A week ago I posted What on earth is John Howard blathering about, and why? The why became crystal clear in a story in this week’s Star Observer: PM SLAMMED FOR HIV COMMENTS.
…The West Australian has reported that Liberal MP Judi Moylan has outright opposed the suggestion.
“It could cause a lot of problems if people were discriminated against on the basis of a health problem,” she told reporters.
Howard was responding to comments by Pauline Hanson, which she repeated to Sydney Star Observer this week, calling for HIV-positive immigrants to be banned.…
David Puls, a solicitor with the HIV/AIDS Legal Centre, was surprised by Howard’s lack of knowledge of the current system. “Immigration law already bars people with HIV from migration to Australia in the vast majority of cases,” he said. “In other cases there already has to be humanitarian, economic or familial benefit reasons for the grant of a visa.”
Don Baxter, executive director of the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations, said applicants had to demonstrate they wouldn’t be a burden on the health system. “But those people accepted, chiefly spouses and partners of Australian citizens, can and do contribute enormously to Australia’s benefit.”
Brent Allan, a successful residency applicant from Canada and now vice-president of NAPWA, called the process de-humanising. “Everyone with HIV gets rejected initially – that is what was so disingenuous about what Howard had to say – and then they have to apply for a health waiver,” he said.
But Allan explained the system is set up to fail people with HIV on the health cost test as well. “Unfortunately they use an antiquated equation from prior to anti-retroviral treatment which places the lifetime cost to the healthcare system at around a quarter of a million dollars,” he said. Allan said that only after two rejection letters can humanitarian grounds be considered.
“I really do think the cost of treating someone with chronic Type 1 diabetes and treating someone with HIV is comparable, but we don’t even ask someone if they’re diabetic, it’s more about the stigma of HIV,” he said.
Howard’s comments have been further criticised around the world by HIV/AIDS and humanitarian bodies.
A candlelight vigil and community protest against a ban will take place at 6pm Friday 20 April in Hyde Park North, supported by Amnesty International and the Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby.
Here is Pauline, the whole interview being linked in the story above.
…SSO Do you still believe we are in danger of being “swamped by Asians”?
PH No, we are endangered of being swamped by Muslims.
SSO What do you mean?
PH I am very concerned with the way our country is headed with the Muslims being here. I see them as a threat to our way of life. I would like to see the government stop more Muslims coming into the country.
SSO Should we ban or prevent people with HIV from coming to Australia?
PH Yes, we should.
SSO So what do you have to offer the gay community?
PH Truth and honesty. You know where you stand with me, not like the other bastards who tell you one thing and do another. Everyone has the right to a way of life. I wish everyone in the gay and lesbian community good health and happiness. I really mean it.
Make of that what you will.
Hanson Howard? How rude! He couldn’t possibly be, now could he, never ever, never ever…