Hundreds of doctors and health workers rally in Sydney against Border Force Act secrecy provisions

Doctors and Health Professionals protesting new laws that threaten them with jail if they reveal conditions in detention centres.

Doctors and Health Professionals protesting new laws that threaten them with jail if they reveal conditions in detention centres. Photo: Fiona Morris

Explainer: what is a border force, and why does Australia need one?

Hundreds of doctors have rallied in Sydney against a law that makes it a crime for people working in asylum seeker detention centres to speak out about what they see.

Braving a chilly and foggy morning, the medics gathered on the steps of the Sydney Town Hall in protest against the secrecy provisions in the federal government’s newly introduced Australian Border Force Act.

Doctors and health professionals at the protest on Saturday. The organiser believes there is no justification for the provisions and they go against the medical codes of ethics.

Doctors and health professionals at the protest on Saturday. The organiser believes there is no justification for the provisions and they go against the medical codes of ethics. Photo: Fiona Morris

Under the Act, anybody working directly or indirectly for the Department of Immigration and Border Protection – including teachers, social workers and doctors – is threatened with two years jail if they disclose what happens inside onshore and off detention facilities.

University of Sydney professor Maria Fiatarone Singh, who organised the protest, said there was no justification for the provisions and they went against medical codes of ethics.

“How does reporting that a child has been raped by a guard or exchanged sexual favours for food threaten national security?” she said.

via Hundreds of doctors and health workers rally in Sydney against Border Force Act secrecy provisions.

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