Monday, May 23, 2005
Ms Rau talks!
Saw Ms Rau at her press conference on several news shows tonight.
Interesting to note that all reporters made the comment that her statement was at times "rambling" or "hard to follow", and that she denied she had ever been mentally ill.
Why then did they not let us hear any of those parts in her own voice? Instead, all focused on her more rational statements, including the claim for compensation; that she had been locked in a cage like an animal...etc.
The nearest I saw to any hint of madness from her own mouth was her answering the question "why did you keep giving false names" with "I had my reasons". Yes, a strong hint of madness there...but she sounded and looked relatively sane while she said it.
Look, there are a couple of obvious lessons from the Rau and Solon cases:
1. Our system for nationally co-ordinating Missing Persons reports seems pretty crappy, and needs to be made truely national (within hours of reporting) and easy to use for all government authorities at all levels. Just spend a few million bucks setting that up, John Howard, with some face recognition software thrown in, and you will be on a winner.
2. Mental health services are also pretty crappy, but this is pretty much entirely a State issue. (With the exception of the need to ensure the operators of detention centres start paying more attention to when fellow inmates start worrying about the mental health of one of thier own, and get the person checked faster than it took in Rau's case.)
3. Immigration officials have to start checking the new, you-beaut, centralised and computerised missing persons data base before they deport, not after.
4. It kinda helps if relatives of the mentally ill report said missing relative a bit faster than the 5 of 6 months months it took Cornelia's sister to do it. Boy, was that glossed over quickly in the Four Corners story a few weeks ago. Blink and you would've missed it.
None of this stuff is going to dint the Federal government's popularity, cos most voters recognise that mad people who persistently give false names sometimes end up being on the receiving end of serious mistakes and less than perfect administrative decisions.
Can't wait to see what Margo Kingston's crowd say about the interview. More gnashing of teeth I am sure.