An injured Afghan refugee from the Manus Island detention centre is assisted after he was allegedly attacked by a group of Papua New Guinean men whilst out on a day release in August, 2016.  Picture: AFP Photo/ Matthew Abbott/GETUP
An injured Afghan refugee from the Manus Island detention centre is assisted after he was allegedly attacked by a group of Papua New Guinean men whilst out on a day release in August, 2016. Picture: AFP Photo/ Matthew Abbott/GETUP

Medivac law flaws a one-way ticket

HUNDREDS of asylum seekers on Manus Island and Nauru who will be medically transferred to Australia will remain in the country for the rest of their lives because of a flaw in Labor's controversial laws.

The Morrison Government was last night left scrambling to find another legal avenue to maintain offshore processing after the Australian Government Solicitor yesterday provided the shock advice.

The loophole - created by a failure to attach current transferee removal provisions in the law to the new Bill - means once asylum seekers arrive on Christmas Island, the Government will have no power to return them to offshore processing on Manus Island and Nauru.

It now gives doctors, activists and asylum seekers themselves an extra incentive to get to Australia. Under Labor's laws, an asylum seeker does not have to be sick to get to Australia, only need assessment for possible treatment.

The asylum seekers, who paid people smugglers to get to Australia, have been blocked from being resettled in Australia because they came by boat. But the legal loophole now gives them an avenue to stay.

Others who have been medically transferred to Australia have injuncted the Government - meaning they have taken legal action once in Australia to prevent their return. Under the new laws they won't have to take the legal action because the Government has no legal avenue to return them.

The Government cannot rely on the character test within the Migration Act to remove asylum seekers of bad character because of their unique status. People kicked out have a visa - the cohort coming into Australia do not.

Attorney-General Christian Porter said the Government was looking at legal means at what it could do.

"We are now in possession of advice, which raises the very serious prospect that the laws drafted means that the laws contain no right to remove some body to Manus (Island) or Nauru once they have been transferred on the instruction of two doctors,'' Mr Porter said last night.

"It has the undesirable effect of ending offshore processing.

"The people who could be successfully transferred, not withstanding, they could be charged or accused of a serious offence, or others of bad character, but once they arrived we are now concerned that unlike the medical transfers that we've been conducting effectively for many months, the Labor medical transfers (laws) would have no accompanying power to ever return the people to Manus or Nauru.

"The problem has been created by Labor in their haste to draft on the floor of parliament, gag debate, and we're now responsible for trying to operate under the … laws that Labor forced through parliament."