Dutton misleads on his role in protecting public health

Peter Dutton denies his function in protecting Australia from the public well being dangers of COVID-19 – these kinds of as the Ruby Princess debacle —but the Migration Act claims otherwise, writes Abul Rizvi.

IN A REPORT in the New Every day Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said: 

‘“The recommendation by you that there is been wrongdoing by the Australian Border Pressure is completely incorrect… [the ABF] does not have a job in relation to clearing people on health and fitness grounds.”

This is extremely deceptive.

The Migration Act has extensive powers in terms of the health and fitness necessity, together with in terms of communicable diseases. His Division does have medical professionals on its staff members, albeit not stationed at airports and seaports.

It has a group of physicians on its staff in Australia. In addition, in 2007, the Department had appointed over 3,600 abroad healthcare health professionals and radiologists to undertake healthcare exams. It is most likely this number these days is substantially larger.

In a 2007 report, the Auditor-Common indicated:

Inside the visa system, health and fitness risks are managed according to the health necessity of the Migration Act 1958 and the Migration Restrictions 1994. The well being needs (also named the well being conditions) is a rather small but critical ingredient of DIAC’s broader remit for border control.


The intent of the wellness prerequisite is to:

  • guard the community from general public well being risks
  • incorporate general public expenditure on health care and group expert services and
  • safeguard Australians’ access to health products and services in brief source.

In phrases of community health, the primary concentrate is on ensuring visa candidates and arrivals are no cost of tuberculosis. But the Auditor-General’s report of 2007 states visa candidates and holders must also be

‘…absolutely free from a ailment or affliction that would result in a danger to general public overall health or a threat to the Australian local community.’

It is open up to the Minister to incorporate any other disorders as remaining a danger to general public health. In the earlier, ailments these as Hepatitis B and HIV have been recognized centered on tips from the Department of Wellbeing.

The extent to which COVID-19 has been provided for this purpose continues to be a thriller, specified Peter Dutton’s deflecting responses to issues on this situation.

Whilst Dutton continues to argue he has no part in guarding Australia from the public overall health challenges of COVID-19, the simple fact he has legal powers and obligations in this regard is there in black and white in the Migration Act and regulations.

It is time Peter Dutton points out why he has not utilised the intensive powers he has to guard Australians from the community health and fitness pitfalls of COVID-19.

Abul Rizvi is an Unbiased Australia columnist and a former Deputy Secretary of the Section of Immigration, presently enterprise a PhD on Australia’s immigration guidelines. You can stick to Abul on Twitter @RizviAbul.

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China accuses Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton of parroting US in ‘propaganda war’ over coronavirus origins


April 22, 2020 00:21:05

The Chinese embassy in Canberra has accused Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton of being a mouthpiece for the United States, in a withering criticism describing calls by Australian politicians for greater scrutiny of China’s handling of the coronavirus crisis as “pitiful”.

Key points:

  • Peter Dutton had called for China to be more “transparent” about the COVID-19 pandemic, joining a chorus of officials
  • Chinese authorities said “certain Australian politicians are keen to parrot what Americans have asserted”
  • A spokesperson for the country’s embassy in Canberra said this exposes the former’s “ignorance and bigotry”

In an interview last week, Mr Dutton cited US State Department comments it had “documentation” showing how the virus had spread — but noted he had not seen the documents referred to by officials.

The Home Affairs Minister joined the chorus of officials demanding China be more “transparent” about the COVID-19 pandemic, arguing the families of the dozens of Australians who had died after being infected deserved answers.

“I don’t think it’s too much to ask — it would certainly be demanded of us, if Australia was at the epicentre of this virus making its way into society,” Mr Dutton told the Nine Network.

“I think it is incumbent upon China to answer those questions and provide the information, so that people can have clarity about exactly what happened because we don’t want it to be repeated.

“And, we know that this is not the first instance of a virus being spread from the wildlife wet markets and we need to be honest about that.”

Mr Dutton was himself hospitalised with coronavirus in March.

Chinese officials have now hit back, taking aim at Mr Dutton for making such claims, especially after Mr Dutton conceded he had not seen the US Government’s evidence.

A spokesperson for the Chinese embassy in Canberra made the comments in response to a question from the Global Times, a Chinese state media outlet known for taking a hardline in response to criticism of Beijing.

“What’s puzzling is without having seen the documentation, why he can’t wait to ask China to be ‘more transparent’?” the spokesperson said.

“Obviously he must have also received some instructions from Washington requiring him to cooperate with the US in its propaganda war against China.

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“It is well known that recently some people in the US including high level officials have been spreading anti-China ‘information virus’. Their aim is to shift blame and deflect attention by smearing China.”

The embassy argued it was indicative of a broader issue.

“These days, certain Australian politicians are keen to parrot what those Americans have asserted and simply follow them in staging political attacks on China,” the spokesperson said.

Your questions on coronavirus answered:

“This fully exposes the former’s ignorance and bigotry as well as their lack of independence in serving orders from others, which is pitiful.”

Over the weekend, Foreign Minister Marise Payne’s backing of an inquiry into the coronavirus crisis was also hit with a stern rebuke by Chinese officials, who argued her comments were “not based on facts”.

What the experts are saying about coronavirus:

More than 2.4 million people worldwide have been now been infected with COVID-19, and more than 160,000 people have died from the virus.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says the source remains unknown but “all available evidence” suggests it has a natural animal origin and “most probably had its ecological reservoir in bats”.

The coronavirus was first identified in humans in Wuhan, China last December.

The United Nations health body said it was still not possible to categorically state how the first people caught it.

“At this stage, it is not possible to determine precisely how humans in China were initially infected with SARS-CoV-2,” a statement on the WHO website read.

What you need to know about coronavirus:

















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