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Labor fires back at Dutton's refugee waiting lines claim

9News.com.au logo 9News.com.au 1/03/2019 Nick Pearson

a man wearing a suit and tie: Labor's Medivac bill will put asylum seekers ahead of Australians on hospital waiting lists, Peter Dutton has claimed. © AAP Labor's Medivac bill will put asylum seekers ahead of Australians on hospital waiting lists, Peter Dutton has claimed. Labor has hit out at Peter Dutton's claims that moving sick asylum seekers from offshore detention will lead to Australians being kicked off hospital and public housing waiting lists.

Describing it as “grubby politics”, Labor’s Anthony Albanese said Australians deserved better than a fear campaign.

The Home Affairs Minister yesterday tore into the opposition for the Medivac bill, which would allow asylum seekers to be moved from Manus and Nauru if doctors concluded they could not be treated there.

"People who need medical services are going to be displaced from those services, because if you bring hundreds and hundreds of people from Nauru and Manus down to our country, they are going to go into the health network," Mr Dutton said.

"I don't want to see Australians who are in waiting lines at public hospitals kicked off those waiting lines because people from Nauru and Manus are now going to access those health services.

"I don't want to see Australians who are on waiting lists for housing, or already occupying housing, being kicked out of that housing because of people arriving off Manus and Nauru."

a large body of water with a city in the background: Nauru asylum seeker detention centre. (AAP) © AAP Nauru asylum seeker detention centre. (AAP)

But Shadow Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese today dismissed his comments as scare-mongering.

"That sort of grubby politics is unacceptable in this country," Mr Albanese told Today.

"All the government's got left is a fear campaign because they don't have a positive agenda for governing this country."

a person reading a book: Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced the last remaining asylum seeker children on Nauru are to leave the island for the US. Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced the last remaining asylum seeker children on Nauru are to leave the island for the US. Coalition frontbencher Christopher Pyne said Labor had weakened Australia's border protection.

"Under Labor it cost $16 billion to fix up their border protection policies," he told Today.

"We fixed all that, and Labor wants to take us back to those dark days again.

"The asylum seeker lawyers are all sharpening their pencils because they know they're going to be able to completely dismantle offshore detention."

His comments come as the last remaining children on Nauru were transferred to the United States yesterday.

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