Commission Of Audit Interrogated By Senate Select Committee

Members of the Abbott government’s Commission of Audit appeared before a Senate Select Committee today.

Committee

The Commission of Audit was established by the government on October 13.

On December 11, the Senate established a Select Committee to inquire into the Commission of Audit and any reports it makes to the government. [Read more…]


Howard Reshuffle; Vanstone, Hardgrave Sacked; Turnbull Into Cabinet

The Prime Minister, John Howard, has sacked Amanda Vanstone and Gary Hardgrave and promoted Malcolm Turnbull and Joe Hockey in a reshuffle of his ministry that is more wide-ranging than expected.

Senator Amanda Vanstone, the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, has been sacked from Cabinet and the ministry. Her department is to be renamed Immigration and Citizenship and will be taken over by Kevin Andrews. Andrews is replaced as Minister for Workplace Relations by Joe Hockey, who moves into the Cabinet.

The Minister for Vocational and Technical Education, Gary Hardgrave, has also been sacked. His position is taken by Andrew Robb who is promoted from parliamentary secretary to Minister for Vocational and Further Education.

The big winner in the reshuffle is Malcolm Turnbull, who leaps from a parliamentary secretary’s position into the Cabinet as Minister for Environment and Water Resources. [Read more…]


ABC Deletes Eastley’s Comments From Transcript And Tape

Tony Eastley, compere of AMAn “inappropriate” comment by Tony Eastley, compere of ABC radio’s morning current affairs program AM, has been excised from the transcript and tape on the ABC website.

Eastley’s interview with the Immigration Minister, Senator Amanda Vanstone, concerned the circumstances surrounding the deportation of an Australian citizen, Vivian Alvarez Solon, to the Philippines.

Eastley made a reference to Vivian Alvarez Solon being “dropped off” by Australian immigration officials. He interposed the remark, “the car was still moving perhaps”.

Vanstone seized on the remark and castigated Eastley. [Read more…]


Vanstone Announces Details Of Cornelia Rau Inquiry

Senator Amanda Vanstone, Minister for ImmigrationThe Minister for Immigration, Senator Amanda Vanstone, has announced details of an inquiry into the detention of Cornelia Rau.

The inquiry will be conducted by the former Australian Federal Police Commissioner, Mick Palmer.

Cornelia Rau spent six months in the Brisbane Women’s Correctional Centre and another four months in the Baxter detention centre in South Australia. An Australian citizen, Rau suffers from mental illness. The failure of assessment and treatment of her mental condition by police and immigration authorities is at the heart of the controversy surrounding her detention. The issue of mandatory detention of asylum seekers and illegal immigrants has also been highlighted again by Rau’s experience.

Vanstone announced the inquiry at a press conference in Canberra. Facing persistent questioning from journalists, she repeatedly used the expression “with respect” when responding during the 40-minute encounter.

  • Listen to Vanstone’s press conference.
    PLAY

This is the text of a media release from the Minister for Immigration, Senator Amanda Vanstone.

Cornelia Rau Inquiry

Minister for Immigration, Senator Amanda Vanstone, today announced details of the inquiry into the Cornelia Rau case.

The Minister said former Australian Federal Police Commissioner, Mick Palmer AO APM, would conduct the inquiry.

‘Mr Palmer is a distinguished former Australian Federal Police Commissioner who has served over 30 years in both the State /Territory and Federal areas of policing within Australia,’ Senator Vanstone said.

‘Mr Palmer has also been Australia’s representative for Asia on Interpol’s Executive Committee.

‘I am sure all those with an interest in the Cornelia Rau case will recognise Mr Palmer’s breadth of experience within policing and the public sector and welcome him as an appropriate, independent person to conduct the inquiry.’

The Minister also released the terms of reference for the inquiry.

‘The terms of reference ensure that the inquiry will be as broad as possible, while ensuring the central issues relating to the detention of Ms Rau and interaction between Commonwealth and State agencies, particularly police and mental health providers, are considered promptly,’ the Minister said.

‘We will discuss with Mr Palmer the provision of appropriate mental health expertise to assist him in his inquiry.

‘While I understand that some in the community are suggesting the inquiry should be conducted in public, I have requested that Mr Palmer conduct his investigation privately, with his findings to be released publicly.

‘As well as protecting the privacy of Ms Rau, the nature of the inquiry will ensure the report can be completed as quickly as possible and that it is not used by those with agendas outside of the scope of this inquiry. I want to ensure that Ms Rau’s personal circumstances are not misused. Public inquiries always present that opportunity.

‘I have asked Mr Palmer to report to me by March 24, 2005.’

Terms of Reference

The Inquiry will investigate, examine and report on matters relating to the case of Cornelia Rau, including in particular the actions of DIMIA and relevant state agencies, during the period March 2004 to February 2005.

In particular the Inquiry will:

  • examine and make findings on the sequence of events that gave rise to her being held in immigration detention;
  • examine and make findings on the circumstances, actions and procedures which resulted in her remaining unidentified during the period in question;
  • examine and make findings on measures taken to deal with her medical condition and other care needs during that period;
  • examine and make findings on the systems and processes of, and co-operation between, relevant state and commonwealth agencies in relation to identification/location of missing persons and provision of mental health services; and
  • recommend any necessary systems/process improvements.

The Inquiry will need to request the support and co-operation of relevant state agencies.

The Inquiry will report by 24 March 2005.


Vanstone Holds Press Conference On Cornelia Rau Detention

The Minister for Immmigration, Senator Amanda Vanstone, has held a press conference to discuss the detention of Cornelia Rau.

Rau, a German citizen and permanent resident of Australia was detained during 2004 and 2005 under the government’s mandatory detention program. She was held at the Brisbane Women’s Correctional Centre and the Baxter Detention Centre.

Rau suffered mental illness. She refused to reveal her identity and was classified as a suspected illegal immigrant by the Immigration Department. [Read more…]


Howard Government Ministerial Reshuffle

Prime Minister John Howard has reshuffled his ministry, following the departure of three ministers.

The ministers departing are Senator Jocelyn Newman, John Moore and Senator John Herron.

The changes see Peter Reith become Defence Minister, whilst Senator Amanda Vanstone becomes Minister for Family and Community Services. Tony Abbott becomes Minister for Employment, Workplace Relations and Small Business.

Text of statement released by the Prime Minister, John Howard, announcing changes to the federal ministry.

The departure from the Ministry of three senior, long serving colleagues will result in a significant restructuring of the Ministry. [Read more…]


Alexander Downer And Peter Costello Win Liberal Party Leadership

Alexander Downer won the leadership of the Liberal Party after challenging John Hewson at a partyroom meeting on May 23, 1994.

Downer defeated Hewson by 43 votes to 36. Peter Costello was elected unopposed as deputy leader, replacing Michael Wooldridge.

Hewson had been leader of the Liberal Party since April 1990. He succeeded Andrew Peacock, following the party’s defeat in that year’s federal election. Hewson led the Liberal Party to defeat in the 1993 election. He survived in office for another year before he succumbed to leadership speculation and called a leadership ballot. [Read more…]