Date of Award


Document Type



Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Honours


Faculty of Arts

First Supervisor

Dr Paul Bowen

Second Supervisor

Dr Patrick Sullivan


The overseas qualified doctor is a potential threat to the state-sanctioned control practising doctors have over medical knowledge in Australia. The nonrecognition of qualifications of many migrant and refugee doctors, in particular from non-English speaking background (NESB) countries, presses them into a subordinate relationship lo that of registered practitioners. The ownership of medical knowledge is limited lo state-recognised practitioners, thus allowing them to maintain significant economic and social advantage within the general community. The relationship between qualified practitioners and the state is indicative of a particular dynamic in which some individuals are able to exclude others by mechanisms of social closure from membership of, or entry to, positions of relative status and economic advantage. Each state in Australia has different restrictions as to who are to be excluded. Currently in Australia, the relationship between registered practitioners and the state from which they receive legitimacy may be described by the 'professional administrative' model in which the medical profession maintain control over entry into their domain. This is in contradistinction to the 'national health' model where medical practice plays an important, but not a dominant role. The difficulties many migrant doctors face in gaining recognition is indicative of the tension between these two models. The issue is not one of medical practice, but one of control over administration. This thesis examines the tension and the underlying ideological and philosophical bases of these two models, in the light of data related to non-recognition of qualifications of overseas trained practitioners and concludes that the mechanisms of the process outlined must be resisted in the interests of the health and well-being of a multicultural community.