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Rural doctor refused residency in Australia because son has down syndrome.



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Wed, 29th October 2008 RURAL DOCTOR REFUSED RESIDENCY IN AUSTRALIA BECASUE SON HAS DOWN SYNDROME

The Hon Dr Sharman Stone MP Shadow Minister for Immigration and Citizenship

Senator Cory Bernardi Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities, Carers and the Voluntary Sector

Senator Cory Bernardi today wrote to the Minister for Immigration, Senator Chris Evans asking him to intervene and stop the Department of Immigration and Citizenship denying a German doctor permanent residency because his son has Down syndrome.

Doctor Bernhard Moeller, his wife and three children have resided in Horsham, Victoria for the past two years after answering a desperate call from the community for a physician. Dr Moeller is currently the only permanent local physician in Wimmera.

Senator Bernardi, the Coalition Spokesman for Disabilities, said it was disappointing to see that a government department did not recognise the significant contribution the family could make in Australia, including the contribution by Dr Moeller’s son who has with Down syndrome.

“Doctor Bernhard Moeller came to Australia to answer our desperate pleas for doctors in rural and regional areas. All he wants is to stay in the country his family has grown to love,” said Senator Bernardi.

“Whilst I appreciate that those with Down syndrome may have increased medical requirements, in circumstances such as this, I believe the benefits of granting the family residency outweigh the potential negatives.

The Shadow Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Dr Sharman Stone, has backed Senator Bernardi in taking the Moeller’s situation to Minister Evans.

“Australia is desperate for doctors in rural areas. Dr Moeller is known and respected in his local community and has made a home there for his family,” Dr Stone said.

“Senator Bernardi and I will be making representations to the Minister, to appeal for his intervention on this case. It’s people like Dr Moeller who have migrated to Australia in the past and have helped make this country what it is today.

“We should be welcoming Dr Moeller and his family into our country and gratefully accepting the contribution he is willing to make.”