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The intruders : refugee doctors in Australia

CollectionsANU Press Titles (1965-1991)
Title: The intruders : refugee doctors in Australia
Author(s): Kunz, Egon F
Date published: 1975
Publisher: Canberra : Australian National University Press
Among the thousands of European refugees who arrived in Australia between 1947 and 1954 as immigrants assisted by the Australian Government were many highly qualified professionals. These included a number of doctors, whose fate is the subject of this book. Misled by information given them in Europe, the majority of these men and women arrived expecting to continue their careers. But, faced with the implacable op position of the Australian Medical Association and the indifference of the authorities, they found it impossible to obtain registration and most were forced to take jobs as hospital orderlies, cleaners, factory hands or labourers. This book examines the factors that led to the situation where, when there was an urgent need for medical practitioners in Australia, these qualified people were denied the opportunity of using their skills. The AMA emerges as the main obstruction in this affair but there is little to be said for the State and Commonwealth governments. The latter in particular, though quick to take advantage of the skills of these doctors in New Guinea and Antarctica, where Australian doctors were reluctant to go, did nothing to assist them to resume their careers in the mainland territories over which it had control. Though eventually most refugee doctors were able to obtain registration in Australia, for some it came too late and the wasted years and loss of skill represented a great deprivation, both to the doctors and to Australian society. This book is an indictment of the short-sightedness of those who could have helped to avoid this waste of talent.


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