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Australian Medical Students applaud evacuation of final four child asylum seekers; implore parliamentary support for Urgent Medical Treatment Bill

11 Feb 2019

In 2018, over 1200 medical students signed an open letter in support of ending indefinite offshore detention.


The Australian Medical Students’ Association (AMSA) commends the announcement of the remaining asylum seeker children leaving Nauru this week but continues to urge politicians to support The Migration Amendment (Urgent Medical Treatment) Bill by Independent MP and former Australian Medical Association (AMA) President, Professor Kerryn Phelps, to address the current refugee health emergency.

AMSA President, Ms Jessica Yang, said: “There is a medical and humanitarian crisis taking place on Manus and Nauru. This Bill is critically important in mitigating further harm in Australia’s offshore detention centres.

“Indefinite detention abuses health.

“The Bill rightfully gives medical experts a greater say in refugees’ medical treatment and supports vulnerable people to get the care they need.

“The changes to the Bill proposed by PM Scott Morrison earlier this week essentially enable the government to continue to retain control of medical transfers. This dismisses the expertise of highly trained medical professionals.

“AMSA believes doctors should have the final say where medical transfers are concerned,” Ms Yang asserted.

AMSA’s Crossing Borders National Project Manager, Jackie Maher concurred, saying “Under the current system it is bureaucrats without medical training, and not doctors, who dictate urgent medical treatment for asylum seekers.

“Avoidable medical tragedies on Manus and Nauru have demonstrated that this system does not work; medical professionals should be making the medical decisions, not politicians.”

AMSA - the peak representative body for Australia’s 17,000 medical students - joins the AMA, RACGP, ACEM, RACP, RANZCP, ACRRM and numerous health and humanitarian organisations in calling for Parliament to support the Bill.


Media contact

AMSA 2019 Public Relations Officer

Madeleine Goss



Published: 11 Feb 2019