Visa Bob‘s Dept Ruins Yet Another Life
Mr Bob Correll,
Department of Immigration, Citizenship and Wrongful Detention
(You don’t mind me calling you
Shit, do you Bob, do you?)
You and I go way back, Bob, and I know this will seem out of character to you but … I know it’s wrong. I know I shouldn’t. But unlovely as it is, Bob, I can’t help this feeling of smug superiority (you know, that feeling you always have, Bob, when it comes to other people).
Yet another “very bad event, a serious administrative error and a terrible circumstance,” according to Foreign Affairs Minister, Stephen Smith; the wrongful detention of Van Phuc Nguyen, a permanent resident who was detained in 2002 and held in Sydney’s Villawood Detention Centre for more than three years. Immigration officials – your officials, Bob – at Sydney airport did not recognise his visa – your visa, Bob.
How “holier than thou” are you feeling at the moment, Bob? The longest term of wrongful detention in recent history according to the Ombudsman? Yet another appalling miscarriage of justice perpetrated by your department and brought to light
Indeed, far from pursuing the decent and ethical thing to do, let alone the right and the humane action to take, according to the Ombudsman your department engaged instead in (typical-public-service-arse-covering) legal debate about your options. And so poorly does your department understand moral standards that still it offers only a pittance in compensation for your department’s incompetence – $70,000 for the theft of three years of an innocent person’s life (less $12,000 for the government’s own legal costs, of course).
How much do you
earn get paid, Bob? How much does the DIC head, Andrew Metcalf, earn? [About a quarter of it, as the joke goes?] It’s hard to find out but certainly more than $200,000 and probably in at least the $300,000 vicinity.
Do you recall telling me smugly about “the important business managed by the Department”? Do you recall telling me in your patronising way about your deep concern for “Australia’s reputation overseas“? I certainly recall your telling me that you considered my website “offensive”. And how can I ever forget your bullying threats of legal action under Sections 53 (c) (d) and (eb) of the Trade Practices Act 1974, Section 68 of the Crimes Act 1914 and Section 39(2) of the Trade Marks Act 1995.
Well, Bob, so much for the Important Business Managed By Your Department. It wasn’t managed at all, was it? So much for Australia’s Reputation Overseas, or your department’s reputation at home. And Bob? I find your department’s clearly-evidenced inhumane, incompetent, arrogant attitude towards human beings far more offensive than you could ever find my website.
I am not a lawyer Bob, and neither, clearly, are you, but Joe Public – not to mention Van Phuc Nguyen – is entitled to question your department’s capacity to carry out its duties. He is entitled to question the justification of departmental officials to their juicy salaries. He might well ask,
“If the department has so comprehensively, so frequently and so predictably failed to manage its responsibilities, are departmental officials, or the department itself, represented by its senior executives, therefore subject to legal action for misfeasance¹? And might mandamus² be sought against the Department because of the department’s incompetence? If the Ombudsman has determined that Nguyen’s detention was “wrongful” then shouldn’t Nguyen, rather than being offered some insultingly token compensation by the department, be awarded punitive damages by a court?”
You gave a speech in 2007, Bob, in which you said,
… on our website, the department currently lists ‘seven important things you should do as soon as possible after arriving in Australia’:
1. Apply for a Tax File Number (TFN)
2. Register with Medicare
3. Open a bank account
4. Register with Centrelink
5. Register for English Classes
6. Enrol Your Children in School
7. Apply for a Driver’s Licence
You should have added:
8. Apply for release from Villawood.
Hey Bob! Why don’t you resign?
¹ When a party fails to perform at all, it is nonfeasance. When a party performs the duty inadequately or poorly, it is misfeasance. …The terms misfeasance and nonfeasance are most often used…with reference to the discharge of…statutory obligations; and it is an established rule that an action lies in favour of persons injured by misfeasance, i.e. by negligence in discharge of the duty…The courts can find evidence of carelessness in the discharge of public duties and on that basis award damages to individuals who have suffered thereby.
² “Mandamus is provided for by Section 75(v) of the Australian Constitution. The duty sought to be enforced must have two qualities: It must be a duty of public nature and the duty must be imperative and should not be discretionary.”
[tags]Bob Correll, Andrew Metcalf, DIC, DIAC, Immigration, Immigration Department, detention, immigration detention, Cornelia Rau, Nguyen, misfeasance, nonfeasance, mandamus, legal, law, Villawood, visa, residency, permanent resident, Australian Constitution, Australian Citizenship, values, Australian values, Australian politics, politics, government, politics and government, government and politics, bureaucracy, public service, political values, Australian political values, Australian legal values, ethics, morals, standards, principles, costs, worth, compensation, damages[/tags]
Posted: 4 October, 2009 in Aussie Citizenship, Australian Politics, Australian Values, Immigration, legal, politics and government.
Tags: Australian Citizenship, Australian Constitution, Australian legal values, Australian political values, Australian Politics, Australian Values, Bob Correll, bureaucracy, compensation, Cornelia Rau, costs, damages, detention, DIAC, DIC, ethics, government, government and politics, Immigration, Immigration Department, immigration detention, law, legal, mandamus, misfeasance, morals, Nguyen, nonfeasance, permanent resident, political values, politics, politics and government, principles, public service, residency, standards, values, Villawood, visa, worth, wrongful detention