|Don't leave home without it|
servants devote themselves to their tasks with zeal is a happy, if unusual
thing. However immigration officials may have gone, well, overboard with two
recent cases - Cornelia Rau and Vivian Solon.
Not content with deporting Pakistani plumbers pretending to be Afghanis, or
throwing out whinging poms who haven't realized that Australia became an
independent nation a century ago, immigration officials have taken to locking
Australian residents themselves into immigration centers, and even deported an
The flood of illegal immigrants which looked like getting out of control
three years ago has been reduced to a trickle by the hard-line Liberal
government. Carting off a few boaties to Papua New Guinea and Nauru worked a
treat, not to mention the freak drowning of some 350 illegal wannabes off the
coast of Indonesia.
Perhaps all the public service task forces ran out of things do to, and had to
start deporting Australian citizens to keep themselves busy? Middle managers do
not get promoted to senior managers by saying 'everything is working just fine
- there's really nothing for us to do'. No no, promotions come from
change actualization and crisis management.
In fairness to the public service, the Rau and Solon cases were
extraordinary. Both involved individuals with mental illness who would not give
their officially recognized names.
Cornelia Rau was a mentally ill German citizen, with Australian
residency. Unfortunately she gave authorities a different name and told them
she had paid people smugglers to bring her into the country, so they put her on
ice until they could get the German government to identify her. Oops.
Details of Vivian Solon are still sketchy, but it seems she was a mentally
ill Citizen of both Australia the Philippines, and gave authorities a
different name to that appearing on her Australian passport. Australian
officials identified her as Philippines citizen, and deported her in 2001. Oops.
An honest mistake in both cases perhaps, but both people were reported
missing, and officials did not think to cross-check the missing persons list
with the mentally ill deportation list. No-one who has dealt with the public
service should be surprised by this, of course. Competent people generally don't work
work in the public service. Competent people don't mind working in environments
with personal accountability.
But the disturbing (and as yet unverified) additional claim is that
immigration officials knew of the error in deporting Vivian Solon in 2002, and
kept it quiet. Australians expect incompetence in their public service, but
they do not expect dishonesty. If this had been reported in 2002, the error
could have been corrected then, and the Cornelia Rau mistake may have been
avoided all together.
Open-door-immigration nutters who believe that an embarrassed Howard
Government will repent, and let all the occupants of immigration holding
centers into the country are stupid. But they do now have something very real
to embarrass the government about, and they don't even know it.
The issue is not that an Australian citizen was mistakenly deported by an
incompetent public servant, but that immigration officials may have tried to
cover up the mistake after it had happened.
Meanwhile a fragile Vivian Solos is considering a return to Australia. One
can only imagine the law suit that is going to result from this. Especially if
she can prove that her injuries have been exacerbated by lack of access to the
Australian health care system.
Wouldn't it be nice to think of her compensation money coming out of the
superannuation of dishonest public servants? No chance. The budget has set up a
'future fund' to make sure the public servants are well cared for, regardless
of the injustices they inflict on the Australian people.