HIV-positive migrants

Dear Mr Howard,

This is just a quick note to congratulate you for looking to toughen the entry requirements for HIV positive migrants and refugees.

Letting such people into the country is an ongoing drain on the nation’s health system. Thorough vetting would allow us to keep these peope – who are usually dole bludgers and quite often violent criminals too – back in their own countries.

In fact, Mr Howard, if I had any criticism – and this is only a minor quibble – it is that we haven’t taken this vetting idea far enough. With a small amount of planning, a carton of cigarettes and a few pies, I reckon we can sort the wheat from the chaff pretty smartly.

You see, your own Department of Immigration website says that ‘Being overweight in itself does not necessarily mean you will not meet the health requirement [to enter the country]’.

Why not? Heart disease was the number one killer of Australians in 2005, racking up over 24,000 deaths. I propose legislative changes requiring all airlines to run ‘stings’ on international flights. By serving pies as in-flight meals, air hostesses could rapidly identify those likely to send their ticker – and our health system – over the edge.

Speaking of over the edge, suicide accounted for 1,661 male deaths in Australia in 2005. I’m sure you’ll agree, depression in Australia is a major problem, and this number is unacceptable. We need strong steps to make sure this number does not increase.

Again, I feel an in-flight solution is appropriate. All passengers should be forced to watch any one of The Joy Luck Club, The Killing Fields, Apocalypse Now or American Pie. Possibly American Pie 2. Any men caught crying have ‘burden to the health system’ written all over them. You and I both know the only time men should cry is for their football team or when their dog dies.

Lung cancer: more than 7,200 Australians in 2005. You are probably aware that many bars, pubs and hotels are now enforcing legislation that requires smokers to be herded into an outdoor area, where they can take a deep drag on the Australian health system in peace. Why not a similar outdoor area on a national level? New immigrant? Smoker? I was thinking of Nauru. What do you think?

I know these statistics pale in comparison to the threat from HIV. Afterall, 1,000 diagnoses, and 63 AIDS-related deaths in the 12 months to March 2006 really puts things in perspective, doesn’t it?

I hope you find my suggestions useful Mr Howard. Keep up the good work.

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