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Down syndrome not an illness.



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MEDIA RELEASE

Senator Sue Boyce Queensland

Electorate Office: Level 9, 301 Coronation Drive, Milton, Qld

Telephone: (07) 3510 3100 Facsimile: (07) 3510 3111

MEDIA RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 10 NOVEMBER 2008

Down syndrome not an illness

The Rudd Government has an outdated view of Down syndrome, treating it as an illness, according to Senator Sue Boyce, Senator for Queensland.

In a question to the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship in the Senate today, Senator Boyce asked about the Dr Moeller visa case.

In his reply, the Minister, Senator Chris Evans, said that Dr Moeller’s visa application was rejected, because of a failed medical because his son had Down syndrome.

Senator Boyce said she agreed with the Minister that "we have to protect the Australian community from public health and safety risks”.

“But people with Down syndrome are not 'ill'. They generally have some degree of intellectual disability, but there are no other hard and fast rules.

"The Government is using the outdated Medical Model definition of Down syndrome which is prejudiced against people with Down syndrome,” Senator Boyce said.

"There are a number of families with healthy children with Down syndrome who are forced out of Australia by this archaic approach every year. I'm aware of four other families who have been affected," Senator Boyce said.

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Media contact: Yasmin Khan on 0419 025 510 or (07) 3510 3100