Australian PM suffers defeat over refugees

Australian PM suffers defeat over refugees

Australian PM suffers defeat over refugees

Mr Morrison lost his parliamentary majority a year ago and has been relying on cross-benchers to keep control of the Lower House of Representatives.

Scott Morrison, who was State director for the party in NSW at that time, referenced the Tampa election after the Bill's passage last night.

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'Under Labor's law, a person who has been convicted of serious offences would have to come to Australia and there is nothing the minister could do to stop it, ' he said.

He said the government's border protection policies, which now includes the reopening of the Christmas Island centre, remain "a great deterrent" to people smuggling operations.

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"We have approved putting in place the reopening of the Christmas Island detention facilities, both to deal with the prospect of arrivals as well as dealing with the prospect of transfers", Morrison said in a press conference following his government's defeat in the parliament.

He says "the great risk we're now facing" is that the boats will start.

"What my job is is to make sure the beast doesn't wake up, but I can tell you Bill Shorten's given it a big poke... and he's done it willfully".

On Tuesday and Wednesday, parliament rebuffed government warnings and adopted legislation opening the door for some of the 1,000 refugees detained in existing offshore centres on Nauru and Papua New Guinea's Manus Island to travel to Australia for medical treatment if the transfers are requested by two or more doctors. "It's a foolish law and it's not one that I support".

"My job now is to do everything within my power and in the power of the government to ensure that what the parliament has done to weaken our borders does not result in boats coming to Australia", he said.

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Mr Morrison declared national security measures would be strengthened under the government's Operation Sovereign Borders after the medivac bill was passed. I think it's a foolish law.

He denied his ramped-up rhetoric played into the hands of people smugglers, saying "I'm standing between people smugglers and bringing a boat to Australia".

"It might be all fine and nice to talk about these nuances here in this courtyard", he said.

Meanwhile MP Kerryn Phelps, a key supporter of the bill, dismissed concerns that there will be an influx of new boat arrivals.

Yes, the government is wielding its reluctance to provide Australian medical care, and its use of harsh facilities like Christmas Island, as an apparent weapon against asylum seekers.

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