Australia evicts German doctor over disabled son

31st October 2008, Comments 0 comments

Doctor: 'I'm really disappointed that the government encourages people to come here and fill the gaps and then say our son is a burden for the society.'

Sydney -- A German doctor serving in a country town has been told to leave Australia due to the financial burden his 13 year old son, who suffers from Down syndrome, may cost the state.

Bernard Moeller, the only doctor at a small hospital in rural Victoria, has been on a temporary visa since arriving in 2005 and had hoped to gain citizenship and make a new life in Australia with his wife and child.

"I'm really disappointed that the government encourages people to come here and fill the gaps and then say our son is a burden for the society," Moeller said Friday. "That's really disappointing, saddening and unfair because I'm dong a lot for the Australian community and I'm happy to do that."

Moeller's application for permanent residency has been denied, the Immigration Department says, because Lukas Moeller, who was born with Down syndrome, will become a "significant and ongoing cost to the Australian community."

Chief executive of the non-profit organization Down Syndrome Victoria Catherine McAlpine said the department had discriminated against Lukas.

"The department's assessment appears to be based on archaic notions of intellectual disability rather than a comprehensive individualized assessment process," she said.

She also added, "The department also appears to have focused only on potential costs and taken no account of the contribution this young man and his family will make to the community."

DPA/Expatica

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