Derryn Hinch throws future of refugee medical transfer bill into doubt

«I’ve made it quite clear I still believe offshore processing. But I just want to see before I make any decision where everything is at.»

Senator Hinch, who backed the bill when it cleared the Senate in December, said he would make a decision after receiving the Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation briefing already seen by both major parties.

He said he has not yet seen the new amendments that passed through the lower house on Tuesday night.

«We haven’t actually physically seen what went through the house,» the senator said.

On Tuesday, the medical evacuation bill was thrown into doubt after the government released advice from the Solicitor-General questioning whether the motion was constitutionally valid, as it spent government money — a power the Senate does not have. The opposition bloc quickly amended the bill to prevent it from spending government funds.


The Coalition says there will be a «price to pay» if the bill passes the Senate.

«Mr Shorten has made a decision for political reasons that is going to see people come to our country who have serious allegations against them in relation to potential criminal activities,» Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said.

«It seems to me that Derryn Hinch is showing the leadership that Mr Shorten lacks,» he said, adding that Senator Hinch would receive the security briefing «very shortly».

Opposition leader Bill Shorten urged Senator Hinch to support a «stronger» bill.

«The bill before him is now stronger and provides for stronger borders than indeed what was initially contemplated last December,» he said.

«It’s up to Senator Hinch what he does. What I would say is that what we have done is got the balance right.»




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