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Aug 19, 2009

Inquiry on disability, health and our migration laws (after nine months gestation)

A public and political outcry in November last year, regarding a Doc

A public and political outcry in November last year, regarding a Doctor being  denied Australian permanent residency because his son had Down Syndrome, led to the Immigration Minister, Chris Evans, announcing a Parliamentary inquiry into the health requirements in the Migration Act.

Nearly six months later, on May 15 this year, the terms of reference for that inquiry were released by the Minister and Bill Shorten, the Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities.

After a further three months, the Parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on Migration has now announced the formal launching of the inquiry, with basically the same terms of reference as previously released.

It’s taken a while to get underway, but the inquiry has the potential to devise some worthwhile reforms to our migration law and processes. This issue is an easy one to raise populist concerns about individual cases.  However, it is far from easy to define criteria which will consistently and fairly balance the competing issues involved.

Which makes it a good one for a Parliamentary Committee to inquire into, as it should produce richer and deeper details about the impacts and administration of the current rules, the costs to individuals, families and governments and – hopefully – a better and fairer law at the end of all.

The Committee is receiving public submissions until the 28th of October.

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