This is also an interesting exchange – Simon Birmingham explaining to Patricia Karvelas about how Peter Dutton using the medevac legislation to stop someone coming to Australia on national security grounds, which is the exact thing he said couldn’t be done, is not proof the government was misleading about medevac.

PK: On another issue, Peter Dutton has tabled a statement on his decision to refuse a transfer under the medevac policy. But the government said he wouldn’t have the power to do that, to stop someone coming. They’re misleading there? They’ve said this scenario couldn’t happen under the legislation but today it has. So they were wrong?

SB: No, Patricia, I think what was argued at the time was that the powers in terms of being able to reject were clearly not strong enough. And that was the argument at the time.

PK: No, that was not the argument …

SB: Well, you can go away and have a look if you like …

PK: I remember very well what was said.

SB: I’m telling you …

PK: Murderers, paedophiles would be able to come to Australia. Peter Dutton has been able to stop somebody …

SB: And of course about the lack of necessity about this piece of legislation or reform. There are 132 people who have come to Australia under this legislation who aren’t in hospital.

They’re not here with acute medical conditions that necessitated coming into an Australian hospital circumstance. We had provisions already for providing healthcare and health treatment for individuals who needed it, and this legislation was demonstrably unnecessary, and the consequence of it is that it has created a pathway.

PK: But the minister has the ability to refuse, as he has today, this Iranian father, he’s refused his entry to Australia. So he has this power, doesn’t he?

SB: In limited circumstances. Obviously others who’ve come here have come under this power and under this provision …

PK: But there’s no evidence that they’re murderers or they’re paedophiles, is there?

SB: Let’s understand, the overall argument …

PK:You’re shifting this conversation to the medical priority. I’m talking about their status.

SB: You are – focusing on one of the arguments about it …

PK: That’s what I’m asking about it.

SB: The core argument was that it was open a channel to Australia to undermined our border protection regime …

PK: Wasn’t the government misleading about this given the evidence today?

SB: No, we are not. That was one argument at the time. The bigger argument at the time was it was putting another hole in the border protection regime we had built. It was unnecessary to do so because you can get health services and we did have the power, where necessary, to bring people to Australia when ready. The way this is being used to date is to set up a circumstance where you do have more than 132 people who have come, who aren’t in a hospital but they were brought here as a result of this medivac law.



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