The treatment of Cornelia Rau and the subsequent reaction by Amanda Vanstone has compelled many readers to send in their thoughts into Crikey. Read what they had to say here:

Why Vanstone must resign

In view of the revelations about the treatment of Cornelia Rau, and the credible evidence that other prisoners have also been both abused and denied psychiatric treatment, then any decent government would demand the resignation of the responsible minister(s).

If Vanstone doesn’t resign, and persists in defending the indefensible, then government ministers who want to retain any shred of integrity should themselves resign and put as large a distance as they can between themselves and her position. If even one or two ministers had the balls to do this, the government would be forced to uphold the Westminster system. If the Liberals and Nationals fail to deal with this scandal then they will all stand condemned for their complicity.


How Vanstone should have dealt with the media

I can’t get over how STUPID many of our political leaders are in dealing with the media. Take the recent case of the missing mentally ill woman who was mistakenly incarcerated in an immigration centre for 10 months. At the end of the day Cornelia Rau slipped through the safety net because no-one had ever imagined that a mentally ill Australian would or could convincingly play an illegal immigrant for nearly a year. Who would have expected that? Procedures are written by humans who are not perfect.

If Senator Vanstone had come out on Saturday and said “this is a terrible case and we are going to look at why it happened and how to avoid anything like this happening again”, there wouldn’t have been half the story. Then today she could have announced an immediate change in procedures to cross-check unidentified immigrants with the police missing people database. It is Senator Vanstone’s response that is carrying the story as much as anything else.

Margaret B

Who is really to blame for Cornelia Rau?

Why is everyone jumping on Amanda Vanstone? Why isn’t the minister for health in NSW being asked to explain why a delusional patient was let out of Manly? Why isn’t anyone criticising the Queensland and NSW police for stuffing up? Because everything is John Howard’s fault.

Maybe the band that did Bloody Jeff can do a follow up Bloody John. “John Howard’s responsible for everything that goes wrong….”

A personal story of Cornelia Rau

Some years back as a jaded and tired Business Traveller I stepped aboard a Qantas Flight to Sydney expecting the usual, bearable, uninspiring and plasticized service followed by a welcome return home from my family.

I don’t recall the details of the flight, but I do recall being so impressed by the bearing, service and capability of one of the flight attendants that I was moved to write to Qantas and comment. Anyone working in any service business will know how rare this type of positive customer feedback is, I was clearly deeply impressed by this attendant’s performance. I wanted to ensure her dedication and excellence went noticed and my appreciation was recorded in her file.

The attendant’s name was, of course, Cornelia Rau. I do hope her family gets her back, and I do hope the neglect “the system” has inflicted upon her doesn’t serve to rob her of her dignity. I also hope that the finger pointing and politics serves her interests as well as others. She’s had a few bad breaks by the sound of things.

David Eastwood

Who has empathy for Hicks and habib

Who gives a flying ???? about Mamdou Habib? Three journalists and a couple of civil rights lawyers, perhaps. Crikey, the ABC and Fairfax should cease flogging a dead camel and admit the bloke’s very suss. Talk with people around the streets and you’ll learn that 99% of the Australian population has no sympathy or empathy for Habib or Hicks. The remaining 1%is attempting to keep this non-issue on the boil. Now there’s this nutter Ms Rau who doesn’t know what planet she’s on, let alone what country, as the new cause celebre.


The media and Mamdou Habib

Dunno about a News ‘softening-up’ that you posit this afternoon – none of the Terrorgraph articles have been particularly rabid – ghoulish might be more accurate. Anyway, with the SMH saying he has sold his story to 60 Junkets, that did allow the Tele online to use an AAP report in which the P. Minature observed: “The community will have its view, not only about him but about people (in) general who get paid for giving their story.” That’s damnation without the faint praise..


Kelly on the abortion debate

Hugo Kelly’s jibes about ‘nutters’ in relation to Alan Cadman’s statement on abortion are a little harsh. While Cadman’s statement was ill-worded, ill-informed and insensitive, Cadman is entitled to express dismay in relation to the information on who has abortions and when. Was it just

Cadman’s stupid word choice, or is it possible that Kelly believes anyone who questions Australia’s abortion statistics is a ‘nutter’!?

