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Australia Scott Morrison's captain's call inserts medevac critic Sarah Henderson as chair of human rights committee

12:50  22 october  2019
12:50  22 october  2019 Source:   abc.net.au

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Prime Minister Scott Morrison has parachuted his newest senator into a prime parliamentary role that will have oversight of the hotly contested medevac laws. Sarah Henderson , a former frontbencher who lost the seat of Corangamite in the May election, has been quietly appointed chair of the

Scott Morrison quietly selects new Liberal senator Sarah Henderson to take over a Federal Parliament human rights committee , seeking a less critical tone on laws.

Scott Morrison, Sarah Henderson are posing for a picture: Sarah Henderson returned to Parliament in September as a senator having lost her Lower House seat in the federal election. (ABC News: Adam Kennedy)© Provided by Australian Broadcasting Corporation Sarah Henderson returned to Parliament in September as a senator having lost her Lower House seat in the federal election. (ABC News: Adam Kennedy)

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has parachuted his newest senator into a prime parliamentary role that will have oversight of the hotly contested medevac laws.

Sarah Henderson, a former frontbencher who lost the seat of Corangamite in the May election, has been quietly appointed chair of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights.

Earlier this year, the Liberal moderate was critical of the medevac laws, saying they were not needed and the "political consequence" would be the unravelling of the Coalition's tough border-protection regime.

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It is wrong to put border protection under a national security umbrella. Trump in the US + right wing parties in Europe & the Middle East are doing it. Hindu nationalists are demonizing Muslims & Jews are building walls in Palestine.

Scott Morrison ' s captain ' s call inserts medevac critic Sarah Henderson as chair of human rights committee . Scott Morrison quietly selects new Liberal senator Sarah Henderson to take over a Federal Parliament human rights committee , seeking a less critical tone on laws. Sarah Henderson

There is concern among MPs the Prime Minister would like the human rights committee to strike a less critical tone on the medevac laws.

The committee has a strong history of issuing bipartisan reports when it scrutinises legislation.

Last month, the committee expressed concerns about the Government's medevac repeal bill, including the adequacy of access to health care and the right to health for those held under regional processing arrangements and the extent to which the repeal of the medical transfer provisions would, "restrict access to health care for those held on Nauru and Manus Island".

Other MPs and senators on the committee were only informed of Senator Henderson's appointment this morning.

#alertme

She replaces as chairman fellow Liberal Ian Goodenough, who has been instead encouraged by senior colleagues to consider a vacancy on the procedures committee, which is not known for controversy.

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" Scott Morrison ' s captain ' s call inserts medevac critic Sarah Henderson as chair of human rights committee ."

Liberal Senator and medevac critic Sarah Henderson will head the parliament’ s human rights committee with the backing of Prime Minister Scott Morrison . A Liberal senator previously critical of refugee medical transfer laws was appointed chair of parliament’ s human rights committee

Mr Goodenough's health has been cited as a reason for shifting him from the committee. He has long suffered a kidney complaint.

The deputy chair of the committee, Labor's Graham Perrett, said the history of the human rights committee was bipartisan and often critical of government of both stripes.

"The committee's job is to view legislation though the prism of human rights and it's illegal to ignore treaties that we are signatory to," Mr Perrett told the ABC.

"The role of the chair is pivotal. If the chair wants to curry favour with the executive, they might be tempted to hold back on their comments but I think the committee works best when it provides frank and fearless advice on the human rights of Australians and people under our care.

"When [former committee chair and Labor MP] Harry Jenkins was critical of Labor's reopening of Manus, it was with the authority of a former speaker and an experienced member of Parliament.

"It is not a committee that is in bed with the executive and that is the history of the human rights committee and I hope that tradition continues."

Senator Henderson's political career was resurrected last month when she replaced Mitch Fifield.

In February, she was a panellist on Q&A and was critical of Labor's support for the medevac laws.

"Let's not forget who put those people on Nauru and Manus — it was the Labor Party," she said.

"There is no need for this bill. This is all about politics … the political consequences are that Australians will see that Labor will do anything to unravel border protection."

A chair of a joint parliamentary committee receives an 11 per cent allowance, on top of the backbencher's $211,250 base salary, or $23,237 extra.

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