Thinking about coming to Australia?

Discussion in 'Australian Medical Council (AMC) EXAM' started by An immigrant doc, Aug 11, 2007.

  1. Hi Everyone:

    There are a lot of questions and opinions posted on this site. Time for a new forum and leave this one just for the MCQ?

    I am just going to give my perspective here. Maybe it will help someone decide whether to come to Australia.

    1. Why Australia for you?

    Oz is not a bad place to live. It's pretty safe and clean. But it can also be quite boring. If you come here, you are uprooting yourself, saying goodbye to your family and friends, to a strange country where people speak a different language and have no appreciation of who you are, and, unfortunately, the undercurrent of racism is still quite strong here. However, you can strike it lucky and make some good friends here. Most Aussies are simple people, but they are generally stand-offish.

    The pay for doctors is not bad compared with most of the world, but there are many other western countries that pay doctors better. Even some developing countries pay doctors better than here. So forget about making a giant fortune. You will be very comfortable as a doctor in Australia financially, but life will not be extravagant. If you want to be a gazillionaire working as a doctor, then you'll need to fight to get into a surgical specialty (see later).

    The working environment here is quite different from many parts of the world. In many places, the doctor is god, and patients shut up and listen. Here, it's the other way around. The patient expectation is very high here (not as high as the USA thank goodness). A lot of it depends on your interpersonal abilities. If you speak English very well without much accent, can build relationships very easily with patients, and have strong medical knowledge, it's not bad. However, many overseas-trained doctors fail miserably because they have no interpersonal skills. Aussies are very intolerant of other English accents - even Kiwi accents! Ask yourself if you are the kind of person who can put up with spending two hours with an anxious patient to consent for a minor operation. If you are not, think again about coming here.

    Career-wise, I can guarantee right here and then, that your career will suffer a setback for years. (Unless you are invited here as a postgraduate fellow or specialist, which is a totally different story). See later regarding training.

    So coming to Australia? I suggest you talk to as many people as you can before jumping on the boat. There are more than 3,000 overseas-trained doctors working in Australia. Obviously there will be some success stories and some disasters. It's not for everyone. So always find out more before you go.

    2. Demand for Overseas-Trained Doctors in Australia

    If you are a recent medical graduate, you have until NEXT YEAR to come to Australia, pass some parts of the AMC and get general registration. The reason for this is the federal government has set up a huge number of new medical schools in every little town that has a service station and a pub, basically due to a political demand. The result is that in 2009, DOUBLE the number of medcal graduate will come out of Australian medical schools, and by 2012 the number will more than TRIPLE. What this means is the Australian system can't even absorb the new "tsunami" of graduates and offer them qualit internships, and we will probably be an exporter of medical graduates rather than importer. So if you are a recent graduate with little experience and you desperately want to come to Australia, NOW is the time to come. The gate will be forever shut afterwards. They are already talking about cancelling contracts of OTDs who don't have the AMC exams and general registration.

    If you are a registrar or specialist level doctor overseas, then you have more time until the tsunami of Australian graduates becomes more senior.

    Of course, if you are a GP and want to go out to wop wop (Australian word for middle of nowhere out in the country) to fill an "Area-of-Need" job, they will always take you with both hands. Every state medical board will give you registration on the spot. The problem is, why would you want to go out there when Australians themselves would rather die or fly overseas? These are isolated little towns somewhere in the dust bowl, with little clinical support, no educational opportunities, no chance for specialist training, nothing. Imaging yourself sitting there, having to deal with multi-trauma, obstetric emergencies, paedatric emergencies, and everything else that comes through the door. You make one mistake and one patient complains, you lose your registration from the medical board. You are on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, with no break, no holidays, little sleep. Not many people last long in this sort of job. But there are plenty of this kind of jobs going around if you are interested. Just ask anyone.

    An additional complication is the UK's Foundation Program and "Modernising Medical Career". It's such a big disaster there that there could be a huge exodus of UK junior doctors to Australia. Of course, they will be taken preferrentially over someone whose English is a second language and has not got white skin. We will still have to wait to see if the flood eventuates.

    3. Exams

    An oddity, but true. The AMC exam is TOTALLY UNNECESSARY to get a job as a doctor in Australia. I find this very odd as how can you guarantee the quality of doctors coming in, even though the AMC exam is by no means perfect? But desperation for doctors in the "Area of Need" positions means you can go for years without even thinking about it. In the hospitals, it depends on how desperate they are. My feeling is they will become a lot less deperate because of the tsunami of Australian medical graduates.

    So if you get into the system and plan to spend more than 2-3 years here, it's worth thinking about passing the AMC. If you want to migrate, the AMC is a must.

    The AMC exams are tough but not impossible. If you are smart and willing to spend time studying lots and lots, you will pass. A note of caution - it's great to have lots of old MCQ questions from the website. However, they only indicate the KIND of questions you will be asked. They hardly ever repeat a question, and when they do, they change one or two words in the question so the correct answer it totally different. Therefore, use the questions on the website as a guide only. There is no substitute for solid knowledge.

    The clinical exam is very cultural. You need to have very broad medical knowledge, but the interpersonal aspect of interacting with the patient, as well as the exam techniques to pass a viva, are more important. But with practice, all can be overcome. It's just a show.

    4. Specialty training

    In Australia, specialty training is generally competitive. With the new tsunami of medical graduates coming, the specialist colleges have done very little to open new training positions. So getting into specialty training (including GP) will be harder and harder.

    The difficulty of getting into specialty training is directly related to income. In Australia, procedurist are the multi-millionaires, so anything to do with procedure earns lots of money. That's why in specialties such as surgery and ophthalmology, you can forget about it as overseas-trained doctors. Racism is deeply entrenched in the medical hierarchy. In fact, even a white Australian graduate has little hope of getting into ophthalmology if his father is not an ophthalmologist. Just look at the surnames of ophthalmolgists. Nepotism is the word. The same goes for popular internal medicine subspecialties such as gastroenterology and cardiology. If you don't have the right surname, it's tough. Forget about these popular specialties if you dream of specialising in them. Better off doing it at home.

    In some less popular specialties, anyone half-decent can still get in without much trouble. These include pathology, psychiatry, medical administration, public health, sexual health, etc. So if you are interested in one of these, you still have a future, although I don't know what will happen when the "tsunami" of medical graduates hits us. My feeling is they will probably all be swallowed up in 3-4 years' time.

