Sophie Vorrath writes:

Taking out Australian citizenship
is a commitment to Australia, says the Parliamentary Secretary to the
Minister for Immigration, Andrew Robb. And to illustrate this, DIMA has
been using Dr John Meara as the perfect example.

There’s just one problem. The US-born paediatric plastic and
maxillofacial surgeon – who is featured by the Department of
Immigration and Multicultural Affairs as a model new Australian citizen
in its latest citizenship ad campaign – has done a runner.

and his family recently became Australian citizens after he was
headhunted by Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital to fill a newly
created position of Director, Department of Plastic and Maxillofacial

According to the advertisement that’s still appearing on DIMA’s website and in media like Good Weekend
magazine, Meara was “impressed with the cosmopolitan land of
opportunities that greeted him on (his original) arrival in Australia
in 1999 and admits that his preconceived image of Australia as a desert
containing a small group of people was seriously challenged.”

Meara, who was last year promoted to Chief of Surgery by the RCH, has
since left our shores after getting an offer too good to refuse – a
plum job at Boston General with a Harvard teaching post as well.

where does this leave DIMA? We called to ask if they felt it was still
appropriate for them to be using Dr Meara in the ad campaign.

a problem. A department spokesman told Crikey this morning that Dr
Meara’s decision to pursue a career opportunity overseas after only two
years here is no reflection on his commitment to Australia.

Peter Fray

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