Christmas Island: Australia 'to re-open' controversial detention centre

Prime Minister Scott Morrison leaves the House of Representatives after losing a vote

DOMINIC LORRIMER FAIRFAX MEDIAPrime Minister Scott Morrison leaves the House of Representatives after losing a vote

Last year, Australians were horrified by reports of a mental health crisis among children on Nauru - including cases of attempted suicide.

The prime minister's announcement came after the opposition Labor party and independents voted on Tuesday to amend hardline immigration laws to give doctors the right to transfer some 1,000 men and woman from two Pacific detention centres if they need medical treatment.

"If they don't come, it will be because of the work and the decisions we are now taking and the actions we are putting in place", Morrison said.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison attacks Bill Shorten in Question Time.

"My job now is to do everything within my power, and 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.

Also in the Swiss city on Wednesday night, Abdul Aziz Muhamat, a Sudanese refugee activist who has spent five years on Manus Island, won the Martin Ennals Award 2019, one of the most prestigious worldwide human rights prizes, organisers said.

Hundreds of refugees and asylum-seekers in offshore facilities have already gotten recommendations from doctors to be transferred to Australia under new medivac legislation.

Morrison last week ruled out calling a snap election if his government was defeated over the "stupid" bill.

Morrison said he would repeal the "foolish law" if his government were re-elected.

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As for the Champions League , Solskjaer said the club will aim to get to halftime of the second leg with at least a 1-0 lead. It has to be one that we are going to learn from.

Speaking in front of Parliament House this morning, Morrison reiterated his position the vote will encourage people smugglers to continue their operations in Australian waters - and that reopening the shuttered centre was part of a contingency plan to dissuade those potential arrivals.

The ruling coalition lost the majority in the Lower House previous year. "We don't want the vile people smuggler trade in business, exploiting people's misery", Shorten said.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten accused the coalition of rolling out the welcome mat for people smugglers by suggesting Australia's borders are now less secure.

Under the previous system, the Minister for Home Affairs, now Peter Dutton, had final say over all proposed medical transfers.

"Ensuring access to adequate medical care for refugees and asylum-seekers is a life-saving, humanitarian act", said Louise Aubin, the representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Canberra.

Furious at Labor for insisting on the changes, the government is now preparing for an election fight on border protection by claiming Mr Shorten would dismantle offshore processing and allow more asylum seekers to arrive by boat.

Labor is accusing the government of a hysterical response.

The reference to 2001 harks back to the beginning of the highly-charged debate over boat people debate in Australian politics, when John Howard refused to allow the Norwegian cargo ship, MV Tampa, from landing at Christmas Island with survivors of a people smuggling venture.

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