    So do you think you can come here to get into a good specialty for training and career advancement? Think again. Think again. Australia uses OTDs for labour and pays little regards to their development, welfare, training, etc. But there are exceptions. Sometimes people do get through. They are the rarity rather than the norm.

    5. Where to work?

    This is a very difficult question, and there is no right answer.

    I have been in hospitals where the majority of doctors are OTDs. Some places treat them well, give them lots of help in passing exams and mentorship for furuture development. Some places treat them absolutely miserably. They are chucked into jobs no one else wants with no support or supervision, basically set up to fail. I have seen a young Pakistani doc, the day after arriving in Australia, thrown into a rehab ward with 40 80+-year-olds, each with five pages of medications, with NO CONSULTANT AND NO REGISTRAR. He killed a couple of them. Lucky they were old anyways. A Phillipino girl was thrown into two months of night ward-call the day after she arrived in Australia, of course again without any type of orientation and supervision. It's just appalling.

    Don't think the major tertiary hospitals are heavens. They can have grossly excessive workload. And their super subspecialisation and impersonal nature may not be so good for passing exams. Because they are staffed mostly by Australian-trained doctors, they are normally unsympathetic to the needs of OTDs.

    The suburban and regional hospitals vary a lot in quality and support for OTDs.

    In the Area-of-Need positions, the support is extremely variable again. You maybe ver lucky in a town with 3-4 others who work really well as a team, share the on-call and do not hesitate in supporting you. Or you can end up in a one-doctor town where you are it, good luck.

    The gist of the story is: ASK before you jump. Check out the place that give you an offer. Ask for statistics. Ask for rosters. Ask them what support they have for you. And most importantly, ASK to talk to the OTDs on the ground there.


    So does Australia still appeal to you? Is it the right thing to do? There is no exact right answers, and everyone is different. There are more than 3,000 OTDs working here. Some love it, some hate it. Some find it enjoyable and have no problem fitting into the system and society, and some struggle a great deal. Occassionally there are big disasters.

    I hope this information/opinion help people a bit.

    An immigrant, and proud of it.
  2. Galileo

    Galileo Guest

    A non immigrant doc & not so proud about it:real horror

    I think you have given a fair perspective of the picture.

    My background is Asian, non white, non Indian. I qualified in medicine from a prestigious UK university, am a Fellow of a British College and hold GMC Specialist Registration and came to Oz in 2003 from a UK locum consultant post under a 422 Visa in an AON programme as a specialist in a Regional hospital. My speciality is a non procedural one.

    When a local Ozzie qualified, she "eased me out" using a political move by getting the DMS to express concerns about me. This misinformation led the College to postpone my recognition and required a transfer to a Metropolitan hospital for another 6 months.

    This is near impossible as no metropolitan hospital will employ a specialist without a provider number or an Australian fellowship: I was given 5 years to achieve this after which "the College will have the right to impose new conditions"

    I obtained good support from the AMA for this injustice but the pay off midway through the contract was only 3 months instead of the full contract.

    I put up my hand and volunteered for a part time paid post but did full time and following some haggling with DIMIA, obtained a 457 visa and completed the 6 months. The Medical Board then immediately cancelled my registration - as I had completed my requirements - and, this was in a state desperate for doctors.

    The College still imposed caveats on my specialist recognition and caused me numerous problems with registration in another state....I obtained conditional specialist registration in NSW without conditions but the College continued to disturb me and disclosed my difficulties with them to my employer. I appealed and after 3 months a new committee completely threw out the caveats imposed by the Censor.

    By that time, the damage was already done.

    My employer, a regional hospital, gave me a one year contract with a variable part time/full time involvement as a Level 1 Staff Specialist (few OTDs would know exactly what this meant) and seconded me to a privatised clinic without my knowledge or consent.

    Within several weeks, Medicare Australia rang me to caution me regarding 'defrauding the system' When I brought this up with my employer, the manager ordered 'disciplinary action' against me.

    I received no warning letter about 'concerns' expressed about me and after 8 weeks from the start, I was suddenly suspended and an investigation launched against me.

    My case was reported to the Medical Board as a 'high risk' concern not unlike that of Dr J Patel's case.

    I was left high and dry to defend my case as the AMA/ASMOF policy was not to assist with cases which are reported to the Medical Board. My legal bill has exceed AUD 50K and I am still repaying it.

    To cut a long story short, there were 30 odd published allegations against me, with 28 by the CNC. All but 3 allegations were substantiated. Those substantiated were related to

    1. A post anaesthetic case where I was accused of having poor communication with a pt !

    2. Two other consultation cases also related to poor communication and poor judgment

    The report also described gross dysfunction in the privatised unit. It also raised a possibility that I was paranoid and mentally impaired!!!

    Meanwhile, Medicare Australia bulk billing reconciliation statements revealed irregularities of fraudulent claims.

    Also, because of the inconsistent work hours given to me, I had complained to DIMIA and my 457 Visa was cancelled. I did not renew my medical Registration.

    After I filed the response to the investigative report, my contract was terminated as I did not possess registration (in response to no right of work)

    My Solicitor who initially did a good job in drafting my response, took the case to Industrial Court and despite reconciliation attempts, did not work. A hearing led to a determination that I was not dismissed and that I had myself ended the contract by not maintaining my registration.

    If I had done so, I would be the subject of a Performance Inquiry which would most certainly have led to further conditions being imposed on my registration.

    Meanwhile, I rang 3 patients whose "complaints" had been "substantiated" to genuinely apologise BUT to my surprised realised from them that they had NOT complained about me but that the allegations had been falsified.

    Two gave me Statutory Declarations and I made a report to state Police. They have asked the Complaints Commission to completely review the matter (This is a statutory body which is above the Medical Board) and to refer it back to the Police if they found it appropriate.

    The case is ongoing with my having been nearly bankrupt with no employment, no certificate of good standing to move on and a huge legal bill. Medicare and the Director General of Health's office continue to inquire into the matter.

    I had to leave the country to seek employment elsewhere where I had maintained my registration. I am just recovering but as my family had settled down to study, I left them there - under International Student Visas.

    The Shadow Minister of Health recently expressed grave concerns this has happened to an OTD who was vulnerable. It was promised that the Health Minister will be asked to look into it. I am not sure whether this interest is related to opportunities in gaining some political mileage in the forthcoming elections.

    The other side is trying hard to divert attention from its alleged malpractice of alleged fraud using an OTD's Specialist Provider number to cost shift from the State to the Commonwealth (Federal) Govt.

