NZ psychiatrists call on Australian Government to rethink deportation policy

24 March 2021

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) has urged the Australian Government to reconsider the controversial 501 deportation policy.

The RANZCP Tu Te Akaaka Roa – New Zealand National Committee has reiterated its calls for the Government to reassess the policy after the Australian Minister for Home Affairs, Peter Dutton, referred to the deportation process as “taking the trash out”.

‘We are renewing our calls to the Australian government due to our concerns for the serious impacts this policy is having on the mental health and wellbeing of the individuals and families involved,’ said Chair of Tu Te Akaaka Roa, Dr Mark Lawrence.

‘Strong connections to whānau are crucial to Māori and Pasifika’s social and emotional wellbeing, and in many cases deportation is separating families and returning individuals to a place where they have no close supports.

‘The current policy, as it is being implemented, is seriously detrimental to the health and rehabilitative needs of affected individuals and their whānau.

‘We have heard from members in both Australia and New Zealand who have expressed significant concerns regarding the impacts this policy has.

‘The recent deportation of a 15-year-old boy highlights another troubling aspect of deportation policies, which allows people to be deported regardless of age.

‘We strongly suggest that the Australian Government take a hard look at their deportation policies and consider which side of history they wish to stand on.’

For all other expert mental health information, visit Your Health in Mind, the RANZCP’s consumer health information website.

ENQUIRIES: For more information, or to arrange an interview call Sarah Carr on +61 437 315 911, or email