From royal adviser to Tweed, GP has clean break with past
DR ZEKRI Palushi went from medical consultant and chief adviser to the Albanian Prime Minister to working as a cleaner at a Brisbane Hospital.
And now, 19-years after he was granted political asylum, he couldn't be happier working in the sleepy beachside town of Pottsville.
Dr Palushi was the leader of the Albanian Democratic Party branch of Puka district and fled the country when corruption linked to ex-Communist interests infiltrated the political group.
Before he left, Dr Palushi was Prime Minister Aleksander Meksi's right- hand man and was also the chair of the Government Commission for Foreign Humanitarian Aid.
"I was becoming suspicious and very much disappointed, so while being in Australia for diplomatic reasons in 1995, I took advantage and sought political asylum," he said.
"I was granted the protection visa, was looking for a job and I was lucky enough to start working as a cleaner at the Greenslopes Private Hospital in Brisbane."
Dr Palushi's family, comprising his wife Tina, daughters Anisa and Arbiona and son Endrit, moved with him to Australia to start a better life.
Passing his required Australian medical exams in 1998, Dr Palushi worked at Launceston General Hospital, Royal Hobart Hospital and as a GP at Coffs Harbour, before eventually settling down to work at Pottsville with Dr Julian Chin.
"Now here in Pottsville I feel at home and so happy," he said.
"As an overseas trained doctor I feel so privileged to be largely embraced with respect and gratitude from my patients and whoever works and knows me - which in return I have deep feelings for them and I owe an incredible debt of thankfulness to them and to every Australian too.
"I have always thought that the best I can do for these people and for Australia is to work hard, to keep myself up-to-date, to do my best and serve my patients properly, without bills and to bulk bill as a token of appreciation.
"When I think retrospectively, the decision to stay in Australia was the best decision I have ever made for myself and my family."