    This short stay of 4 years in Australia has been the most traumatic in my professional and personal life. Unlike our friend the Immigrant, I did not succeed in staying in Australia although I did succeed in getting recognised as a specialist.

    Be warned. There are many ingrained racists. I came with an open mind that Australia is not racist. I have found that racism is prevalent and tolerated. There are also some very nice non racist people. But, you would not find out till you are stung. And, when you come in, they make it a point to make you vulnerable to all sorts of issues.

    Dr Haneef's case was the worst but at least he had publicity and some public support: mine has been covered up all along the way.

    I also know of another non white doctor from South Africa in my same place of work who suffered a similar fate: his case was publicised in the National Press and his name was removed from the Medical Register: when they found out that they had acted on misinformation, there was no apology but just a simple invitation for him to reregister to work under supervision in an approved hospital.

    He did not, registered as a teacher (he was a trained teacher) and earned his keep that way. He has since made plans to return to South Africa.

    Galileo
  3. Galileo

    Galileo Guest

    Addendum

    I forgot to inform that the Specialist Professor who assisted the HR Consultant Lead Investigator wrote that "he was well informed in his speciality and in some cases discussed, 'demonstrated commendable thoroughness"

    He has since agreed to be a referee for me!! So, you can conclude for yourselves what political game was being played out.

    G
  4. Woof

    Woof Guest

    Horrific@!

    Which was the Specialist College and which State?
  5. paracelcus

    paracelcus Guest

    My guess

    My guess that it is the RACP and the state either QLD or NSW

    P, reincarnated
  6. Galileo

    Galileo Guest

    Answers

    College: Royal Australasian College of Physicians
    State: NSW
  7. Galileo

    Galileo Guest

    ERRATUM

    "....To cut a long story short, there were 30 odd published allegations against me, with 28 by the CNC. All but 3 allegations were substantiated. Those substantiated were related to "


    should read: All but 3 allegations were UNSUBSTANTIATED,,,



    G
  8. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Dear Galileo
    Sorry to hear your story & all the hard time you & your family are going thru.
    I think most of the ozzies are racist who just want to see OTDs doing all small time jobs which are rejected by locals . These jobs are mostly high stress , intense work with poor support.
    When they see a OTD rising in career ladder , they start getting jealous & want to create all barricades against them.
    I wish you well & May God grant you all the support & blessing in your future endeavours.
    Can I know what speciality of Medicine you worked in ?
    Was it an AON position ?
    Good luck - drmatt
  9. Woof

    Woof Guest

    Answers in Galileo's post

    Matt matey,

    The answers are in Galileo's long post: Internal Medicine is the specialty, probably a subspecialty. It was AON to begin with....and transferred to a Metropolitan hospital for extra time...

    Are you in Oz or planning to come?

    Woof
  10. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Dear Woof / Galileo
    Thanks for ur post.
    Is it possile to get your contact number or email ?
    Will discuss a few issues
    Bye for now - Matt
  11. Galileo

    Galileo Guest

    Contact

    Dr Matt,

    I do not know you. You may be from an Australian authority which does to doctors what was done to Dr Haneef and Dr Ali.

    It would be suicide for me to disclose to you my ID or contact! I live outside Australia now but am happy for you to communicate with me via skype. I will create a skype address for this: it is Galileo290100

    When you ask me to validate you mention this forum. There will be some sort of non transparency in ID.

    I do not think Woof will do the same either. We are in an all India platform which Ozzies cannot get information from using their laws.

    Cheers

    G
  12. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Prediction

    I predict that Galileo's case will soon find its way into the press: whether or not it is good for him.

    Again, selective quoting will be used by Australian authorities to put him maximally in bad light.

    I pray and hope it will not further damage Galileo's already killed reputation. Sorry I have to say that Galileo: I hope I am very wrong.

    Nostradamus
  13. Woof

    Woof Guest

  14. Galileo

    Galileo Guest

    Gosh

    Look at this!

    http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/new...t-doctor-sacked/2007/08/24/1187462497205.html

    Well, in my case, I complained to DIMIA about my past employer and they cancelled my 457 visa based on my employer having breached the conditions. When I left Australia, the Australian Police gave me a clean National Police Certificate.

    This is the difference. In all this I had demonstrated maintained integrity.

    I still hope I can make them sweat :wink:

    G
  15. .....

    hi,
    i m going through this forum for the first time. i went through all of it. am a medical student doing my final year now. I hav a doubt regarding OTD's. who are called OTD's? even after passing a few steps of AMCand then applying for a job in oz, is the scrutiny same as for the others who dont have AMC? how do i start preparing for AMC? i m very much intrested in doing my post graduation in surgery. what would you suggest me 2 do with regard to my post graduation? if one can pass the complete AMC exams, wil they be invited for post graduation? am stil not completely clear with the system. i would be very thankful if somneone can help me on this

    regards
    ashwin
  16. sympathies

    hi galileo:

    very sorry to hear your experience. unfortunately racism is well entrenched here. IMGs are always at a disadvantage. the backstabbing 3 months from a fellowship is just painful. there are always many sides to a story, but whenever an IMG is even mildly accused of something, s/he is assumed guilty until proven innocent. if you think you are in the clean, the press will love the story. however, that doesn't help with your battle with the bloody boards and college.

    the "falsification" of CV is just nonsense! on applying for registration in QLD, one has to provide a CV detailing EVERY SINGLE DAY of one's life. if a single day is missed, they will delay/reject registration. this is happenning now, not an exaggeration. you can imagine the difficulty this creates - who can remember which exact day one finished the last shift in one hospital and went to another 10 years ago? so one has to write down some sort of dates on the CV, and if the dates are found to be inaccurate later on, even by a day, it's "falsification". i have some friends who had their registration cancelled because they were on annual leave and did not declare it on the CV. the injustice against IMGs just keep rolling on.

    IMGs really need to stand up for themselves in some sort of way. most people are uninterested in being involved in committees. but this is how australia works - everything is decided by committees, and if you don't speak up, shut up and put up. i would imagine since 30-40% of doctors here are IMGs, we would have a LOT of political clout. if we sneeze and leave, the health system here will just collapse. unfortunately, very few people put their hands up to go on committees and speak for the group. it's a real shame.

    o well, i'm just hoping the next day comes along smoothly and there is not a single complaint against me in my career. who can guarantee that though?

