Local v overseas medical graduates: Discrimination

Following two earlier decisions, today saw the publication of the substantive rehearing decision in the matter of Wang v Australian Capital Territory [2016] ACAT 71.

The applicant was a medical practitioner in China and had completed examinations in Australia. He applied for an internship position at Canberra Hospital, for training necessary for him to qualify for registration in Australia. On adoption of a policy granting internship priority to ACT and other Australian universities,  overseas trained doctors were relegated to the last priority category, under which there was said to be “no real possibility of Dr Wang, or any overseas trained doctor, obtaining an internship”: [4].

The Tribunal held that the respondent had thereby engaged in an act of direct and indirect discrimination and made orders that:

  • The applicant is to be considered on his merits for the next internship intake.
  • The consideration of the applicant’s merits should be free of any assumptions to the effect that all ANU graduates would be superior candidates to the applicant on their merits just by reason of the fact that they are recent ANU graduates. There should be no assumption that the undergraduate clinical placements of ANU students is superior clinical experience, or preparation for work, than the years of clinical practice of the applicant including the years he has spent in Australia in aged care, and the additional course he has undertaken since coming to Australia.
  • The respondent is to pay the applicant the sum of $40,000 in compensation for the anxiety, embarrassment and humiliation he has suffered by reason of the respondent’s discriminatory conduct.

Given the history of this matter, an appeal may well be lodged.

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