- At least 25 African delegates to the international AIDS conference in Melbourne last month have stayed on to seek asylum in Australia.
- Members of the Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANF) oppose the State Government’s plan to save $50 million a year and prevent job cuts by freezing public sector wages for a year and limiting future increases.
- Descendants and historians are calling for recognition for thousands of Australian nurses who served overseas in World War I but were not part of the official nursing deployment.
News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 5th August 2014. Read by Rebecca Foster.
At least 25 African delegates to the international AIDS conference in Melbourne last month have stayed on to seek asylum in Australia.
The delegates are staying in crisis accommodation, saying they are fleeing persecution at home.
One of the delegates from Tanzania, who did not want to be identified, said he had received death threats for his work with people with HIV and albino children in his homeland.
Albinos in Tanzania have been known to be killed in murders linked to witchcraft.
The delegate said he nearly died in March after being chased by several people as he drove home from watching a soccer match.
He said he planned to formally lodge his application for asylum later this month.
A spokesperson for Immigration Minister Scott Morrison said the Government would not discuss individual applications.
Pamela Curr, from the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) said the group whose visas had expired or were set to expire had sought advice about seeking refugee protection in Australia.
“Clearly they are delegates that come from countries where to work in the AIDS field is a life-threatening proposition,” Ms Curr said.
“It seems that some of them have been considering whether they think they can survive in their countries of origin, or whether they should try to survive by getting refugee protection in Australia.”
The CEO of crisis accommodation service HomeGround, Heather Holst, said 14 of the delegates had sought her organisation’s help to find shelter in Melbourne.
The 20th International AIDS Conference wrapped up on July 25, after five days.
Ms Curr said it was not unheard of for conference delegates to seek asylum in Australia.
The union representing Tasmania’s nurses and midwives says planned industrial action will put pressure on the system without affecting patient care.
Members of the Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANF) oppose the State Government’s plan to save $50 million a year and prevent job cuts by freezing public sector wages for a year and limiting future increases.
The federation’s secretary, Neroli Ellis, said members voted … to “remove goodwill” and stop doing unpaid administration work in hospitals from August 25.
“In the form of non-nursing duties, answering phones, organising computer entries etcetera out of hours when there’s no support services,” she said.
Ms Ellis said the government may have to hire more administration staff.
After the wage freeze, the Government wants to limit annual pay increases to 2 per cent to reduce the need for job cuts.
Health Minister Michael Ferguson said the union must understand the Government’s strategy will protect frontline services.
The State Opposition said the Government over-promised at this year’s state election.
The budget will be handed down at the end of the month.
Descendants and historians are calling for recognition for thousands of Australian nurses who served overseas in World War I but were not part of the official nursing deployment.
About 5,000 Australian nurses are thought to have taken themselves to war, even though the official number is just over 2,000.
Professor Melanie Oppenheimer from Flinders University says there were two distinct groups of Australian nurses in WWI – members of the Australian Army Nursing Service (AANS) who left “officially” and the rest.
The Australian Army Nursing Service nurses – as part of the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) – were initially sent to Egypt, then moved on to France and Belgium.
But others were already in London and made their own way to the theatres of war.
A group of 20 Australian nurses known as the Bluebirds is one example of those who fell outside the official group.
They were also called the “gifts for France” – a country reeling after losing hundreds of thousands of men at the Battle of Verdun.
The Bluebirds were organised by the Australian Red Cross and financed by the Australian Jockey Club. They were known as such because of their distinctive blue uniforms.
Professor Oppenheimer says the government of the day was frightened about too many people claiming money for their war service.
“Once they say ‘yes’ to one group, they might open the flood gates. They were very aware of not wanting to do that,” she said.
“So they stuck very closely to the line that unless you left Australia officially, we are not going to recognise your service.”
But that decision has a legacy today.
The Australian Service Nurses National Memorial in Canberra only acknowledges the nurses who served in the Australian Army Nursing Service, as does the Australian War Memorial’s Roll of Honour.
Professor Oppenheimer … says the war effort needs to be looked at more broadly.
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