Thursday, May 27, 2010

Sydney Morning Herald - Greg Egan

"The case of Cornelia Rau demonstrates an extraordinary level of inhumanity and incompetence.

No detention centre in Australia is equipped to care for mentally ill detainees, yet in the case of Ms Rau and many others, Baxter is constantly misused in this way.

Ms Rau was plainly psychotic and chronically distressed. She deserved professional psychiatric care from the start, whatever her nationality.

The Department of Immigration says it went to "great lengths" to establish Ms Rau's identity, but apparently it failed to contact the missing persons registry in more than one state. Sadly, many people have been detained for a great deal longer than 10 months on equally flimsy grounds.

To a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Having built a $40 million high-security detention centre, the department sees everyone it gets its hands on as a suitable detainee. Until that culture changes, these abuses will continue.

Greg Egan, Tuart Hill (WA), February 6."

5 out of 5

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