THE Immigration Department's decision not to allow a Wimmera doctor permanent residency because he has a Down syndrome son who will be a "burden" on the community, smacks of the Nazi description of people with disability as "useless eaters". Have we descended to this in our economic rationalist, consumer, materialist world?
I am a person with a disability who works in paid employment and who does massive amounts of voluntary work in the arts and disability. I give much in the way of friendship and fun in my social circle. I work with Downs people who are great contributors to the common good. Am I a burden? Are they?
This is symptomatic of the purely economic value by which the bean counters judge things, and the harsh immigration approach taken under the former government. Despite advances, there is still a dark-ages, discriminatory underbelly in regard to disability.
HOW ASHAMED I am to be an Australian. We have refused permanent residency to a doctor and his family who have been prepared to move to regional Victoria in the service of the community, because the family has a child with Down syndrome. In a week in which our nation prides itself on the fact that it stops for a horse race in which millions of dollars are spent, we refuse to accept a family because their child may require extra medical care. What kind of a nation have we become?
Frances Baker, Moonee Ponds
I AM NOT sure if the Immigration Department is aware, but the Liberal Party lost the election and the community expects a greater degree of compassion and respect in the decision-making of Government. Millions of dollars are spent enticing skilled migration and tourism to our country and a single decision wipes out all goodwill that is achieved. The only saving grace is the attitude of the Moellers, who still want to reside in Australia and see a clear difference between the Government and the community.