Friday, 14 November 2008

Disability group: review migration laws

The Down Syndrome Association of Western Australia says the Commonwealth must review legislation which makes it hard for people with children with disabilities to migrate to Australia.

The call follows the Federal Government's decision to grant permanent residency yesterday to a Perth midwife who has a child with Down syndrome.

In the Senate yesterday the Government and the Opposition argued over whose fault it was that it took the woman several years and attempts to get the application approved.

Jan Gothard from the Down Syndrome Association of Western Australia says the delay is unacceptable and is appealing for the relevant legislation to be repealed.

"So that migration is not exempt from disability discrimination and then people with disabilities would be treated fairly within the migration process just as they should be within Australia as a whole," she said.

She says the Migration Act needs to be reviewed so it does not discriminate against people with disabilities.

"Down syndrome and many other disabilities are not health issues, they are developmental conditions or genetic conditions which don't necessarily impact on health," she said.

"I think we should look at health as a separate issue."

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