Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Clean Bill of Health First Hurdle for New Arrivals

Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Clean Bill of Health First Hurdle for New Arrivals

Article excerpt

THIS is an entirely self-indulgent personal reminiscence. An email from my daughter is to blame.

She shared her realisation that we have been fully-fledged Australian citizens for nigh-on 30 years and "it made me feel a bit old ...."

She and her parents have lived in Australia since 1971. We first set foot here 43 years ago to this very day. We had left London on a Qantas B707 flight, August 25, and the 30-hour journey together with the time difference found us landing in Sydney on the 27th.

First land-fall in Australia was at Perth Airport where the early morning sight of black swans was magical. In those days we had to carry X-rays showing the immigration officer we were sound in wind and limb and no threat to the general health of the population.

I had been medically examined in London by a cynical doctor appointed by Queensland House. He had to certify I would be an acceptable burden for the country's medical system before he/they would give me the nod to head south. I had been given a job sight-unseen by a place called Queensland University in a far-away city called Brisbane.

The rest of the family were not required to prove they were medically fit-for-purpose as long as the bloke was OK. Perhaps that was a sign of the times.

It turned out well, but only after a run-in with the examining quack who had decided my blood pressure was too high for him to sign me off. This brought a frown to my face and a strange money-lust look to his eyes. I gained a very strong impression that an under-the-table back-hander would make a miraculous cure and the right piece of official paper easier to find.

Some months later another newly-appointed UQ colleague was similarly found fit-for-purpose after a medical examination experience remarkably similar to my own. I hasten to say that neither of us made any "private arrangements" despite the obvious inferences. …

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