Last minute plea: Don’t deport only carer of 92-year-old woman

Friday 5th March, 2010

Health experts and unions including the Australian Nursing Federation, ACTU and a number of doctors are calling on Minister Chris Evans to halt the deportation of an elderly man, Edward Joseph, at 5pm this afternoon.

“He is the only person caring for his mother who is 92-years-old and relies heavily on him. Taking away her carer and loved one will put both her mental and physical health in jeopardy,” said Lisa Fitzpatrick, Secretary at the ANF Vic Branch.

“This deportation will have extremely adverse consequences for the woman and her elderly son who is in his 60s.”

“She will need to leave the country she calls home, Australia, and move to Sri Lanka, a trip she may not survive. Or, left here without his care, she will be put onto the hospital system which would be a significant cost to tax payers and be very stressful for her.”

Murray Gerkens, Edward’s Pro Bono lawyer said “the final decision was made without regard to the fact that there were new facts and circumstances in that Edward’s mother recently became a permanent resident of Australia who has expressed her desire to remain here but cannot do so because she does not have the financial means to afford appropriate aged care and the only person who can care for her is her son.”

“This situation is extremely distressing for those involved but it is not too late. We are calling on Minister Evans to halt this deportation which is scheduled for 5pm today.”

Dr Mary Davison a psychiatrist specialising in mental health for the elderly at the asylum seekers recourse centre (ASRC) said “I have serious concerns for her mental health if her primary carer were to be deported.”

Doctor Ralph Weiner has been a GP to the family for 14 years. He said, “It’s absurd that she is being deported by de facto because if he goes then she will need to go too. He cares for her on a daily basis including administrating medication. Her only other option will be to go to a nursing home but why should she have to?”