Catholics urge passage of medical treatment bill

A sick refugee in Lorengau Hospital, Papua New Guinea, last month (Facebook/Fr Giorgio Lincini)

The Catholic Alliance for People Seeking Asylum (CAPSA) is supporting a bill that would allow sick asylum-seekers on Nauru and in Papua New Guinea to get medical treatment.

The medical treatment bill is set to be voted on by the House of Representatives in the first sitting week of Parliament, which begins tomorrow. The bill has passed the Senate, and had majority support in the House of Representatives in December, but was prevented from going to a vote by the Government.

CAPSA is supporting the bill as it would compel the Government to transfer sick people to Australia for treatment, following a review by a panel of doctors appointed by Australia’s most prominent medical institutions.

“The Catholic Alliance for People Seeking Asylum believes that people who seek asylum should live in the Australia community with access to work rights, basic services and financial support,” said CAPSA chair Julie Edwards.

“We are deeply saddened by the stories that continue to emerge from offshore detention facilities about vulnerable people experiencing a range of mental and physical health issues – when it is Australia’s obligation to help, not hinder.

“The passing of this bill will mean people in need of medical treatment will be able to obtain it. People’s lives depend on it.”

The Morrison Government has stepped up its attack on the bill over the past week in a last ditch effort to stop it passing.

“Our political leaders need to show true leadership on this issue, and respect the human dignity, health and welfare requirements of people seeking asylum in Australia,” says Ms Edwards.

A joint statement from civil society organisations will be delivered to politicians today to show the widespread support for the bill in the community.

“We stand with hundreds of civil society organisations to show our political leaders that it’s time for compassion.”


Catholic Alliance for People Seeking Asylum joins national call for Australian Parliament to pass Urgent Medical Treatment Bill (CAPSA)


Christopher Pyne warns all asylum seekers and refugees on Manus and Nauru could 'qualify' under medical transfer bill (ABC News

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