Scott Morrison's 'Frolic' On Christmas Island 'A Waste Of Money'
Scott Morrison has become the first sitting Prime Minister to visit Christmas Island, but critics have slammed his daytrip as a waste of cash.
The PM is ramping up rhetoric around the threat of refugee boats restarting, claiming dangerous criminals could come to Australia thanks to Labor-backed medical evacuation rules for refugees on Manus Island and Nauru.
But since the medevac bill came into effect on March 1, there have been no applications for transfer from people on the islands recorded by refugee advocates.
“It has only been a couple of days since the laws were stood up,” Morrison said.
“The doctors panel is still being formed... We will deal with demand as it presents."
Morrison claimed at least 57 asylum seekers on Manus Island and Nauru are potentially guilty of murder, terrorism or other serious offences. He unveiled a plan to send offshore asylum seekers to Christmas Island, if they try to come to Australia for medical treatment.
But that has perplexed locals who travel to Perth for major medical treatment, because the island is not equipped to handle significant surgeries.
However, Christmas Island shire council president Gordon Thomson told the ABC the local hospital did not have the medical facilities necessary to deal with the issues refugees for which would require medical transfer, and that the facilities were "close" to what was on Manus and Nauru anyway.
“Those who thought that this would be some easy passage to the mainland and would try and take advantage and game the system, well, I think they are getting a very clear message," Morrison said on Wednesday.
“They will come here to Christmas Island and this is where they will receive that assessment.”
Labor has taken aim at Morrison for making the journey to the remote island.
Bill Shorten said the Prime Minister's "frolic" to Christmas Island was a "waste of money".
The government’s approach has also drawn strong criticism from refugee advocates.
"Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s visit to Christmas Island today is a sensational waste of taxpayers money, and another attempt to mislead the Australian public and demonise refugees,” said Dr Graham Thom, Refugee Coordinator at Amnesty International Australia.
"Christmas Islanders themselves have already criticised the Prime Minister’s decision to reopen the facility stating the island is not prepared to deal with refugees in need of critical health care.
“Despite this clear message, the PM continues to foist the decision on them without consultation.”
Featured image: AAP
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