Last week we ran a story questioning the ABC’s decision to remove a
flippant remark by Tony Eastley from the website transcript of his
interview with Amanda Vanstone on the Vivian Alvarez Solon case. Over the
weekend we’ve received a handful of interesting emails on the subject,
including this one containing the remarks removed by the censors at the

EASTLEY: This woman has been lost for four years. Your
officials dropped her off, by all accounts, dropped her off – the car
was still moving perhaps – and no records have been kept as to where
she was left in the Philippines, Minister.

SENATOR VANSTONE: With respect, with respect…

EASTLEY: It’s quite an extraordinary case.

VANSTONE: … to what you’re just – what you’ve just said is
extraordinary. It is extraordinary. You said she was dropped off by all
accounts. On your own admission it’s by the account of one person who
realised two days ago who she was and has [indistinct] …

EASTLEY: So you’re happy with the way this case has been handled, is that what you’re saying?

VANSTONE: … conversations. No, I haven’t, I haven’t said that. I think
it’s extraordinary that the ABC would make a suggestion that someone
was dropped off when a car was moving. It is indicative of an attitude,
but I’ll refrain from saying any more than that. The record does show
what happened. The record shows she was returned to the Philippines and
was met at the airport by the Overseas Women’s Welfare Association.
That’s what the record shows.

EASTLEY: And from there, no record kept of where she went?

VANSTONE: I don’t have advice that there is a subsequent record from
that. But of course at the time, when people were of the view that she
was a citizen of the Philippines, there would not be a further record

EASTLEY: All right, we’ll leave it there. Senator Amanda Vanstone, the immigration minister.

VANSTONE: Well I’d like to say thank you, but the suggestion from the
ABC that the Australian Government would drop someone out of a moving
car leaves me speechless.

EASTLEY: It was a comment said in jest, which was probably not appropriate.

SENATOR VANSTONE: Jest? On a matter like this? Help me please. I don’t think this is funny.

EASTLEY: Well it’s unbelievable, the entire story anyway as it goes.

SENATOR VANSTONE: It is a very difficult story. It is a very, very difficult situation.

It sure is – for Eastley, who had this to say at the end of the program:

And before we go just a clarification on a comment made during the
interview with Senator Amanda Vanstone: It’s of course no indication
that Ms Alvarez was mistreated by Immigration Department officials when
she was dropped off in the Philippines. I didn’t mean it in any other

You can read readers comment on the ABC’s handling of the comments on the Crikey website here.