    ....
  17. don't come to australia to train for popular specialties

    ashwin:

    read my initial post carefully.

    forget about training in surgery in australia. if there are hundreds of white aussie applicants applying for two surgical registrar jobs (which is always the case), why would they give the jobs to OTDs?

    would you give a prestigeous job to a foreigner in your country? hardly so.

    the AMC makes no difference at all. any AMC pass is considered inferior to an australian degree in the employer/medical board/college/public's eyes. see my initial post. if you want to migrate here, you HAVE to do the AMC at some stage. if you don't and just want to make some money for a few years, don't bother with it. it's a waste of time and money.

    DON'T THINK ABOUT COMING TO AUSTRALIA TO COMPETE FOR A POPULAR TRAINING PROGRAM. just forget it. no one will take you, even if you are excellent. there are too many aussies lining up for this sort of jobs. and many of them are excellent. if you have two good applicants before you for a popular surgical training post and one is overseas trained, the OTD will be thrown out without question based on origin and race. colleges such as surgery, ophthal, derm, etc are always faced with hundreds of applications for two or three training spots. there is very little chance for OTDs to succeed.

    cheers

    an immigrant doc
  18. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Absolutely correct.
    OTDs are always diverted to the jobs which are not taken by locals.
    These jobs involve lot of hard work, after hour , weekend & night shifts.
    Training programme which can be accessible are ED , GP in country area etc.
    One question for Galileo -
    The conditions which the college imposed over your practice - where they too many ? With those conditions could you work independantly ?
    What was the nature of these conditions ?
    Actually I tried to open a Skype account . But it is expensive. I cann't afford at this stage.
    Bye - Matt
  19. PopUp

    PopUp Guest

    Hi all,
    I am in final year of MD(Paediatrics) in an Indian Medical College. I am very much confused about AMC rules and regulations.

    Do I need to take the AMC exam and then what are the chances that I wil get the residency in Paedia in Australia? Will my MD be recognized?

    Can I apply for specialist entry in AMC?

    What is the best way to apply there? Or Do you know any medical counsellers who have good knowledge of rules and regulations? Please advice me.

    Thanks in advance for you all.
  20. Galileo

    Galileo Guest

    In answer to Matt

    -One question for Galileo -
    The conditions which the college imposed over your practice - where they too many ?

    Initially, during peer review it was an AON post which they approved prospectively. When things did not go their way (or, when they wanted things their way); they disqualified the post retrospectively!

    -With those conditions could you work independantly ?
    After specialist recognition, you are not guaranteed registration: they often try to continue to impose discretionary conditions, failing which they will succeed in getting the medical board to grant you conditional specialist registration (with or without conditions, which can be harsh)

    -What was the nature of these conditions ?
    They are all arbitrary and discretionary

    Do you know that both the RACP (and other Colleges) and the AMC are registered companies, accountable only to ASIC (Australian Securities and Investment Commission) and no one else? They are merely outsourced entities 'to control the floodgates' When such entities are non accountable, they naturally do what they want to do.

    -Actually I tried to open a Skype account . But it is expensive. I cann't afford at this stage.


    G
  21. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Dear Galileo
    Thanks for your reply.
    Is it common nowadays for RACP to ask additional 6 mths at Bigger central Hosp following 1 Yr of Peer review in Peripheral Hosp ?
    Do all these candidates need to have a practice Visit ?
    I know of people who have completed the initial period of peer review satisfactorily , despite that they had to have a practice visit & later another 6 mths.
    Who makes these decisions ? Are there new people in Board of Censors ?
    Bye for now , Cheers - Matt
  22. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Answers

    Dear Dr Matt,

    I hope Galileo will not mind my answering your questions:

    1. No one knows how many physicians who have been through the peer review pathway get new conditions imposed despite satisfactory reports. All this is arbitrary and as Galileo and others (I think Paracelcus too) have previously pointed out, the RACP and other colleges are all registered companies. They are accountable to no one, not even the ombudsman or the government

    2. Because of 1, anything can happen: and it is anyone's guess. The vilification can be so subtle like a condition of a further 6 months as a Consultant in a Metropolitan Teaching hospital to be completed within 5 years "failing which the College will have the right to impose further conditions" (see the catch?)

    3. No one knows how long each Censor serves or indeed how many Censors sit in decision making meetings: however, what is known is that there are current provisions for the whole "meeting" to be conducted by ONE Censor, usually the Chief Censor. This is unlike the transparency and honesty exhibited by the British Royal Colleges. We all know that if a Committee of ONE sits, all kinds of abuse can potentially occur.

    4. Even in the RACP Appeals process, there are three layers, the first layer being a reconsideration by the Censors (always upheld as this is a Committee of ONE); then a Review by a higher body - people have had adverse decisions reversed, but only at the expense of their reputation having been damaged during that waiting period; the final barrier is a true Appeals Process conducted according to their internal rules with the possible consideration of representation by a Solicitor/Barrister - and of course a fee is charged etc with the usual trimmings of both sides having to bear costs, and, if the Candidate loses, he/she has to bear the College's costs etc.

    5. One further point: one does not need College Fellowship to practise as a Specialist. You need Medicare Australia Recognition as a Specialist for the purpose of reimbursement. This needs the Medical Board of the respective state to register you as a Specialist (QLD and SA) or Conditional Specialist (others) and the pathway to this is AMC recognition via a College process. For AMC Specialist recognition (note AMC is also a registered company), a compulsory College process is necessary.

    So, in summary, do not harp on getting the FRACP or FCRAP or whatever - it is difficult even when you have done well and you have to pay AUD1K per year for fees and be under their control on a MOPS programme (Maintenance of Professional Standards) which they can nail you on anything, anywhere and at anytime and then cause the suspension of your registration or the imposition of new conditions.

    Hope this helps.

    Nostradamus

    PS The bottom line is that the system is CORRUPT and DYSFUNCTIONAL with a permanent HAZE (ie non transparency). The recent handling of Dr Haneef's case tells it all. They cannot be wrong even when they are wrong.
  23. Galileo

    Galileo Guest

    Thanks

    Thank you Nostradamus,

    I think you have very accurately answered the questions. Your predictions are very accurate! I really fear for my name to be exposed publicly as it will also completely ruin my career outside Australia. It happened to Dr Haneef but we hear little of it now, as presumably he has launched a Supreme Court action against the Police/Government

    G
  24. meera

    meera Guest

    after 5 yrs of og graduation it now seams as if it has become a sin to have choose medicine as a career..the field in which u have to study and sacrifice the most.. and even than u r treated like a criminal..
  25. Guest

    Guest Guest

    for every one remember this phrase :(( one door closed tow doors opened)) :) :) :)
  26. Galileo

    Galileo Guest

    400 over years to be forgiven

    You know that I laid in my grave for over 400 hundred years after having been punished by the Pope: only the recent late Pope John Paul forgave me for stating that the world was round while every Australian (in the RACP and the NSW Medical Board) thought that it was flat! 8)

    Now they have reburied my bones and I can rest in peace.
  27. Woof

    Woof Guest

    The real Galileo's (and others, including Paracelcus) troubles were within his OWN country amongst his OWN people.

