UPDATE: Legislation making it easier for refugees to get medical transfers to Australia passed Parliament after independent Derryn Hinch confirmed he would back Labor.

The bill passed with a a final vote of 56-34 in the upper house on Wednesday morning.

The key crossbench senator said he was swayed by an amendment limiting medical transfers to people already on Manus Island and Nauru.

“This is the toughest decision I’ve had to make since I came into this chamber,“ Senator Hinch told Parliament after receiving a security briefing.

Independent senator Tim Storer and Centre Alliance’s two senators also backed the Labor and Greens-supported bill, securing its passage.

The Coalition government suffered a humiliating defeat in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, when the legislation passed against its wishes.
The changes make it easier for doctors to facilitate medical evacuations for sick asylum seekers on Manus Island and Nauru.

At the same time debate on the bill was brought on in the Senate, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the Government would reopen the Christmas Island immigration detention centre and toughen up Operation Sovereign Borders.

Government Senate leader Mathias Cormann said the refugee transfer legislation would compromise Australia’s border protection regime and national security.

“As a result of Bill Shorten’s bill, rapists, murderers and paedophiles will still get a free pass into this country. Bill Shorten should be ashamed of himself,” he the Senate.

Labor Senate leader Penny Wong launched a fiery attack on the Government, accusing the Coalition of “shameful” leaking of an intelligence briefing which warned against the bill.

“There are lies being told about this bill by those opposite and they are doing it because they are desperate,” she said.

“Rather than running these lies, why don’t you just call an election?“