2010 Australian of the Year

Professor Patrick McGorry is a mental health expert, executive director of Orygen Youth Health, and Australian of the Year 2010. He’s worked with refugees for over 25 years, and was a co-founder of the Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture. He was one of the mental health experts consulted by the Government’s expert panel on asylum seekers in 2012.

Professor McGorry has spoken out on the right to work and mental health issues facing asylum seekers and refugees in Australia. He has described Australia’s immigration detention centres as “factories for producing mental illness and mental disorder.”

“Prolonged detention, particularly in isolated conditions, can have severe and detrimental effects on the health and psycho-social wellbeing of those affected.

The most demoralising thing about being in this limbo is that there’s no future. The person loses hope for any sort of form of positive future life.

High quality research and even common sense tell us that work is a key pillar of personal identity and an antidote to poverty and despair. The right to work for asylum seekers is a fundamental human one which Australia must respect.”