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International News

Feb 12, 2019
7:36PM

Australia government loses bill blocking sick asylum seekers

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Australian legislators have passed a landmark bill making it easier for asylum seekers, being held on remote Pacific islands, to get medical treatment in the country. 


This is the first time in decades the government has lost a vote on its own legislation in the lower house as the bill was passed with an opposition amendment. 


The bill is expected to sail through the upper Senate later this week after which it will become a law. 


Prime Minister Scott Morrison had strongly opposed the legislation. He said there is no form of the bill that does not weaken Australia's border protection. 


Under Australia’s offshore detention policy, asylum seekers arriving by boat are sent to detention centres on Nauru and Papua New Guinea. 


The country has long defended its policy by arguing that it stops deaths at sea and disrupts the trade of people smuggling.

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