27 Jan 2006

Australia flies Papuan pair to Perth for TB treatment

9:11 am on 27 January 2006

Australian authorities have flown two illegal entrants from the Indonesian province of Papua to Perth, to be treated for suspected tuberculosis.

The man and his child arrived in far northern Queensland last week along with 41 others, after a six-day voyage in a canoe from Merauke.

Officials held them at Weipa where they were given X-rays and other medical examinations.

Fairfax newspapers report these tests strongly indicated that at least one Papuan - the man - had tuberculosis.

The reports say Australian air force personnel initially refused to fly the Papuans to a detention centre on Christmas Island.

Flight crew also initially refused to fly the two on to Perth, until health officials approved the transfer.