Labor wants easier Nauru medical transfers


Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the government is considering accepting New Zealand's long-standing offer to resettle refugees languishing on the islands.


A senior Australian doctor offering medical care to refugees on Nauru has been arrested by police and will be deported from the island later today.

"A replacement senior medical officer is already in Nauru, there has been no impact on the services provided to transferees", the IHMS spokesperson told AAP.

An IHMS spokeswoman told News Corp Dr Montana was stood down yesterday "for a breach of Regional Processing Centre rules".

Labor will move to make it easier to transfer asylum seekers from Nauru for medical treatment, with the shadow cabinet resolving to put more weight on the recommendation of treating clinicians, and increasing accountability on the part of the responsible minister.

Mr Morrison said in Parliament: "We will continue to treat every single case based on the medical advice that is received, and transfers are undertaken on the basis of that medical advice".

The government is failing in its obligations to provide adequate medical care for children, the Opposition's Immigration and Border Protection spokesman Shayne Neumann said. MSF has then released a statement, saying it "strongly condemned" the Nauru's government for stopping its doctors from giving much-needed medical and mental health care.

Three government MPs have urged Scott Morrison to remove children and their families from Nauru, declaring conditions in offshore detention have reached a tipping point.

But he said it would be based on the the condition they were not permitted to ever travel to Australia.

Under the bill, any refugee settled in a third country would be banned from entering Australia even under a tourist or business visa.

Nearly 6000 doctors sign open letter to Prime Minister to remove children from the Nauru processing centre.

Morrison said there was a bill still sitting in the Senate from 2016 that would close the back door from New Zealand to Australia.

"I have been meeting with those colleagues as have the relevant ministers and we have been acting on those issues", Mr Morrison told reporters on Tuesday.

Sky News understood the Australian government plans to call for a vote this week on the legislation.

The Centre Alliance party, which controls two crossbench votes, said it remained opposed to the bill as it now stood, but was willing to negotiate.

Independent senators have now asked for an urgent briefing on the bill.

"We're going to have to consider whether or not, as a result of our 2013 commitment (to offer to take 150 refugees from Nauru), we end up with people who are second-class citizens in New Zealand".

Refugee advocates say the fate of children being held on Nauru now rests squarely with the prime minister.