Monday, 11 February 2019

The "medical transfer" bill

currently set to go before parliament is not a "medical solution to a medical problem". It is a bill that takes control of our borders and places that control in the hands of people who will not be accountable if things go wrong.
The bill, so it is said, would allow doctors to make a decision as to whether someone in "off-shore" detention was so ill that they needed to be transferred here.  That decision could be appealed by the Minister and subsequently referred to a panel. All that would have to take place within 24 hours. 
It is bad legislation because it is unworkable.  
Yes, people will become ill in detention. Some people are ill before they arrive in detention. There is also a higher rate of mental illness among those in detention. All those things are facts. People will die in detention. That is a fact too.  All that does not mean the legislation is good legislation or that it is a medical solution to a medical problem.
There is a story floating around that a woman was flown out with severe abdominal pains. She was found to be constipated. Refugee advocates though got wind of her arrival and the processes were begun to ensure that she was not be returned to detention. She would not have travelled as far as she did alone so the next step will be to "reunite" her with her family.  
I don't know whether that story is true or not but I have heard similar stories from medical staff in other parts of the world. One young woman was "married" to four different young men and they used her "pregnancy" to get across a border each time. Partially hearing and partially sighted she was raped by all of them and then left stranded in a refugee camp. Her story only came to light when someone recognised her on the fourth border crossing. She is pregnant - but by which of the young men it would be impossible to know.
The young men are in Europe and claiming refugee status - which they will almost certainly be granted. She has been left in a refugee camp. Those sort of stories are more common than we want to recognise. 
We need to get over the idea that simply because someone is claiming to be a refugee they are good, honest, upright citizens who have simply been through some terrible experiences and lost everything. It is much, much more complicated than that.
If it were not for international law then there would be a solution to the issue of medical transfers. People would simply be required to sign a legally binding agreement to return to detention once treated and would not be permitted to live in the community while here.  It sounds harsh - and it is - but it would stop the abuse of the law. It should not be framed in such a way that it prevents them from ever gaining residency or ever visiting but it would say, "You are going for medical treatment - nothing more and nothing less."
There is no "queue" for refugees but it angers me that some people have been able to buy their way in, people who may not necessarily be the most deserving but simply the most wealthy.  There are others who have been used and left behind. Those who do that need to face the full force of the law in the countries in which they seek asylum.
And it is still those who are fleeing persecution and don't reach places of safety at all who worry me the most. I wish that, instead of trying to make political mileage out of a situation which is much more complex than most realise, those supporting the present bill would give such people far more consideration. 


Anonymous said...

Not going to happen - wealth will always buy privilege. Bob C-S

Jodiebodie said...

Yes, there will always be wealthy people who will abuse their privileged positions to buy influence, especially if they are desperate.