Dutton's cruel blow

Published:

I write this to you from Parliament House in Canberra, in what feels like the belly of an enormous beast from which little good ever comes.*

You'll excuse me the feeling because today, in it's latest 'success', the Morrison Government took away medical treatment from sick people offshore.

It's devastating.

Earlier this morning the bill repealing Medevac passed the Senate, with the votes of a tearful Senator Lambie and a smug One Nation getting it across the line.

The one little protection guaranteeing transfer and treatment of sick people in offshore detention without battling it out in court – gone.

Senator Lambie suggested a deal had been done which could secure a safe future for those offshore, but wouldn't reveal details. One can only hope.

But all we know in reality, is that today the Morrison Government showed its true colours. The humiliation of a public defeat on the floor of the House of Representatives earlier this year, when a former member left the party after crossing the floor to vote for a life-saving medical bill, needed to be avenged.

It didn't matter that before Medevac became law, 12 people died in offshore detention.

It didn't matter that nothing the Government claimed turned out to be true. There were no 'floods' of people after Medevac passed, Christmas Island detention centre remained empty of Medevac transfers. The impending armada of dastardly criminals who were going to arrive turned out to be a fizzle of false Murdoch front pages.

And it didn't matter that, during the 9 months Medevac was in place, nearly 200 people received treatment that had been denied them for 6 years. Doctors reviewed patients, doctors made decisions, and Minister Dutton was required to listen to them for the first time.

The only thing that mattered was that Prime Minister Morrison and Home Affairs Minister Dutton needed a victory.

Well let's make that victory as pyrrhic as possible. Let's mobilise the enormous community that brought the Kids off Nauru, and got the Medevac Bill passed, and held it in place for 6 months after this Government came to power – until it took a crying Senator voting for something she really looked like she didn't want to, to have it pass.

Let's take the 51,000 of us who signed a petition, the thousands who've marched in rallies, the 12 medical colleges that spoke out, the 5000 doctors that signed open letters, the celebrities who pinned ribbons for those offshore onto their red-carpet outfits. Lets take all of us, and turn all that power on the Government and continue the fight for those 535 people who remain offshore.

Today is a tough day, but know this – together we will keep fighting till everyone offshore has found a safe and secure future. I know that because almost 200 people came here this year thanks to a law Morrison and Dutton fought tooth and nail, and if we keep fighting Morrison and Dutton will have no choice but to take the rest to safety.

In determination,

Shen, Renaire and Daney for the GetUp team

P.S Together, let's start by turning this people-powered movement straight at Dutton and Morrison. Can you help flood their parliamentary offices with calls to make sure people offshore keep receiving the medical care they need, and resettle the people still on PNG and Nauru to safety

*Good does come from this place when a huge people-powered movement inspires politicians of conscience to buck party fiat, work together on a compromise and cross the floor to vote for the Medevac Bill. I know that this place, Parliament House, did that too. So I'm not going to give up on it, and neither should you! 
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