Saturday, November 01, 2008

Creep Award, International Division

The Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship has denied an application for residency to a German doctor named Bernhard Moeller. The reason? His 13-year old son has Down syndrome. Therefore, the Department declared, he does not meet the "health requirement."

In a bizarrely self-mocking statement, the Department insisted that
"[t]his is not discrimination. A disability in itself is not grounds for failing the health requirement - it is a question of the cost implications to the community," the statement said.
Which is much like some redneck in the '50s saying something like "we don't discriminate a'gin no colored folks. We're glad to have 'em here - so long as they don't burden us by wantin' to go to school or somethin'."

What makes this even worse is that Dr. Moeller and his family have been living in Australia for two years after he was recruited to go there to help fill a shortage of physicians in rural communities.
Moeller said immigration authorities did not take into account the family's ability to provide Lukas with the care he needs. ...

Immigration officials "weren't even interested in what we have done and are able to do for him," the doctor added.
But this is not discrimination.

Fortunately for the Moellers, they have friends, including not only the people of the area (where Moeller is the only internist for a community of 54,000) but some powerful ones as well: the premier of Victoria and the federal Minister of Health. The Moellers intend to appeal.

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