The University of Newcastle, Australia

Asylum-seekers in detention: a moral issue for the health profession

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

The Clinical Unit in Ethics and Health Law (CUEHL) is pleased to present this special seminar on one of the most topical and troubling moral issues facing the health profession in Australia today - the ongoing harm caused to asylum-seekers as a result of their prolonged detention by the Australian Government.

Medical students

Featuring guest speakers:

Mark Isaacs, author of 'The Undesirables' and Professor David Isaacs, Paediatrician 

There seems to be little dispute that prolonged detention of asylum-seekers leads to psychological harm in a population that is already at risk.  Mark Isaacs and David Isaacs bring different perspectives to the issue of detention.  Mark has worked in a detention centre and written 'The Undesirables', an eyewitness account of his experience.  David has written about the subject from the perspective of a paediatrician and a trained bioethicist.  The moral questions posed to health professionals by detention are both broad and specific.  What should we make of our government operating a system that is causing psychological harm to some of the most vulnerable people in the world?  And should health professionals be prepared to work within that system to try to mitigate harm?  Don't those efforts at mitigation give the system respectability and encourage its ongoing operation?  Please join us to hear presentations on this subject of fundamental moral importance.

Date:       Monday, 1 September 2014
Time:      6pm for 6.30pm start (supper provided)
Cost:       Free (no RSVP necessary)
Venue:    Lecture Theatre, Royal Newcastle Centre
(Royal Newcastle Centre is the extension at the eastern end of John Hunter Hospital, Lookout Road, New Lambton Heights.  We meet for supper at 6pm in the large foyer on level 2, and the lecture theatre is upstairs on level 3)

Mark Isaacs is a writer with an interest in issues of social justice. He first became impassioned by the asylum seeker debate after a visit to Villawood Detention Centre and was later employed by the Salvation Army to work at the Nauru Regional Processing Centre. He resigned from the Salvation Army in June 2013 and has since spoken publicly against the government's No Advantage policy.

David Isaacs is a Clinical Professor in Paediatric Infectious Diseases at the Children's Hospital at Westmead and the University of Sydney. He has a post-graduate diploma in bioethics and is the author of a publication in the American Journal of Bioethics entitled 'What's in the Frame: The Ethics of Asylum Seeker Health Care'.

Please note: The views expressed in this seminar are independent to the University of Newcastle.

  • Neroli Foster and Megan Blanch-Smith
  • Phone: 4921 6924

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