HYPOCRISY doesn’t get more brazen or risible: “Labor and the Greens have accused crossbench senator Jacqui Lambie and the Government of having struck a secret deal to end the medevac laws …” Just days ago there were hugs and kisses for Senator Lambie from the same Labor and Greens lawmakers after she and Pauline Hanson came to some sort of sub rosa arrangement to scuttle the government’s new, tough union governance bill. This is how quickly truth is now re-badged, repainted and flipped in contemporary politics. Today, a furious Penny Wong asks, “What sort of process of democracy is that?” Same one as last week.
One thing both deals have in common is a theatrical, self-shielding emotional breakdown by Senator Lambie. She cried today when she told the Senate she would support the government’s repeal of a medevac law that had allowed doctors to declare refugees on Papua New Guinea and Nauru so “ill” they had to be flown to Australia for treatment – and never be returned to detention. Richard Di Natale says it’s a “dark day for the people who have been locked up in those offshore hellholes.” Interestingly, he didn’t say sick people.
But then, giving the game away happens when you fire off a statement in anger. The game, of course, was to subvert government policy by using activist doctors to get around the law and settle alleged refugees on any pseudo-medical grounds imaginable. Assisting the genuinely unwell is important. That will continue. Making a mockery of medicine and borders to engineer a win against the LNP government was disgraceful as well as dangerous. The national security advice Lambie cited today may be confidential but it’s not hard to imagine its gist. The rigged version of medevac was certain to be used by nefarious people to get a foot in the door. Well done, then, Jacqui. Forgive us if we don’t give you fresh hugs for doing your job.