The Guardian • Issue #2037


  • The Guardian
  • Issue #2037

Hundreds of refugees previously held by the Australian government in Papua New Guinea have written to the Home Affairs and Immigration Minister requesting urgent action to transfer sick refugees and asylum seekers, still in limbo in PNG, to Australia. There are now less than 100 refugees and asylum seekers in PNG. Letters from refugees now in Australia, US, New Zealand, PNG and France insist that Australia still has responsibility for those who have been left behind in desperate circumstances in PNG. A number of the men have such serious mental health problems that they are unable to provide intelligible information or informed consent to health providers or refugee organisations regarding their situation. Despite Labor’s policy commitment to “Improve the medical transfer process, establish an Independent Health Advice Panel to provide medical advice and maintain ministerial discretion in all decision making,” Immigration and Home Affairs have turned a deaf ear to requests for urgent medical transfers from PNG. “The Ministers’ response that Australia is no longer responsible for refugees they sent to PNG, doesn’t wash,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition, “The United Nations Committee Against Torture recently found that Australia ‘maintains legal responsibility because [the refugees and asylum seekers] remain under Australia’s effective control’. The Morrison government handed the fate of refugees to PNG as if they were livestock, but these people sought protection from Australia. PNG cannot provide them with safety and a secure future. Many of them have no third country resettlement option. Labor can’t hide behind the abuses of the previous Coalition government; they are now complicit in the mistreatment of refugees who need urgent help.”

A study has detailed the shocking toll psychological injuries have on the NSW healthcare workforce, with the rate of claims amongst nurses and midwives seeing a 150 per cent increase over the last nine years. The study, commissioned by the Healthy Lives Research Group at Monash University examined the psychological health of public health workers and the risk factors that lead to higher instances of psychological injury amongst this cohort. The report found healthcare workers and those working in the social assistance industry, comprised nearly double the number of psychological injury claims made to workers’ comp agency iCare, when compared to workers in other sectors. Psychological injuries sustained by nurses and midwives most commonly occurred within hospital settings (53 per cent) and residential care services (36 per cent) with stress and/or anxiety being the most common psychological injury. Over the study’s nine-year period, it found those working in NSW healthcare and social assistance sector had collectively lost more than 170,000 working weeks due to psychological injuries, equivalent to approximately 3.450 full-time equivalent lost working years. NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association General Secretary Shaye Candish described the report as “a damning inditement of the NSW government’s failure to invest in our healthcare workforce.”

PARASITE OF THE WEEK: in this oxymoron – 1) the underfunded health system, above and 2) this headline “Defence increases strike range with $2b ‘god of war’ rocket system”.

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