No Government Payout Yet For Rau's Improper Detention
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
March 2, 2006
CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA--Cornelia Rau, an Australian resident with schizophrenia who was improperly held by immigration authorities, still has not been compensated for her troubles more than a year after the mistake was discovered.
Rau, 40, was released in February 2005 from the Baxter detention center in South Australia after being detained for ten months.
Rau, who came to Australia at age 18 months, had walked away from a psychiatric ward in Sydney the previous March and was picked up by Aborigines in northern Queensland, over a thousand miles away. Police found no identification on Rau, who gave them a number of false names and answered them only in German.
Immigration officials, believing her to be an illegal immigrant, transferred Rau to Baxter to be housed with 255 other inmates. At one point during her stay she was held in seclusion for two months.
The revelation of her detention led to a nation-wide investigation, which found that at least 11 Australians with mental illness are among 60 people who have been held improperly in immigration detention centers.
Rau's lawyer, George Newhouse, told The Age news service this week that he would be forced to sue the government if it does not figure out how to properly compensate Rau. Newhouse said he still has not received a response to a letter he sent to Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone on December 8.
Vanstone's office, however, said that they have no idea how Rau wants to be compensated -- a claim Newhouse called "mischievous and misleading".
"Rau lawyer prepared for legal action" (The Age)
"Stalemate over Cornelia Rau compensation" (The Age)
"Vanstone delivers progress report on detention centres" (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)