    Our Galileo was in a new country as an alien, holding a work visa!

    Mate, you had a double(maybe even triple i.e. College) disadvantage...and this will apply to ALL OTDs wanting to get through the floodgates. Be warned!

    Woof
  28. Galieo

    Galieo Guest

    Skeef (another posting)

    You have a Nigerian basic degree and German (i.e. EU) Internist certification. You will be better off remaining in the EU as the qualification ought to be recognised within the Union. I have known white Germans who have held German Internist certification who had come to Australia and who have been peer reviewed with issues on 'communication skills' in the region (AON) and then left without specialist recognition.

    Do not waste your time or your life in Australia.

    For those who have not seen or smelt the grass, it is always greener on the other side!

    Galileo :cry: :cry:
  29. sako

    sako Guest

    after 5 yrs of og graduation it now seams as if it has become a sin to have choose medicine as a career..the field in which u have to study and sacrifice the most.. and even than u r treated like a criminal

    I agree 100% with you ,
    Saba
  30. Ozziewholeft

    Ozziewholeft Guest

    australian system

    Just another post commenting on the australian system.

    As a doctor who has an asian background, but educated in australia under an australian medical degree as well as completing an australian specialisation, my advice is for people who are coming here to consider it twice.

    Generally the australian system is acknowledged to be biased against (putting it politely) or outright racist towards overseas doctors. Many doctors who come from overseas posts are put into jobs that none of the locals want/will fill, given impossible hours and poor or non-existant supervision.

    The government will lie to you and tell you its very easy for overseas docs to come here. However anybody who has seen any of the overseas docs try for years and years to pass exams when overseas they are consultants has to wonder about the inherent racism in the system.

    The discrimination that you get from other people who try to push you around is unbelievable. Even the junior clerks and nurses seem fit to give advice. I usually counter with "well since your the doctor, why don't you do it" which usually shuts them up. Human resources are next to useless, and the medical administration is unsympathetic. As a local trainee I could only see the hopelessness in our overseas trainees and feel so sorry for them.

    I have had enough of the australian system and left recently to finish my training overseas. I am happy here in Canada where I am respected and the racism is largely non-existant.

    Please think twice about coming to Australia. Especially after the Haneef debacle. I am an Australian trainee telling you this. Being born into this and educated here is still not a guarantee that you may not be deported because of "character test" failures.
  31. Galileo

    Galileo Guest

    Well said! I do not need to say anymore.......There are now reports that the OTD applications to Australia have come right down

    G
  32. Woof

    Woof Guest

    Check the ADTOA (www.adtoa.org) website which is Australian based and thus subject to the thug-like behaviour of Aussie bureaucrats (no one posts there for fear of reprisals):

    Friday August 24, 2007

    Why the Howard government will appeal the Haneef decision


    By ADTOA

    Dr Haneef was held without charge for 12 days following his arrest at Brisbane International Airport on July 2.


    He was eventually charged with one count of providing support to a terrorist organisation for having given his mobile phone SIM card to a relative linked to a plot to bomb targets in Britain.


    Dr Haneef's visa was cancelled just hours after he was granted bail on a charge of providing support to a terrorist organisation.


    On August 20th Justice Jeffrey Spende quashed the Federal Government's decision to cancel the former Gold Coast-based doctor's work visa on character grounds.


    Justice Jeffrey Spender prefaced his finding by saying although there was a political aspect to the case, his job was to do his best according to the law.


    The Crown has successfully applied for a 21-day stay of the decision.


    On 7 August 1995, the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC) responded to a case brought forward by an Indian trained doctor, Dr Siddiqui.


    HREOC affirmed Dr Siddiqui's claim and awarded him $50,000 in damages against the AMC.


    The AMC and Commonwealth Minister of Health subsequently appealed against the HREOC judgement to the Federal Court.


    The Federal government spent between five and ten million dollars to overturn the $50,000 decision.


    The Howard government looks set to repeat these tactics in what is now a typically Australian government approach to unfavourable decisions.


    When the government loses in the courts it will spend millions to overturn the decision because they (a) do not like to lose and (b) because they can.

    When the government loses a political fight (e.g.against an organisation such as ADTOA), it will spend tens of millions to recruit untested doctors such as Paytel, Haneef and Mohammed Asif Ali instead of spending a fraction of that to bridge the 3500 or so Australian doctors trained overseas into the workforce as fully qualified, tested, vetted and trained to local conditions.

    ADTOA 2007
  33. OTD

    OTD Guest

    Damage done: QED

    Repairs will take some time with repentance and public acknowlegement of change of policy: otherwise: no OTDs for Oz and maybe a change of government. What makes you think that the Howard govt is going to stay and whether the Rudd government will decide to fight (or to compensate Haneef)?
  34. OTD

    OTD Guest

    We have added a newsfeed courtesy of Meltwater News. This company provides specialized news monitoring services to business & government. Meltwater News is a global operation, serving some of the world’s top companies and organizations. It is not available to the public. We appreciate your feedback and suggestions about how to better target news for ADTOA readers.


    Decline in Doctors
    There has been an 80% decline in the number of doctors applying to work in Australia according to news reports last week. One agency also reports a 40% cancellation rate for doctors already recruited.
    ADTOA information is that applications from India have virtually disappeared since Haneef's work visa was revoked.


    Qld 'unattractive' to foreign doctors
    Queensland Health Minister Stephen Robertson has blamed the federal immigration minister for making Queensland less appealing to overseas-trained doctors.
    ADTOA disagrees and blames both the the QLD and Federal governments.


    Sensible Slution
    The government has spend tens of millions of dollars to recruit untested doctors such as Paytel, Haneef and Asif Ali instead of spending a fraction of that to bridge the 3500 or so Australian dIMG's into the workforce as fully qualified, tested, vetted and trained to local conditions.
    The AMC exams were intended to assess all IMG's entering Australia. The reason we suffer these fiascos is because not a single temporary ro back pack doctor will come to Australia if they have to sit the AMC exams.


