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Thursday, 19 February 1987
Page: 267


Senator HARRADINE —My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs. I draw his attention to an article in today's Australian, wherein the Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs announced that acquired immune deficiency syndrome sufferers are banned from entering Australia. The article states:

. . . although there was no specific policy on AIDS, the Government's policy on infectious diseases prevented any AIDS sufferer from obtaining a visa.

Is it not a fact that AIDS is sexually transmitted and, of course, can be contracted by sharers of intravenous drug needles and syringes, and that it can be in no way compared with, for example, chicken pox or cholera? On what basis has the Government's decision been made? In any event, will the Government give humane consideration to applications for visas from AIDS sufferers who are dying and who wish to see their families?


Senator GARETH EVANS —I am not quite sure of the extent to which the brief I have answers the range of questions that Senator Harradine has put to me. I can say that the possibility of AIDS screening of entrants into Australia is under discussion with the Department of Health. A number of practical difficulties are adverted to in the brief, but as to the particular points Senator Harradine has made it might be better for me to seek a detailed reply from the Minister and to give it to the honourable senator as soon as possible, hopefully tomorrow.