Notre Dame medical students uneasy with Border Force Act


Josh Wilson, Katy Schlotfeldt, Taylor Harwood, Kelly Olds and Aysha Abu-Sharifa.
Josh Wilson, Katy Schlotfeldt, Taylor Harwood, Kelly Olds and Aysha Abu-Sharifa.

THEY might not be doctors yet, but that was not enough to stop local medical students taking a stand against a national policy they said would affect their future work.

University of Notre Dame medical students Kelly Olds, Aysha Abu-Sharifa, Katy Schlotfeldt and Taylor Harwood, who have spent the last two years advocating on behalf of asylum seekers and refugees, met with Fremantle MHR Josh Wilson recently to talk about their concerns with the Border Force Act.

Ms Schlotfeldt said the national policy would stop them from carrying out their duty of care.

“This part of the act is explicitly entitled ‘Secrecy’, and it states that any ‘entrusted person’ commits an offence if he or she makes a record of, or discloses ‘protected information’, which as we understand is anything that goes on in a detention centre,” she said.

“As future clinicians, we cannot accept a policy such as the Border Force Act which prevents us from carrying out our duty of care to our patients.

“The Border Force Act goes against everything we have learnt about in providing good clinical care, as it does not permit health care workers to advocate for their patients.”

Ms Abu-Sharifa said this year alone, Notre Dame medical students had sent 131 letters to WA politicians and recently joined with North Lake Senior Campus to run a mentoring program for students from a refugee background.