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Immigration and Border Protection

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RESIGNATION OF IMMIGRATION CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER RINGS ALARM BELLS

September 15, 2017

Peter Dutton can no longer hide the dysfunction and distress within the Department of Immigration and Border Protection following reports of the resignation of the Chief Medical Officer and Surgeon General who is responsible for overseeing healthcare and medical treatment of asylum seekers and refugees.

Labor wrote to Peter Dutton three weeks ago and is yet to receive a response to our concerns about delays in the medical transfer process for asylum seekers and refugees on Manus Island and Nauru. 

Labor has sought assurance that medical transfers will be available when required and recommended by medical experts – including women seeking reproductive health assistance and treatment for perinatal depression.

The reported resignation of the joint Chief Medical Officer and Surgeon General rings alarm bells because of the critically important role this doctor plays in ensuring medical care is provided as well as based on the best medical advice.

This development is typical of Peter Dutton's ongoing incompetence in the management of his portfolio; especially the management of offshore processing arrangements. 

How has the Immigration Minister allowed a situation where thousands of people in his care across Australia’s onshore and offshore immigration network have been left without an advocate in the Chief Medical Officer?

Under the Abbott-Turnbull Government, morale has collapsed within the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, the Australian National Audit Office has released multiple scathing reports critical of departmental processes, and asylum seekers and refugees have been left to languish on Manus Island and Nauru for four years with no other viable third country resettlement options being negotiated.

Peter Dutton needs to get his house in order and guarantee asylum seekers and immigration detainee’s capacity to access medical treatment will not suffer as a result of his incompetence to manage his own Department.

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