Federal Court (Full Court): Under the now "repaired" Medevac provisions, 2 doctors must assess ("either remotely or in person") a transitory person before that person can be brought to Australia for medical treatment. The non-citizen argued that the review of medical records of itself constituted "remote assessment". The Minister unsuccessfully argued before a single judge of the FCA that "remote assessment" must involve a consultation. The Minister appealed the single judge's decision to the Full Court.
Summary and discussion
Section 198E of the Migration Act 1958, which was introduced by Schedule 6 ofthe Home Affairs Legislation Amendment (Miscellaneous Measures) Act 2019 (Cth), relevantly provided (and continues to provide) as follows (underlining added):
(1) If 2 or more treating doctors for a transitory person who is in a regional processing country have notified the Secretary that the person is a relevant transitory person, the Secretary must notify the Minister as soon as practicable.
(7) A medical practitioner is a treating doctor for a transitory person if the medical practitioner:
(b) has assessed the transitory person either remotely or in person.
The question to the Federal Court (FCA) was whether the review by 2 doctors of the Applicant's medical records without a consultation constituted remote assessment pursuant to s 198E(7)(b). In other terms, does the term "remotely" in that provision imply the need for a consultation by teleconference or can the review of medical documents, in some circumstances, of itself constitute "remote assessment"?
The FCA found against the Minister, who appealed the FCA's decision to the Full Court of the FCA (FCAFC).
The FCAFC held as follows...
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