Labor and the Greens have accused crossbench senator Jacqui Lambie and the Government of having struck a secret deal to end the medevac laws that allow refugees to come to Australia for medical treatment.
- The Senate is in the final stages of debate dealing with a repeal to the so-called medevac laws
- The laws allow doctors more control to bring refugees in PNG and Nauru to Australia for treatment
- Jacqui Lambie and the Government have refused to reveal the details of their negotiations
The Tasmanian senator, who holds the crucial vote on the proposal, has repeatedly refused to outline the details of her negotiations with the Coalition, insisting it was a matter of national security.
The medevac laws, which give doctors more power to decide whether refugees on Papua New Guinea and Nauru should come to Australia for treatment, came in under the previous Parliament, when the Coalition was governing in minority.
“At the moment we have cabinet ministers like lemmings coming in here to vote for a bill on a deal you haven’t seen,” Labor’s Penny Wong told the Senate.
“That’s how cabinet government works in this country — members of the cabinet of Australia are coming in to vote on a deal that’s been done with Senator Jacqui Lambie that they don’t even know about.
“What sort of cabinet government is that? What sort of process of democracy is that?”
Labor and the Greens demanded the terms of any deal be made public before the Senate votes on repeal legislation to overturn the laws.
“Let me just make the most important point right up front — there is no secret deal,” the Government’s leader in the Senate, Mathias Cormann, told the Parliament.
“Let me repeat that again. There is no secret deal.”
The Senate is yet to cast a final vote but is expected to do so at 11:00am AEDT.
More to come.