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Government's backdown on doctors' Border Force gag

Media Release
Nick McKim 20 Oct 2016

The Greens have welcomed the removal of the Border Force Act gag on doctors, but have called for it to be removed from all other detention centre workers and contractors.

"This is a humiliating backdown by the Government and an admission that all departmental workers and contractors were in fact gagged by Section 42 of the Border Force Act," Australian Greens Leader Senator Richard Di Natale said.

"This gives the lie to the government's claim that workers and contractors are protected as whistle-blowers."

"As a doctor it is a fundamental part of my job - and an ethical requirement - to be able to advocate for the best interests and outcomes of my patients, wherever they are."

"This was the only piece of legislation which gagged doctors in this way."

"It is disgraceful that the threat of 2 years imprisonment for speaking out about abuse still remains for all other detention centre workers."

Senator Nick McKim said the government is still determined to keep secret the abuse and deliberate cruelty of Australia's offshore detention regime.

"This is unconscionable legislation which was waved through by Labor, and clearly the gag has only been removed from health professionals due to the High Court challenge mounted by Doctors for Refugees," Senator McKim said.

"We’re pleased that health professionals have been released from the gag but it is unacceptable that the Government continues to gag education professionals, child protection workers, social workers and all other workers and contractors on the ground."

"Recent reports from 4 Corners, the United Nations and Amnesty International have shed real light on what the Government is trying to hide - the atrocities of successive governments treatment of people in offshore detention."

"Because of their relationship with children, teachers are in a unique position to recognise signs and symptoms of child abuse and their continued gagging is unconscionable."  

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