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  1. 1

    Ian Haywood

    Dr. Lunz: Section 19AB imposes a ten-year moratorium on overseas-trained doctors. This means OTDs have a choice: they can work privately in an “area of need” (rural, remote, outer suburban, and urban areas out-of-hours), or they can work in the public system anywhere in Australia.
    Australian graduates since 1996 have the second option only, until full specialist training is completed, then we can work anywhere, but the training often takes the best part of 10 years anyway, so it’s not such a big advantage.
    So I agree their is discrimination, but it is complex and doesn’t always favour the locals. OTDs can do rural private work before completing postgraduate training as above, also OTDs can (in some specialties) obtain hospital consultant posts with lesser qualifications than locals.

  2. 2

    Jonny Levy

    Dear Ian,

    s19AB discriminates based on place of birth. This is simply legally/morally wrong.

    Once overseas-born doctors have attained the required qualifications or experience in Australia why should we be treated differently to our peers – from whom we are professionally indistinguishable?

    In addition to this, in purely pragmatic terms, the policy of using overseas-born doctors to shoulder rural/remote work has not worked well at all. It is time to change.

    Australian graduates train and then have freedom to be employed anywhere of their choosing.

    Foreign graduates train, prove their standards and are then heavily restricted for a quarter or more of their remaining career. Ironically, this is true of Australian trained foreign medical students who – in addition to the moratorium – are now placed last on the list for intern jobs!

    All of this is quite wrong and the silence of my peers over years is pretty poor show.


  3. 3

    ron batagol

    Re: Broadband for all, including rural areas:

    Interesting post by Sean Kaye, a senior Australian IT executive. It first appeared on his personal blog, Sean on IT, in response to an article in iWire 23/8/10, entitled NBN where do we go from here?

    Kaye says : “I do think that the majority of Australians want a strong National Broadband Network. I think we can infer that the majority of Australians want this network to close the gap between rural and urban Australians in terms of technology availability. That said, I don’t think the majority of people want the Labor Party’s NBN either. ”

    His detailed comments are worth a read, and can be found at

    His key points are:

    •If you’re going to be a bear, be a grizzly: We may as well aim for Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH). Effectively though, NBN Co needs to rapidly deliver Fibre-to-the-Node (FTTN) and through tax policy and legislation, the last mile should be the responsibility of customers and the private sector
    •Continue with the plan to nationalise the Telstra copper network, open up the exchanges and pay them the $11 billion or whatever was agreed in the Heads of Agreement
    •We establish some Universal Service Obligations that work for both rural centres and remote regions of the country that commit us to delivering them great broadband services now and into the future
    •Instigate an immediate strategy to fibre up every single school, hospital, regional health facility and GP Super Clinic in the country within the next three years
    •Deliver a business plan for NBN Co which is publicly available, takes into account the new requirements and is tabled before the end of the year.

    -Interesting stuff!

    My comments on all of that are that, frankly, I think that whichever Party gets the “nod” from the Indpendents to govern, the expensive NBN put up by Labor is fraught with potential waste and incompetence, and will most likely be “amended” into a more practical public/private ( Telsta) mix of design and constuction. ( hey- you really think they could organise it NBN anyway as it now is, remebering the inflammable home ceilings & million dollar school tuckshops debacles!).

    Sean Kaye’s suggestions make sense and in the long run everyone would be a winner!

    Ron Batagol

  4. 4


    The 10-year moratorium is ridiculous and needs to be scrapped.The College of GPs in Australia is a band of clowns, frankly.A colleague of mine, aussie born and bred, trained in New Zealand for a while.She was not given full registration as GP from the College and made to jump through the rural program.That’s an australian citizen, folks.I’m not kidding.

    As to rural health and broadband, yes, broadband in Australia is ridiculously slow, but do not expect the Internet to fix the problem of lack of rural GPs.Nurse on call is an example of how and why medicine over the phone or a computer is never going to work, don’t waste any more money on a similar misconception.

  5. 5

    Jonny Levy


    Yesterday I was accepted as an Australian Citizen.

    I am as Australian as my Australian-born colleagues, the governor-general and in the same position as Julia Gillard & Tony Abbott…….but I cannot freely choose my place of work.

    Is this the equality of citizenship?


  6. 6


    Is this the equality of citizenship?

    I think it is justified to differentiate between australian-trained and overseas-trained, acquired citizenship doesn’t change where you got your initial medical degree.And I say that as an OTD.But once you have shown equal knowledge and skill by sitting the equivalent australian exam, there is no justification at all to send you off to the Simpson Desert for 5 years, or refuse you access to medicare benefits for 10.

  7. 7

    Jonny Levy

    I do not even think that differentiation is justified based on location of undergraduate degree. This is for two reasons.

    1) The reality is that differentiation is being made on place of birth – inside or outside Australia. It is unreasonable to expect an 18 yo to up sticks from their home and move to Australia to study (even if that were logistically and financially possible).
    The simple fact is that 99.9% of people gain tertiary degrees in their place of birth. Therefore: discrimination based on place of undergraduate degree = discrimination based on place of birth….thus contravening s10 of the Racial Discrimination Act.

    2) My undergraduate degree was from Imperial College – which ranks as the 6th highest university in the world on The Times international university rankings. The highest Australian university is in 16th place.
    This shouldn’t become a ‘pissing contest’ – but, if it has become so, the quality of my undergraduate degree outstrips the local degrees!
    Why, then, should I be subject to restrictive conditions based on the location of my undergraduate degree.

    It is simple to use WHO medical school lists & evaluations of international supervision of medical schools to compile a list of undergraduate degrees that are directly equivalent to Australian ones. This has actually happened in New Zealand already, as of 2010.

    It does not take a genius to realise that the UK system is directly equivalent to the Aussie one (indeed the system here was based on the UK medical education system)!

    The dropping of the AMC exam for UK graduates is a tacit acknowledgement of that fact.


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