    Events AMC MCQ Dates
    Saturday 17 Nov 2007 MCQ Australia

    Tuesday, 30 October 2007 Off-shore.
    Exam sites: Amman Bangkok Beijing Cairo Dublin Dubai Hong Kong Jakarta Kuala Lumpur London Manila Oman Paris Riyadh Singapore Tokyo

    Adtoa
  35. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Doctor calls for attention to 'killing field' hospitals
    Posted Sun Sep 23, 2007 3:05pm AEST (from www.abc.net.au/news)

    A Melbourne doctor has called for urgent attention to Maroondah Hospital, which he says has become known in medical circles as "the killing fields".

    Dr Peter Lazzari has written to Premier John Brumby, after the graphic description was used last month at a meeting of the chairs of medical staff at Victoria's major hospitals.

    He says Mr Brumby needs to act now to sort out the problems at the hospital, or resign.

    Dr Lazzari, who spoke anonymously last month, highlighted problems with overseas-trained doctors, who are well intentioned, but have difficulties to overcome.

    "Unfortunately many of them have major major language difficulties, now the Maroondah hospital knows this," he said.

    "The doctor concerned has repeatedly told administration of this and yet we see an extraordinary statement in the paper that the manager categorically refuted the claims."
  36. Galileo

    Galileo Guest

    Matey,

    EVERY AUSTRALIAN HOSPITAL IS A POTENTIAL KILLING FIELD: ESPECIALLY FOR OTDs

    G
  37. torsades

    torsades Guest

    prospects of residency in int med or peads?

    hi everyone,
    Im new to this forum.Im also shell shocked like most people readin this thread.I have just finished my mbbs n was plannin on doin reidency in int medicine or peads in aus.My wife is a nurse n she got a job offer from aus where she could opt for temporary or permanent residency n i can get a spouse visa too.So can somebody please tell me what do i have to do to get a residency in aus? Is the selection based on ur amc scores n ur interview? Do i have to work for some compulsory period of time as a gp before i can apply for a residency? Do i need a permanent residency to apply for it? Are the int med positions as difficult to get like surg or do i invariably end up wit public health or psych as said by someone?
    Thanks in advance.
  38. Woof

    Woof Guest

    Mate,

    If you have permanent residency, it is harder for them to bully you...but it is a catch 22 - no AMC no PR (unless of course your spouse or potential Australian spouse gets you in). Even then, you will be discriminated against (see www.adtoa.org) as they prefer to employ OTDs who are vulnerable whom they could could manipulate and make use of....all the way, from Interns, Residents to Specialists.....it is a highly dysfunctional system with major regional variations. It reminds us of the mess in the NHS with Administrators in the 1990s.

    Bullying is the name of the game in Australia: they do it to their own kind too and also to women. In turn, the Australian women are very harsh and they (nurses and administrators) bully foreign men like OTDs who are non white (and also white ones too)

    I would advise you not to waste your time applying to Australia- New Zealand, Canada and the US are much more civilised places in regard to how the medical profession treats its colleagues. In Australia, you are treated worse than a farm animal. Though of course USA is not much different how they treat other human beings.

    The above and other threads attest to this.

    Ask Galileo and others

    Woof
  39. OTD

    OTD Guest

  40. Galileo

    Galileo Guest

    Even if you are a sane OTD, going to Australia may render you stressed out and insane. I can assure you it is not worth it ...just look at the awful mess in NSW. It can be read daily in the Sydney Morning Herald. www.smh.com.au Presently, it is Royal North Shore Hospital a prestigious teaching hospital of the University of Sydney, which is under fire. I can assure you that many other NSW Area health services are equally bad or even worse.

    Some of the worst ones are the regional ones with layers of middle and top management siphoning off money for other projects...and, using OTD specialists for their cost shifting and risk shifting games.

    After all, if one is caught it is not them but the OTD. They would not know it because the deceptive strategies used to employ them are so subtle and non transparent. When things go wrong, they concoct allegations against the OTD, suspend him, sack him and report this to the NSW Medical Board.

    Common happening. NSW did not fully sign the Australian Health Agreement 2003 to 2008 and that is why all this is happening.

    Anyone who has savings will end up using all of this on Solicitors, many of whom are avid blood suckers. They would love to 'help' relieve you of all your money.

    It will take some time before all this will settle....just look away

    Galileo
  41. meera

    meera Guest

    i cant understand that why nurses after studying so lil feels that they have authoriy over everything and can insult any one ..
  42. Woof

    Woof Guest

    The Melbourne based paper reported today (1 Oct) that Dr Haneef is 'determined to get his visa back'

    This is typical of the catch 22 situation: by the cancelation his visa, Dr Haneef's job with the Gold Coast Hospital would be frustrated and he will not be able to function - hence they can (or may have already) terminated his contract.

    The point of law is interesting as this is a technicality created by the Australians themselves. Though technically, Dr Haneef may win his appeal, on another technicality by the time this occurs, the contract would have been over and there is no law which can lead to the restoration of the job so easily.

    Even if he succeeds, he would have spent thousands on his legal fees.

    So, Dr Haneef, if you are reading this, think twice. If Mr Russo and the Australian would like to support your case on a pro bono basis, you should fight it. If not, be prepared to be completely bankrupted by the process

    This is how those criminals in the Australian health bureacratic system work.

    This is why OTDs must NEVER apply to go to Australia at this time - so that they will force the government to take serious action on these bungling bureaucrats.

    This applies to Galileo too!

    Woof
  43. OTD

    OTD Guest

    Tony Abbott offers a Band-Aid

    Sydney Morning Herald
    October 3, 2007


    ANOTHER shot has been fired

    in the increasing hospital war. The Federal Government has launched an assault on the quality of state control of the embattled health system by announcing that it will force state governments to retreat from the regional governance of public hospitals and appoint local boards to oversee their day-to-day operations. The Government's weapon of choice is the forthcoming five-year hospital funding agreement, due to be signed by the middle of next year but which is in abeyance because of the looming election. Given that in 2004-05 the Commonwealth contributed about 44 per cent of the $22 billion spent on public hospitals, it is indeed powerful artillery. But, sadly for those dissatisfied with public hospitals, its aim is misguided.

