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'Australia is back on the map for people smugglers': Peter Dutton warns refugee boats will flood in again after Labor teams up with the Greens and independents for an asylum seeker 'win' in parliament

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 12/02/2019 Kylie Stevens

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Allowing asylum seekers held offshore to seek medical treatment in Australia will leave Australia's borders open to people smugglers, Peter Dutton has warned.

The Home Affairs minister appeared on ABC's 7.30 after the government failed to block the new laws - becoming the first in 78 years to lose a vote on its own bill.

The refugee transfer laws were passed in the House of Representatives by 75 votes to 74 after Labor was joined by the Greens and all independents except Bob Katter.

In a fiery ten-minute exchange with presenter Leigh Sales, Mr Dutton described the unravelling of his government's border protection policies as a disaster for Australia.

He also claimed Opposition leader Bill Shorten had failed his test in leading the country on border protection.

While Mr Dutton said his government will abide by the legislation passed, he expressed concerns for the consequences of the deal struck between Labor, the Greens and independents.

'This puts Australia back on the map for people smugglers and Bill Shorten has that on his shoulders,' he said.

'I think Mr Shorten doesn't yet understand the full consequence of his decision tonight, but I think the Australian public do.'

a small boat in a body of water: 'This puts Australia back on the map for people smugglers and Bill Shorten has that on his shoulders,' Dutton said © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited 'This puts Australia back on the map for people smugglers and Bill Shorten has that on his shoulders,' Dutton said

'I believe we will see boats. I think there is no question that people smugglers will be hearing very clearly that the policy in Australia has changed and I think we need to be very cognisant of that.

He also claimed the new bill would allow people being held at Manus or Nauru, who have been charged with serious crimes such as murder and child sex offences, to come to Australia. '

Mr Shorten took to Twitter on Tuesday night to say the bill only applies to people who are already on Manus and Nauru. 

'This means the people smugglers don't have a product to sell and can never again resume their trade in human misery,' he tweeted.

'The Australian people understand our nation can be strong on borders and still treat people humanely. We can preserve our national security and still look after people to whom we owe a duty of care. This legislation gets that balance right.'

a man wearing a suit and tie: Opposition leader Bill Shorten and Prime Minister Scott Morrison have differing views over asylum seekers © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Opposition leader Bill Shorten and Prime Minister Scott Morrison have differing views over asylum seekers

Mr Dutton refused to answer Sales' questions on the number of asylum seekers on Nauru and Manus charged with serious offences, adding he would only release those details if appropriate. 

But later in the evening details concerning four men held offshore who are charged with serious offences and could be transferred to Australia were revealed. 

One man suspected of being charged with murder in Iran has a violent history on Manus Island, including the alleged assault of a psychiatrist, The Daily Telegraph reported.

 Another man remains in custody in association with a rape of a minor on the island.

A third man on Manus Island allegedly had a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old girl, while a fourth man charged with an indecent act involving a child under the age of 16 is yet to appear in court. 

a group of people standing next to a fence: Mr Dutton refused to answer Sales' questions on the number of asylum seekers on Nauru and Manus charged with serious offences, adding he would only release those details if appropriate © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Mr Dutton refused to answer Sales' questions on the number of asylum seekers on Nauru and Manus charged with serious offences, adding he would only release those details if appropriate

But Mr Shorten said the bill ensures the government has the power to deny criminals and national security risks entry to Australia. 

The amendments passed the lower house on Tuesday evening, and will go to the Senate for approval on Wednesday.

'Today is such an important day for sick people needing medical care they are unable to receive on Manus Island and Nauru,' independent MP Dr Kerryn Phelps, tweeted.

'Thank you to all of the many people who contributed to this remarkable community campaign. Senate tomorrow.'

Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed the laws will be given royal assent in the normal way, but he had some parting words for the opposition leader.

a person with collar shirt: Presenter Leigh Sales (pictured) clashed with Home Minister Peter Dutton several times in a heated exchange when he appeared on ABC's 7.30 on Saturday night © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Presenter Leigh Sales (pictured) clashed with Home Minister Peter Dutton several times in a heated exchange when he appeared on ABC's 7.30 on Saturday night

'The Australian people have looked at Bill Shorten today and they have found him weak, and he is,' Mr Morrison told reporters.

Mr Morrison is already promising 'contingency' measures to ensure the new laws don't undermine Operation Sovereign Borders.

'The Labor Party have failed to learn their lessons of failure when they had responsibility for border protection in this country,' Mr Morrison said. 

But Mr Shorten said borders can remain strong while the nation also looks after people in Australia's care. 

'I believe we can keep our borders secure, we can uphold national security, but still treat people humanely,' Mr Shorten told parliament. 

a group of people standing next to a wire fence: The amendments passed the lower house on Tuesday evening, and will go to the Senate for approval on Wednesday (pictured are asylum seekers on Manus) © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The amendments passed the lower house on Tuesday evening, and will go to the Senate for approval on Wednesday (pictured are asylum seekers on Manus)

HOW THE NEW BILL WORKS 

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