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‘It’s a bad bill for our country’: Only one-in-10 refugees transferred to Australia under medevac law needed hospital

Troubling new figures suggest asylum seekers in offshore detention are using the medevac laws to rort the system and enter Australia.

Yesterday, head of Operation Sovereign Borders, Craig Furini, told Senate estimates that 135 asylum seekers in offshore detention have been transferred to Australia for medical treatment since the landmark legislation was passed in March.

Of those, only 13 went to hospital upon arrival in Australia, while five refused treatment altogether.

But those who did not receive medical treatment cannot be returned to their country of origin, or offshore detention in Nauru or Papua New Guinea.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said Australia has been conned.

“This was always a bill about getting people here through a back door,” he told 3AW’s Neil Mitchell.

“It’s without precedent that you have a government being dictated to, being told that people must come to your country, and then when they’ve received the medical attention they can’t be returned back to their country of origin or back to Nauru or Papua New Guinea.”

Of those who have come to Australia under the medevac laws, six have been flagged as security concerns.

“We’re worried about the fact that they may have committed crimes and we’re compelled to take that person, I just don’t think most Australians support that!,” Mr Dutton said.

“We’ve had six of those cases now, there are two more in the system as well, and I think people are laughing at us. It’s infuriating.”

“We’re now stuck with these people.

“It’s a bad bill for our country.”

Mr Dutton called for the reversal of the bill.

“By allowing these people into our country we are allowing people in who have the potential to assault, to commit crimes while there here, and that shouldn’t be a feature of our migration system,” he said.

“We must have a discretion where people are of bad character to stop them from coming to our country.”

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Image: Jonas Gratzer