The fact is that Australia has one of the highest rates of abortion in the OECD (according to a 1999 report from the US-based Alan Guttmacher Institute) and given the information and availability of contraception in this day and age, it is a matter of public interest to ask ‘why’ Australia continues to have such numbers of abortions.

The significant La Trobe University study, Sex in Australia, found that over 40 per cent of survey respondents condoms used them ineffectively. This has implications also for sexually transmitted diseases, as well as unwanted pregnancy.

Perhaps education campaigns aren’t as effective as some people think … and, dare I suggest such a thought? … the public funding of abortion, as opposed to private funding of contraception, has perhaps led to some complacency for some people in relation to family planning. (It’s anecdotal, but I personally know people who fall into this category).

It is completely understandable that women in vulnerable and unsupported situations opt for an abortion in the absence of an alternative, and I am not for a moment suggesting that we return to the days of ‘backyard abortions’ or that Medicare funding should be withdrawn. However, the South Australian government has the right idea in publishing detailed abortion figures – at least then public policy can be targeted towards achievable goals.

The views proffered by Abbott, Pyne, Cadman,, and the proposed ‘debate’ that appears to receive veiled support from Howard, need not be a pro-choice versus pro-life stoush. Instead it could be about looking for effective policy solutions to preventing unwanted pregnancies before they occur.

Female policy analyst subscriber

Milton Cockburn – hypocrite

Interesting to see Milton Cockburns letter to you and his claim for ‘checking first’ over the Brisbane Airport decision. What a hypocrite!

His recent article printed in the Shopping Centre News titled “ARA – What Went Wrong” was poorly researched on the basis that he missed critical insights from the real operators deeply involved in the current imbroglio, including myself as the current president of the ARA who was not even consulted for his out of date assessment of the current state of play.

It is clearly evident in this article that Miltons bread is buttered by the shopping centre interests and others, and his spin is designed to be hurtful to overall retailers interests, and grist for his masters mill.

His reporting in this article shows clearly exposes his main informants, as the reporting conclusions are clearly outdated by two years when the RAQ, now an opposition retail body to the ARA, the National Retailers Association, left the table to pursue their own ends, as well as possibly the out of contract and disaffected ARA CEO.

It is lamentable that he bemoans a further split in the ranks of retailers hurting the future of his masters, the Shopping Centre owners. Even Brer Rabbit didn’t go that far thankfully to his credit.

Crikey is the vehicle to expose the bullsh***ers, and if your new owners avoid this obligation, then they have blown their investment.

Peter Sheppard
Australian Retailers Association

Does Bono know what minimum wages are?

I find Bono’s sanctimonius posing frustrating for one very personal reason. My then-watress girlfriend attended to the great man and a table full of minions/acolytes at one of Dublin’s posher bars for a full afternoon, serving up (she estimated) over 100 drinks. And the tip that the greatest giver of them all could come up with? 10 Euro. I realise that being an African AIDS orphan is most likely no barrel of laughs (not being one, I can only assume) but trying to survive on minimum wages in Europe’s second most expensive city is hardly a walk in the park either. And it’s not like he’s short of a quid either. Give me good old fashioned crack smoking, supermodel shagging rock stars like Pete Doherty any day of the week.

Rory cahill

Bono’s religious make-up

In regards to the article, Simple Minds: when rock stars attack, Bono is not Catholic, unless he has recently converted. His Dad was Catholic and his Mum Protestant. Bono, himself was raised as a Protestant.

David Atkins

Why some Irish are no fans of Bono

Perhaps you might like to know that many Irish people including myself are not particularly fond of that pretentious wanker Bono aka Paul Hewson of Dublin.

Throughout the years he is often to be found speaking up for oppressed and downtrodden peoples from all over the world. But never has he spoken out about the plight of the nationalist (ie Catholic) people in Northern Ireland who were treated pretty badly by Britain (in the eyes of many Irish people) for many years especially in the 60s and 70s.

And then there was the episode when Bono tore up the Irish national flag on stage during a concert in the late 80s – needless to say this didn’t go down well.

Admittedly there are many Irish people fond of the band and its music but at the same time there are many people in Ireland who dislike the self-serving prat. Give me Bob Geldof any day!

Paddy Whacker