    The Coalition hopes its plan will reduce the amount of bureaucracy that, according to Health Minister Tony Abbott, some clinicians complain stifles decision making in hospitals, which in turn affects the quality of health services delivered. Furthermore, Mr Abbott has suggested the problems at Sydney's North Shore Hospital, where a woman suffered a miscarriage in a hospital toilet, are a clear example of too much red tape, a politicised chain of command and too little input from doctors and locals. The minister is drawing a long bow. It is more likely the deplorable state of affairs at North Shore was a consequence of too few resources and poor judgement made under pressure. While the proposal to give local communities more say could be welcomed in rural areas, where the loss of such services as operating theatres and obstetrics has been keenly felt, it is difficult to see how planting a denser thicket of management would address systemic problems — such

    as the kind of inadequate care of patients so sadly demonstrated in Sydney but which is replicated across the country — which have sprung from factors that have little to do with inefficient or politically unacceptable bureaucracy.

    Both parties in this hospital war — or is it just a phoney war, a blame game being waged by political adversaries with no definite, clearly articulated policies to fix the system? — need to focus on issues that get to the heart of the problems in health-care delivery, not tactical manoeuvres that just meddle at the fringes without committing themselves to a real and necessary increase in resources that would go a long way to tackling the system's failures. The Australian public has little interest in the minutiae of hospital funding but knows that more is needed, given that the Government's private health initiatives, and a concomitant decline in realistically indexed federal funding over the past 10 years, have clearly done little to ease pressure on public hospitals. Also, it is more than aware that with growing pressure on hospital beds, the imperative for an early, and sometimes premature, discharge has increased.

    Australians would be better served if public health funding kept pace with need, which it does not. Rather than pointing the finger at the states and threatening federal takeovers, the Government, or should it win office the Labor Party, needs to deal with the implications of an ageing population — for example, by boosting the number of nursing home places, which will free hospital beds for those who are ill, not just old. More beds means more doctors and nurses to attend them, and the next Government must ensure there are enough university places available to train them. Indeed, rather than the sort of politicised meddling being floated by the Government and the Opposition — Mr Abbott's plan to create 750 hospital boards being the latest — they should aim to build a properly funded public health-care system that would not countenance a woman giving birth in a hospital lavatory. During this election campaign, the focus must be on the target and not the skirmishes at the edges of the fray.
  44. OTD

    OTD Guest

    Sorry, the previous posting was from The Age (Victoria) but owned by the same media company as the Sydney Morning Herald
  45. Guest

    Guest Guest

    "When they see a OTD rising in career ladder , they start getting jealous & want to create all barricades against them."

    I asked an Australian colleague in my class about OTDs/IMGs.He said they are excellent knowledge wise but lack communication skills and if in the hospital system they are rising quickly.......Australians get jealous!!!!!
  46. meera

    meera Guest

    they lack communication skills..
    i absolutely disagree ...... well there smos miss common things like tonsillitis ..and simple signs like murphys sign..
    they want otds to be an expert in everything from the first day ... communication skill is a part not whole of it .. can they treat a patient just by communication skill.. if they think so than there is no need for otds ..
  47. Guest

    Guest Guest

    I would like to share this info obtained recently so that interested Drs may approach the right approach:-

    Thank you for your recent email about working as a General Practitioner in Australia.

    The first steps towards working as a doctor in Australia on the DoctorConnect site is well worth looking at, as is the Checklist for Overseas Trained Doctors on DoctorConnect which will give you a better understanding of the processes involved in working as a doctor in Australia.

    Assessment processes for overseas trained doctors and registration of all medical doctors in Australia is managed by the Australian Medical Council and the State and Territory Medical Boards. Recognition of overseas specialist qualifications is handled by the relevant Australian medical specialist college. The website for the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners is http://www.racgp.org.au

    Before practising in Australia, all doctors must first obtain registration from the Medical Board in the State or Territory in which they wish to work. Part of the medical registration requirement will be proof of English language proficiency. Eligible doctors receive full medical registration OR conditional medical registration. The type of medical registration you receive primarily affects the type of location in which you may work, but may also affect other aspects of employment, such as your field of practice. For more detailed information refer to Registering and Qualifying on DoctorConnect.

    Queries relating to immigration matters should be raised directly with the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC). Detailed information regarding the various visa options available for doctors can be found at the DIMA's website at: http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/medical-practitioners/doctors.htm. If you are seeking information regarding which visa might be appropriate to attend an interview or undertake the AMC MCQ exam please refer to the information on short business visits to Australia at: http://www.immi.gov.au/allforms/990i/business.htm Should you subsequently have further queries relating to immigration matters, please call the DIAC general enquiries line on 131 881 in Australia.

    Medical practitioners are on the Migration Occupations in Demand List which may enhance permanent immigration opportunities. Temporary resident doctors can also be issued with a visa for up to four years, if working in Australia.

    The Australian Government has contracted several medical recruitment agencies to support appropriately qualified overseas trained doctors through the recruitment process leading to employment as general practitioners (GP) or specialists in the Australian medical workforce.

    You may also be interested to know that the Australian Association of Medical Recruitment Agents (AAMRA) has recently been established under the auspices of the Recruitment and Consulting Services Association (RCSA). Members of AAMRA need to have met accreditation requirements and compliance criteria established by the RCSA. I understand that some of these agencies handle public hospital positions as well as GP and specialist positions. State and Territory Health Departments also have websites where you can look for suitable vacancies.

    The following link is for the 'Finding a Job' page of the DoctorConnect website, this may be of help to you.

    I have also included a link to the DoctorVacancy website, this may also be of help.

    I have included a link for the 'Categories of General Practitioners' page of the DoctorConnect website.

    The following link is for the 'Pathways for Permanent Residency' page of the DoctorConnect website, this will be of help.

    I hope this information is helpful to you.
  48. Milko

    Milko Guest

    The Imigrant Doc's story reminded me of my struggle to become a registered doctor here. I am from former Yugoslavia and I came here during the civil war in my country in 1994. I was experienced 36 years old ophtalmologist .It took me 7 years to pass AMC exam and during that time I was denied any NSW medical job which I have applied for. I was a taxi driver for some time , supporting my family of three children .It was a time when the AMC exam was held twice a year and waiting list for the Clinical Exam was 2 years. The pass rate was 35% only.I 've submitted my documents to Royal Australian College of Ophtalmologist and after 1 year of deliberation their advice was that I have to pass AMC exam and than apply for training post ?
    I realised that with my age I have to be pragmatic therefore I've focused on passing AMC Exam.

    The things got better since Dr Siddiqi , the President of Australian Overseas Trained Doctors association organised the Hunger Strike in 2000. The strike lasted 20 days and involved about 100 OTDs who camped outside the NSW Parliment House. It was just before the Sydney Olympic Games and all world media shifted attention to the poor OTDs who were humiliated and denied right to work.

