News National Senior doctor ordered to leave Nauru

Senior doctor ordered to leave Nauru

The Nauru asylum seeker camp. Photo: AAP
Twitter Facebook Reddit Pinterest Email

The most senior Australian health official on Nauru was to be deported on Wednesday, after being found to have breached the rules of the regional processing centre.

Health contractor IHMS said Dr Nicole Montana’s replacement was already in Nauru.

“A replacement senior medical officer is already in Nauru, there has been no impact on the services provided to transferees,” the IHMS spokesperson said.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Home Affairs said Dr Montana’s removal was a matter for the government of Nauru and IHMS.

The deportation comes as thousands of Australian doctors, government backbenchers and opposition parties all express serious concerns about the health of refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru.

Three Liberal backbenchers have taken the extraordinary step of demanding Prime Minister Scott Morrison evacuate children and their families from the island.

Labor has drafted legislation aimed at speeding up the medical transfers of sick children from Nauru to Australia.

Late on Tuesday, Mr Morrison signalled he was willing to accept New Zealand’s offer to resettle 80 asylum seeker children and their families from Nauru. But he said they had to be legally blocked from ever setting foot in Australia.

Under proposed laws being refloated by the federal government, any refugee settled in a third country would be banned from ever entering Australia, even under a tourist or business visa.

Labor says the bill is an unworkable overreach, given the immigration minister already has the power to stop individuals entering Australia.

The bill has been stuck in parliament since November 2016.

Independent senators have now asked for an urgent briefing on the bill.

“I’m wondering what’s taken two years to request one,” Mr Morrison said.

However, he also talked down the prospects of a vote on the bill this week.

“There is no support for that bill at present,” he said.

There was also an emotive exchange in parliament on the issue on Wednesday, with Greens MP accusing the Coalition of “slowly killing” children on the island. Mr Bandt, who was forced to withdraw his question, said refugee children were in crisis.

But Mr Scott Morrison defended the government’s record, saying medical transfers from Nauru were done on the basis of doctors’ advice – and that practice would continue.

“Our record is about improving the facilities that were opened by Labor when they were in office,” he said.

“We will continue to treat every single case based on the medical advice that is received and transfers undertaken on the basis of that medical advice.”

-with AAP