The Health News – 12 May 2014

Overview

  • Former Australian of the Year and Chinese refugee Dr John Yu has attacked the Federal Government’s immigration policy as dehumanising and unfair.
  • Victoria’s controversial balance of power MP Geoff Shaw has again signaled his determination to change the state’s abortion laws by embarking on a trip to study the issue in the United States.



Former Australian of the Year and Chinese refugee hits out at immigration policy Will Ockenden reported this story

http://www.abc.net.au/am/content/2014/s4002043.htm

Former Australian of the Year and Chinese refugee Dr John Yu has attacked the Federal Government’s immigration policy as dehumanising and unfair.

Dr Yu, who was Australian of the Year back in 1996, has been a paediatrician for more than 40 years and ran one of Sydney’s largest hospitals for 20 years. He fled China back in the 1930s just before the Japanese invaded, and he escaped to Australia making this country his life-long home with his family.

Delivering the annual Mosman Address in the heart of the federal electorate of Warringah, the seat of the Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Dr Yu hit out at Operation Sovereign Borders saying that he thinks one aspect of the immigration policy that appears to be dehumanizing is the practice of not talking about refugees as being human beings who have their own stories and their own needs.

They’re labeled as being ‘irregular arrivals’; they’re no longer people who are trying to escape from what they see as persecution and trying to provide a reasonable life for their children and their families.

When asked about the argument that the immigration policy is a way to save lives by stopping drowning at sea, Dr. Yu replied: “I think it’s unfortunate that a lot of these people have to come on boats that are not necessarily sea-worthy.

But I can’t see why turning them back in the middle of the ocean and making them go back to where they came from could be possibly viewed by anybody as trying to save their lives. Adding that forcing sailors ( who normally subscribe to the usual policies of safety on the seas)  to make decisions that they are uncomfortable with, was unfair.

As far as future changes to Australia’s immigration policy is concerned, Dr. Yu feels that a change in how refugees are approached needs to change.

Noting that while the number of boats coming to Australia clearly have fallen off in recent times, the need for people to escape persecution in their own homeland has not and will lessen in the near future and that as an affluent society, we need to accept some responsibility as a world citizen to help these people find something which is much more humane and hopeful for their families.

Pro-choice groups condemn Shaw’s US study tour Samantha Donovan reported this story

http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2014/s4001753.htm

Victoria’s controversial balance of power MP Geoff Shaw has again signaled his determination to change the state’s abortion laws by embarking on a trip to study the issue in the United States.  The Victorian taxpayer is funding Mr Shaw’s airfares but he says he’s paying for all other costs. 

A coalition of reproductive rights groups says it’s outrageous Mr Shaw is taking the trip. After months of speculation the Victorian MP Geoff Shaw confirmed earlier this year that he does want changes made to Victoria’s abortion laws.

He initially indicated he wanted the law changed so doctors with a conscientious objection to abortion didn’t have to refer a patient to another doctor.

Now he says his independent member’s bill would also seek to make gender selection and late-term abortions illegal and require doctors to provide medical help to babies who survive a botched abortion.

Saying that Mr. Shae’s study tour is highly inappropriate, Jenny Ejlak, vice president of Reproductive Choice Australia, a coalition of groups from across the country, claims that “He’s not representing a political party, he’s representing one very tiny electorate.

There’s no will broadly in the community for this issue to be investigated again, so it’s really for his own personal beliefs and crusade.

We all know that that issue was debated very, very thoroughly in 2008 and there’s no one else apart from him and two or three other people in Parliament who wish to debate that again.

The widely available information on the laws of different countries as well as any other information relative to the subject makes it unnecessary for him to travel overseas to get the information.

Ejlak say’s that the real agenda behind Mr Shaw’s trip is about training up in tactics to try to achieve some further restrictions on women’s reproductive rights and on access to abortion.