The Australian government said Wednesday it would reopen a mothballed island detention camp in anticipation of a new wave of asylum-seekers arriving by boat after Parliament passed legislation that would give sick asylum-seekers easier access to mainland hospitals.
The Christmas Island immigration detention camp, south of Jakarta, Indonesia, was a favorite target of people smugglers who brought asylum-seekers from Asia, Africa and the Middle East in rickety boats from Indonesian ports before the trade virtually stopped in recent years.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said a security committee of his cabinet agreed to reopen the camp on Wednesday on the advice of senior security officials.
The decision was made before the Senate passed legislation 36 votes to 34 that would allow doctors instead of bureaucrats to decide which asylum-seekers on camps on the Pacific island nations of Papua New Guinea and Nauru can fly to Australia for hospital treatment.
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