Australian doctor suspended after racist email to ophthalmologist
“It was important for me that this outcome wasn’t faceless, for people to see they won’t be brought down if they complain about racism”
11 November 2023
The Medical Board of Australia (MBA) has banned a doctor for 12-months following discriminatory and offensive behaviour towards an ophthalmologist.
The decision follows a General Optical Council survey that found one in four UK optometrists had experienced discrimination in the past year.
The doctor, who was not named in the decision, admitted that his conduct towards ophthalmologist Kris Rallah-Baker was culturally unsafe, insulting and offensive.
Rallah-Baker, a Yuggera, Warangoo and Wiradjuri man, took the unusual step of choosing to be named within the decision.
“It was important for me that this outcome wasn’t faceless, for people to see they won’t be brought down if they complain about racism, and if they need to reach out, they can,” he said.
MBA chair, Dr Anne Tonkin, emphasised: “The tribunal’s ruling is a clear message that racist and culturally unsafe practice and behaviour is unlawful and carries substantive penalties, including disqualification from registration.”
In an email in July 2022, the doctor questioned Rallah-Baker’s background.
“You are not full blood are you? Half? Quarter? One eight? Like a watered down bottle of Grange. Not the real thing,” he wrote.
He also made a series of comments criticising a programme that provides reduced cost prescriptions for people with indigenous heritage.