“You’re lying”: Fury over “secret deal” between PM and Jacqui Lambie
The Prime Minister has denied making a “secret deal” with Jacqui Lambie in order to repeal the controversial medevac bill.
The bill allowed asylum seekers being held in offshore detention to be moved to Australia for medical treatment if a doctor deemed it necessary.
Lambie tearfully announced in Parliament that she would support the repeal.
"We've worked to an outcome I believe we both want, which is an outcome that our borders are secure, the boats have stopped and sick people aren't dying waiting for treatment," she said.
However, she “can’t discuss” what went into the proposal as there are “national security concerns”.
"I can't let the boats start back up and I can't let refugees die, whether it's sinking into the ocean or waiting for a doctor and I am voting to make sure that neither of these things happen,” Lambie continued.
Just before the vote, which passed by a narrow 37 to 35 votes, Government Senate leader Mathias Cormann and Lambie were unable to agree what was said. Cormann told parliament that there was no deal but Lambie said that there was.
The statement she gave in Parliament is a direct contradiction to the remarks made by the Prime Minister when he spoke to reporters in Canberra.
A reporter asked Scott Morrison what the condition was for Jacqui Lambie’s approval, but Morrison refused to say.
"I'm not sure what you are referring to in relation to her statements. I have the statements in front of me and I don't read that in her statements at all,” he said.
Another reporter asked what proposal Lambie and the government had worked to advance, but Morrison had an answer for that as well.
"It means she is happy with the government's policies and the bill that was presented to the Senate, and she voted for it," Mr Morrison said this afternoon, according to 9News.
It was previously reported that Lambie wanted the government to accept an offer from New Zealand to take 150 people who were permanently detained on Manus Island and Nauru to the nation. However, Morrison has rejected this.
Labor and the Greens want the details of the “secret deal” to be known to the public.
"There's some arrangement that the government has entered into with Senator Lambie that, through the course of this debate, the Australian people will not be made aware of,'' Greens leader Richard Di Natale said.
"We won't know what has been decided in secret. That is not the way a parliament works. It's not the way a government should work."
Labor’s Senate leader Penny Wong agreed.
"At the moment we have Cabinet ministers in here like lemmings to vote for a bill on a deal you haven't seen," Senator Wong said.
"Members of the Cabinet of Australia are coming in to vote on a deal that's been done with Senator Jacqui Lambie, that they don't even know about.”
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