    I passed AMC Exam , got General Registration and finished GP training as I realised that College of Ophtalmologist is 'closed shop" .

    I have to say that I had no other option than to stay here and fight for better life as my country was engulfed in war and my home in Yugoslavia was destroyed.My young family was very supportive and I knew that I have to pass AMC Exam to give them a decent life. However without them I would have given up.

    If you not in desperate need to come here or your motives are different than - think twice.

    The situation might look better today than 13 years ago, indeed .
    The Competent Authority Model is alternative pathway to AMC general registration but this will cause an oversupply of doctors and erosion of wages.

    The postgraduate programms are limited and very competitive. Even GP program becoming competitive and it will require 2 years in rural and remote Australia. If you thinking about training posts in surgery, particulary plastic & reconstructive , orthopaedics , ophtalmology or dermatology - forget it. Even radiology and oncology becoming competitive. You can get into hospital based Physican training but it will be difficult to find a job once you finish training.

    If you are not lucky enough to embark on any training program you'll end up as a Junior Medial Doctor or CMO for the rest of your medical life. Your salary is capped and you wouldn't be able to afford to buy property in Sydney.The Australian Goverment would like to preserve this "status quo" as long as they have a cheap labour in public hospitals.The Australian Goverment currently facing a difficulties to recruit doctors . Subsequently the hospital budget is blown off as thet have to recruit a locum doctors who are paid up to $300 per hour. I believe that many will understand now why the australian Goverment trying to increase number of doctors in public hospitals .

    Australia is small country in term of population and I believe that USA or UK can offer more opportunities.
    Again I had no choice as this was the only country under the sun that offered me a refugee status.

    Cheers.
  49. guest458

    guest458 Guest

    There is a few interesting articles from AMA web site to shed moere light why the Australian Goverment trying to increase the numbers of doctors in public hospitals and Emergency Departments. Oversupply of doctors at some stage will influence their wages in the future.
    Quantity is more important than quality.


    “The shortage of emergency physicians in NSW cannot be attributed to a decline in the number of medical graduates but is the result of the NSW government’s failure to ensure an adequate number of trainees and teaching time for senior clinicians,†said AMA (NSW) President Dr Andrew Keegan. Dr Keegan was commenting on Health Minister Reba Meagher’s reaction to reports that NSW emergency departments are staffed largely by casual doctors, paid at a higher rate than specialists and registrars.

    Last month the College of Physicians withdrew teaching hospital accreditation from Shellharbour District Hospital.
    “Clearly those responsible for workforce planning in NSW Health are not interested in training the highly skilled doctors our community wants and deserves. “The NSW Government persists in ignoring advice it does not want to hear, such as the AMWAC guidelines for emergency department staffing, and the AMC proposals for assessment of International Medical Graduates in order to justify filling rosters with casual staff.

    Doctors forgotten in health budget
    19 June 2007: “AMA (NSW) welcomes progress on health infrastructure spending in the state Budget, but is concerned that medical staffing levels are not adequate to deliver safe and effective care. Recruitment and retention of doctors is essential to back up the bricks and mortar, and has not received a mention in the budget,†said AMA (NSW) President Dr Andrew Keegan.


    Surgery cuts threaten medical services in Bathurst
    18 June 2007: Bathurst Base Hospital’s visiting medical officers, devastated by the area management’s production line approach to the management of surgical lists, last week convened an urgent meeting of the hospital’s Medical Staff Council. An AMA (NSW) representative was invited to attend.
    The meeting followed advice to doctors of intended drastic cuts in elective surgery lists without prior consultation. Doctors were also concerned by quota allocations based on actual operating time, omitting the time taken up by pre-operative procedures and theatre preparation for the next patient. Other concerns related to understaffing of operating theatres and long delays in recruiting new nurses.





    http://www.nswama.com.au/content/category/1/26/194/

    http://www.nswama.com.au
  50. Galileo

    Galileo Guest

    NSW claims to be the Premier State: in Health Policy it is in the backwater as it was the only state which did not sign parts of the Australian Healthcare Agreement in 2003 (five year terms). This led to cost juggling and many problems of funding where the 'clever' bureaucrats tried to cost shift to the Federal government.

    Another phenomenon is 'double dipping' It is like claiming twice for a service...this has led to numerous problems including mine.

    OTDs are unlucky and innocent bystanders in this phenomenon, and, as the ADTOA website recommends, AVOID NSW if you are to come to Oz...but look at this article from Sydney Morning Herald today:


    October 12, 2007

    AN ATTACK on a Melbourne police officer by Sudanese youths yesterday has fuelled the racial controversy swirling around the Immigration Minister, with Kevin Andrews saying such violence is not part of the Australian way of life.

    Police say about 20 young Sudanese men punched and kicked a detective early yesterday in the suburb of Noble Park, allegedly a trouble spot for gangs. Police did not draw attention to any racial aspect to the attack.

    Mr Andrews, who has been accused of racism for suggesting Sudanese refugees have difficulty integrating in Australia, said he had heard reports of "a number of incidents".

    The attack on the officer followed a funeral for Liep Gony, an 18-year-old Sudanese man bashed to death in a suspected race attack.

    "Any matter which involves violence in the community is something which we abhor, regardless of who is the perpetrator or the victim of the violence," Mr Andrews said.

    "Violence is not a part of the peacefulness and the tolerance which has been very much a value of the Australian way of life."

    The minister declined to provide details of the other incidents to which he referred, except to say police were investigating.

    The Victorian Premier, John Brumby, said it was unfair to blame migrants for causing the violence. "In all cases, the common element was alcohol," he said. "So I don't think it's at all helpful to put a racial characteristic to this. The principle problem that we're dealing with here is alcohol."

    But Mr Andrews, who was asked if his comments in the past week had fuelled tensions in the Sudanese community, said he was just one of a number of officials who had drawn attention to the fact there was a problem.

    "I'm recognising the problem. Many people have recognised the problem," the minister said. "I'm not proposing to apologise for saying what people are concerned about."

    Earlier, Mr Andrews was met outside a Melbourne hotel by a small group of protesters. A Sudanese refugee, David Vincent, told ABC Radio the Government seemed to want only white migrants, so he had daubed his face with white zinc cream.

    An 18-year-old man has been charged with recklessly causing serious injury in relation to yesterday's assault on the police officer.


    It is very clear the present Immigration Minister, Mr Andrews has racist inclinations compared with his predecessor, Amanda Vanstone, who even took the trouble to learn Mandarin (though not very successfully!)

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