It sounds like they want them out so they wont have the inconvenience of treating his tonsilitis. Usually now they try to avoid surgery unless absolutely necessary. My 15month old has just had his tonsils and adenoids out and we are rural too (though not as much as you, 6hrs from Sydney where he had to have his out due to the risks of him being so young and small). He jumped the waiting list altogether as a sleep study showed he had severe obstructive sleep apnea to the degree he was sleeping with a cpap machine while waiting over Christmas for surgery. The two week stay is important if you don't live near a hospital that could handle a bleed. I would definitely go public to give your son a chance to grow out of it. My son had complications and a very painful recovery and there was no way I would put him through it if it wasn't necessary. Fortunately it resolved his sleep apnea and he nolonger needs the cpap machine. Everything was done through the public system with him including sleep studies, lending us his machine etc etc and the hospital social worker even helped me with parking fees and offered help with accomodation if needed (we have family in Sydney though so stayed with them).
Good luck, I hope the new nurse is much better!