CAPSA welcomes the ‘Urgent Medical Treatment’ Bill

The passing of the Bill amended in the Senate to facilitate bringing to Australia for medical treatment sick people from Manus Island and Nauru is an occasion for celebration. Even with further amendments following consultation and negotiation, the resultant bill will benefit seriously ill people. Australia was responsible for placing them on these islands. It has an equal responsibility for safeguarding their health.

The passing of the amended Bill is also of wider significance for Australia. It suggests that the Australian public is now more sensitive to the suffering of people who came to Australia seeking protection.

That the ferocious campaign of fear directed against the amendments did not persuade the Members of Parliament to reject them was another. Such signs offer good grounds to hope that in the coming Federal Election attempts by any of the political parties to demonise people who have sought protection in Australia will be similarly counterproductive.

Of course, access to medical care is only one of the forms of respect that we owe to all human beings, including those who seek protection from persecution. People held on Nauru and Manus Island are disrespected in other ways, too. We must continue to demand that they are all quickly enabled to leave these places of restraint in order to live full human lives.

We want to acknowledge the amazing work of the broader refugee sector and movement who have actively advocated for the medical needs of people who are seeking asylum in Australia. CAPSA thanks in particular the large number of Catholic groups and organisations that showed public support including:

  • Brigidine Sisters
  • Catholic Justice and Peace Commission of the Archdiocese of Brisbane
  • Christian Brothers Oceania
  • Discalced Carmelite Nuns
  • Holy Cross Congregation of Dominican Sisters Adelaide
  • Franciscan Missionaries of the Divine Motherhood
  • Good Samaritan Refugee and Asylum Seeker Network
  • Holy Cross Congregation of Dominican Sisters Adelaide
  • Holy Spirit Sisters
  • Institute of Sisters of Mercy of Australia and Papua New Guinea
  • Jesuit Refugee Service (Australia)
  • Jesuit Social Services
  • Little Company of Mary Region of the Southern Cross
  • Loreto Sisters
  • Marist Sisters
  • Missionary Sisters of Service
  • Melbourne Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office
  • Pax Christi Victoria
  • Sisters of Mercy Parramatta
  • Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions
  • Sisters of Saint Joseph
  • Sisters of the Good Samaritan
  • Sisters of the Good Shepherd

And for the support of the fantastic members of the CAPSA Advisory Group:

  • Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office
  • Australian Catholic Social Justice Council
  • Australian Catholic University
  • Caritas Australia
  • Catholic Health Australia
  • Catholic Religious Australia
  • Catholic Social Services Australia
  • Catholic Mission
  • Catholics in Coalition for Justice and Peace
  • National Catholic Education Commission
  • St Vincent de Paul Society