Australian Territory Temporarily Shelves Proposed Ban Prohibiting Residency for HIV-Positive Individuals
Lawmakers from Norfolk Island, an Australian territory, have temporarily shelved a "controversial" proposal that would ban individuals with HIV, hepatitis B or hepatitis C from residing on the island, the Australian Associated Press reports. Parliamentarians have referred the proposal to the Community Taskforce Committee on Immigration, which has been asked to "take community views ... and report back to the assembly," a spokesperson for Territories Minister Wilson Tuckey said. Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations spokesperson Don Baxter said he was "relieved" at the decision to review the policy, adding, "It was clearly just prejudice dressed up as a public health cost argument" (Taylor, Australian Associated Press, 2/26). Norfolk Island Assembly member John Brown, who drafted the proposal last month, said that the measure aims to "protect the fragile local health system from having to cope with the potentially enormous cost" of treating HIV-positive residents, adding that the island's one hospital is not equipped to "cope" with "serious health problems" such as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 1/18). AIDS groups have demanded that Tuckey "exercise his powers" and veto the law. Tuckey's spokesperson, however, has said that "the processes are working as they should" and Tuckey has "no role" until the proposals become law (Australian Associated Press, 2/26).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.