The Federal Court has today ruled that refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru should be permitted to seek medical assistance in Australia. The new ruling acknowledges that refugees and asylum seekers kept in detention centres should be allowed medical transfer – and the transfer process will be dramatically relaxed.
This ruling comes as a relatively huge victory, as the Medevac Bill has been previously demonised by the current government with (frankly disgraceful) claims that it will ‘open the floodgates’ to hundreds of other transfers from Nauru.
The ruling today means that the transfer of sick or injured refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru will simply need their cases reviewed by doctors, which is a monumental step away from the highly bureaucratic and political processing restrictions that previously complicated any transfers.
It’s undeniable that the crisis on Nauru and Manus Island is inhumane and reproachable, so this relaxation represents the steps we need to take in order for the treatment of refugees and asylum seekers to improve. It goes without saying, there’s still a bloody long way to go.