A Canberra doctor has been banned from practising medicine for a year after breaching doctor's codes with an offensive email sent to an Indigenous doctor
A straight talker. Under Australian law you can be classed as indigenous even if you are white -- as long as you have some remote Aboriginal ancestry. I have a neice who is as white as snow but she is still indigenous under Australian law. So she can get benefits aimed at blacks;
The doctor, whose name was suppressed by the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal (ACAT), sent an email to an Indigenous specialist, in which he criticised pharmaceutical policies designed to benefit Indigenous people and questioned the man's Indigenous identity.
The email was sent to a Yuggera, Warangoo and Wiradjuri man Dr Kristopher Rallah-Baker, whose name was originally suppressed before his legal counsel informed the tribunal that he wished to be identified.
However, he denied the email was discriminatory on racial grounds according to clause 5.4 of the Medical Board of Australia's code of conduct, because the offensive email was not generated in a workplace or sent to a colleague.
But the tribunal did not accept that because Dr Rallah-Baker was considered a peer of the doctor, and even if he was not, clause 5.4 states that doctors must not discriminate against "others" – meaning any person.
In the offensive email, the doctor noted Dr Rallah-Baker "claim[ed] to be Indigenous", and questioned what percentage of Aboriginal blood he had.
The doctor went on to suggest Dr Rallah-Baker's Indigenous heritage was "like a watered-down bottle of Grange. Not the real thing".
He also criticised a Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme subsidy for simple modified-release paracetamol only being available to Indigenous people, saying: "So rich dudes like you ... could get your Panadol Osteo for absolutely NO CHARGE ... but my struggling old-age pensioners with their osteoarthritis have to buy it at full cost".
The Medical Board of Australia referred the doctor to the tribunal for the email earlier this year, which found his actions did amount to professional misconduct.