THE Rudd Government is under pressure from all fronts, even Labor colleagues, to overturn a decision denying German doctor Bernhard Moeller permanent residency in Australia because his son Lukas has Down syndrome.
The Immigration Department this week rejected Dr Moeller's application for permanent residency, saying the potential cost to the taxpayer of 13-year-old Lukas's condition was too great.
Politicians, disability groups and the small Victorian town of Horsham, where Dr Moeller is the only specialist physician, were outraged by the decision and have called on Immigration Minister Chris Evans to intervene on the family's behalf.
Victorian Premier John Brumby said the authorities should reverse the decision as soon as possible because DrMoeller was making a valuable contribution to the region, and because Lukas should be treated like any other child.
"In my view, a serious error has been made by the federal authorities," Mr Brumby said. "I think this is a case which needs reversing and overturning. The quicker we can get a review and a decision on this, the better."
Coalition disabilities spokesman Cory Bernardi said Lukas could make a positive contribution to society and that Senator Evans should use his discretion to approve the residency application for the Moeller family.
"It is sad that in this modern day we are still viewing people with a disability, such as Dr Moeller's son, as a burden," Senator Bernardi said. "They can and do make significant contributions to our society."
At least many in the government recognize this as a bad -- horrid --- decision. Whether they are counting the political cost or realizing it's wrong I know not.