Thursday, 14 June 2012

There was a story

in yesterday's paper about a London based policeman and his family who wanted to emigrate to Australia. They had been denied permission because their 26 year old daughter is "autistic". 
There was a very angry response to this on the website of the paper. About ninety percent of the responses disagreed with the decision.
This morning there is another story. The decision has been reversed.
Right. We have been there before. The last time was, I think, a decision not to allow a doctor in this state to remain because his child is also "autistic".  He was allowed to remain after his colleagues raised the money for the child's continuing treatment.
Prior to that there was a doctor in another state. His child has "Down Syndrome". The doctor was working in a country area. There is a shortage of doctors there. The community was desperate to keep their doctor.
I was talking to someone else about the decision yesterday. He has a profoundly disabled daughter who will never be able to care for herself.  His entire working life has revolved around her needs. He had to move from the public sector to the private sector just in order to remain in the city so he and his wife could access the services their daughter needs. The department he worked for was not willing to make an exception in his case. That was more than thirty years ago. He said he hoped things would be different now.
We still accept migrants who smoke or are obese through failure to eat well and exercise. Would we accept an asthmatic whose condition would dramatically improve in our climate? Probably not. Would we accept someone with a medical condition that meant they could not avoid being obese even if they were otherwise healthy? Probably not. Statistically the smoker and the obese person are more likely to require medical treatment in the future. Cancer and diabetes come to mind.
There are double standards here. I suspect all countries have double standards like this. They do not want to take in people they view as being a likely medical "burden". Their argument is that they should not be required to pay the extra medical expenses. The country of their birth can do that. That is, they say, only fair. As, it is argued, it is impossible to draw the line everyone with a disability must be denied the right to migrate and their families must also be denied that right. It is regarded as lawful discrimination. There is, apparently, nothing wrong with denying entire families opportunities because one person is different.
The difference between yesterday and today however shows that exceptions are made. The daughter of the policeman was suddenly deemed "not likely to be a burden on the community". She never was.


Anonymous said...

It was so nice to wake up to good news for a change!

Anonymous said...

I thought we had outgrown those outdated ideas about people being a "burden" on the community. Are you a "burden" on the community too Cat? No way! Chris