunism.’
And the majority of intakes into detention would be a flood of single men, not families or dependents.
‘Hundreds of them will have to be transferred to Australia at the directive of doctors, not the government, and this will mean we’ll have to reopen detention centres that we closed like Christmas Island,’ he said.
‘This will cost a serious amount of money on the Australian taxpayer and it will undermine the successful border protection framework that has stopped the boats and ensured the integrity of our borders.’
Mr Morrison delivered a blunt warning to Shorten regarding his ‘come one, come all’ attitude.
‘If you break it, you own it.’
Ignoring vote could lead to early election
The legislation is expected to be voted upon as early as next week, however the prime minister vowed to ignore the vote on the ‘stupid bill’, stating that it was ‘written by people who haven’t got the faintest idea how this works’.
However Labor frontbencher Richard Marles has rebutted, saying that Morrison cannot simply ignore legislation.
‘It’s not for a prime minister or executive government to ignore legislation — we have a constitution for a reason,’ he told Sky News.
‘Legislation is the law of the land and the executive government’s role is to carry that law out.’
Cabinet minister Matt Canavan has since explained that the prime minister would simply ‘get on with the job’ if the vote was lost, rather than calling for an early election, AAP reports.
But the fact is, ignoring the issue could push the government into a constitutional crisis. They are at risk of being the first in 90 years to use a substantive vote, which could in turn be seen as a loss of confidence, and lead to an early election.
But Mr Morrison seems unperturbed, insisting that the likely defeat will not trigger an early election.
‘No, of course not, why would it be?’ he said.
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