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Donít deport little Aussie Luca

By John Mikkelsen - posted Thursday, 23 May 2024


Life really can be bitter sweet - it can throw up hurdles and roadblocks when they are least expected but sometimes, when all seems dark, a light appears at the end of the tunnel.

That's happened to me more than once and I can only hope it transpires for the latest victims of a seemingly heartless government - a young Australian born Cystic Fibrosis (CF) sufferer and his parents, who now face the threat of deportation.

With the legacy media's attention firmly focussed on the profligate spending in the vote-chasing, woke- appeasing Federal Budget and the latest highly controversial International Criminal Court upheavals in the on-going Gaza conflict, this seems to have sadly flown under the radar.

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Channel 7 recently interviewed the Perth parents who said they "genuinely fear" for their son's life if they are forced to leave the country because the toddler has CF.

Luca, 2, was born in Australia but isn't a citizen, and the government says the potential cost of his treatment is too much for taxpayers to bear.

Really? This is a government which claims to have the best interests of its citizens front and foremost, but perhaps I should add "Australian citizens and an apparently select band of non- Australian citizens" including:

No prizes there for PM Anthony Albanese or his hapless, hopeless Ministers Andrew Giles (Immigration and Citizenship), Clare O'Neal (Home Affairs) and Mark Dreyfus (Attorney General). Slow hand-claps for belated attempts to shut the gate after the horse has well and truly bolted.

But back to the case of young Luca and his parents who at the time of writing were dreading a phone call ordering them to leave the country:

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"(We're) just devastated. This has been our home for eight years. We've got friends, family, Luca's godparents are here," his mother Laura Currie said.

CF is a genetic disease affecting the lungs and digestive system.

The sticking point for the family is a life-saving drug called Trikafta.

The treatment is on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and costs Australian CF patients $42.50 but, without the discount, it soars to $250,000 a year.

The official estimate for his medical bill is $1.8m over 10 years, money the government is not prepared to pay for Luca despite him being born here.

The toddler is not currently taking Trikafta and might not even be compatible with it.

Luca's father Dante Vendittell, a construction worker from Italy, and Currie, a child educator from Scotland, met in Australia eight years ago and are now on bridging visas.

The family is living in limbo because they could get a phone call as soon as next week ordering them out….

"The UK health care is practically non-existent, it's literally on its knees," Currie said.

"I genuinely fear for Luca's life."

It seems hopelessly out of touch and hypocritical for a government to take this cruel stance when it is not even known if the expensive drug will be suitable for this little Aussie boy. At the same time, it can shovel truckloads of taxpayer funds at dubious virtue signalling green energy projects including billions for private enterprise ventures proposed by mega-rich investors such as Andrew 'Twiggy' Forrest, Mike Cannon-Brookes and former PM Malcolm Turnbull.

And of course they and thousands of other multi-millionaires will be able to pocket the universal largesse of $300 power rebates under a $3.5 billion cost of living package. Multiple properties? No worries, just put your hand out …

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About the Author

John Mikkelsen is a long term journalist, former regional newspaper editor, now freelance writer formerly of Gladstone in CQ, but now in Noosa. He is also the author of Amazon Books memoir Don't Call Me Nev.

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