I’m seeing red. This is downright unconscionable. And in the face of a massive workforce shortage, too? This guy CAME to Australia answering the call for rural doctors in the first place.
A German physician working in rural Victoria (Wimmera) has been denied permanent residency in Australia – because his teenage son has Down Syndrome.
He is the only specialist physician in the area.
Dr Moeller, whose 13-year-old son Lukas has Down syndrome, answered the Australian Government’s call for foreign doctors to help ease the chronic doctor shortage in rural areas but, after two years on a temporary visa, the Department of Immigration knocked back his application for permanent residency last week.
An Immigration Department spokesman said Dr Moeller was rejected because a Commonwealth medical officer assessed that his son’s medical condition would result in a significant and ongoing cost to Australian taxpayers.
He said the medical officer’s decision was legally binding and the department had no choice but to abide. Dr Moeller is now contemplating moving his family of five back to Germany.
Victorian Premier John Brumby has decided to leave off any pretence at varnish, and has called the decision “stupid” and “a serious error”.
The Department is weaselishly trying to defend their bigoted actions this afternoon, says The Age.
Peter Vardos, the Immigration Department’s first assistant secretary of migration and visa policy, today said Lukas was not being discriminated against because of his particular condition.
“It has nothing to do with the fact that Lukas has Down syndrome per se, it could be any condition that potentially has a long-term financial impact on the Australian community,” Mr Vardos said.
“For any person migrating to Australia on a permanent basis there’s an objective set of criteria that all must be subjected to, and unfortunately on this occasion Dr Moeller’s family didn’t meet all the criteria.”
So discrimination against people with disabilities is just fine, so long as it’s objective, Vardos?
Australia ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities on the 17 of July, 2008, barely three and a half months ago. The Convention includes articles providing that PWD should be equal under the law, that where children with disabilities are concerned the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration, and, perhaps most pertinently, that they should be treated equally with regards to nationality and immigration.
Now’s the time to put up or shut up, Australia.
People: Start writing to or calling Immigration Minister Chris Evans.
* his Contact Form
* Ph: 02 6277 7860.
[image source: Wimmera Mail-Times]