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Bill seeking to transfer sick asylum seekers from Nauru and Manus Island to be debated in Canberra

A crossbench bill to urgently transfer sick asylum seekers on Nauru and Manus Island to Australia could pass the Senate before Parliament in Canberra rises for the year.

The Greens and independent Tim Storer have secured support for largely non-controversial migration legislation to be debated today, with a vote due on the final sitting afternoon of 2018.

Crossbench senators are planning to tack an amendment on to the bill which mirrors independent lower house MP Kerryn Phelps' legislation requiring the urgent medical transfer of all asylum-seeker children on Nauru.

At a caucus meeting on Tuesday, Labor resolved to support Dr Phelps' plan, provided three key changes were added to the bill.

The opposition wants to ensure the minister or minister's delegate must sign off on all medical transfers.

The minister would also be required to table a statement in Parliament if they refuse to transfer someone, and an independent health advice panel would be established.

Negotiations between Labor, the Greens and crossbench are ongoing, but time is running out to seal a deal before the summer parliamentary break.

Even if the bill passes the upper house, a simple majority of lower house MPs would need to support a motion bringing it on for debate in the House of Representatives.

Dr Phelps' legislation facilitates the urgent evacuation of any asylum seeker who was critically ill and unable to be treated offshore.

It would strip existing legislation for the ability of Australia's immigration minister to veto medical transfer requests from treating doctors.

Manus Island Regional Processing Facility, Papua New Guinea.
Manus Island Regional Processing Facility, Papua New Guinea. Source: Getty