Senator Jacqui Lambie has revealed she struck a secret deal with the Government to resettle 450 refugees to New Zealand in exchange for voting to repeal the ‘Medevac’ law. The law allowed sick asylum seekers and refugees in offshore detention to be transferred to the mainland for emergency medical treatment.
Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews announced the resettlement yesterday, accepting a longstanding agreement from the New Zealand Government. 150 refugees will be resettled from Australia’s offshore detention program each year for three years.
In a statement on Twitter, Lambie described her decision to support the Medevac repeal in 2019 as the hardest of her political career, but explained she did it “in exchange for an end to offshore detention… [which] would mean we wouldn’t have a need for Medevac.”
“I told [Scott Morrison] to show some humanity and get those people off those damn islands,” she added.
Lambie said she was told the deal would be called off if she spoke about it, but that she is free to speak now the deal has been completed.
“I have tried to keep calm throughout this process. I’ve tried to remember that any level of frustration, anxiety, disappointment or anger I was feeling about this taking forever, those asylum seekers were feeling at levels I couldn’t even comprehend… I hope this means those asylum seekers can get back to living their lives. Finally there’s some light at the end of the tunnel.”