Cornelia Rau and Vivian Solon – Photos, David Mariuz and AP
Eddie David walked into Centrelink for financial assistance to
undertake tuition but when his details were typed into the database an
alert was flagged. The Department of Immigration were contacted. Mr
David was hit with the allegation of being in breach of a visa –
overstaying. However Mr David insisted they were mistaken and that he is
Australian born and bred and of Torres Strait Islander origin. His
protestations did not matter and he is detained at Yongah Hill detention
centre, an hour north of Perth.
If what 39 year old Mr David said is true then it indicts the whole
Immigration system – how could they make such an error? How robust is
Immigration’s information gathering? Importantly why should it be
possible to detain someone without substantive and qualified evidence,
without a court appearance? The case of this man is reminiscent of the
ten month long detainment of Cornelia Rau.
Ms Rau was an Australian permanent resident who was mistaken as
having overstayed her visa. Therefore she was unlawfully detained by
Immigration between 2004 and 2005. A few years earlier, in 2001, Vivian
Alvarez Solon was wrongfully deported to the Philippines. Ms Solon was
in fact an Australian.
How does the Department of Immigration get it so wrong?
Mr David has not been charged. His detainment Kafkaesque. The Refugee
Rights Action Network (RRAN) has been supporting him. They have secured
him a lawyer. They are calling for his release.
RRAN spokesperson, Victoria Martin-Iverson said, “His ordeal began
when he went into Centrelink offices in Perth to try and get some
funding to take some classes.”
“Somehow his name was flagged in their system and immigration was contacted and they have detained him.”
“(Immigration) insisted he was an Indian man and showed him a picture
of an adolescent Indian they said was a picture of him as a child – a
man they claim arrived in Australia over 30 years ago. He is being
detained under that name at Yongah Hill IDC.”
“Incredibly he claims this is the second time he has been so detained
after attending a Centrelink office, having been previously confused by
immigration with the same Indian man. On the previous occasion he was
detained for several days at Perth Immigration detention centre and
released with an apology,” said Ms Martin-Iverson.
Mr David insists he is a Torres Strait Islander, hailing from the
Murray Islands – as did Eddie Mabo. He is well known to Aboriginal
He insists that he is a victim of the Stolen Generations and that he
grew up in the brutality of missions – including Davenport Mission,
outside of Port Augusta.
“(Immigration) has failed to provide any evidence that this man was
the 13 year old in the photo they presented to him,” said Ms
It is abominable, but not unprecedented, that the Department of the
Immigration has failed to investigate his claims as to his upbringing in
If Immigration is using some sort of facial recognition technology
well it is not the first time technology that they have relied on has
abysmally failed them. A few years ago the Australian Federal Police
were arresting cooks and deckhands from boats of asylum seekers and
charging them as people smugglers. They age tested them with a wrist
bone age scan, that had little guarantee of getting the age right. As a
result Australia incarcerated scores of Indonesian minors in adult
prisons, as young as 13 years of age.
“The mistaken detention of an Australian citizen by a department that
operates without restraint or suitable checks and balances is utterly
appalling and underscores the dangers of the entire system of mandatory
detention. A system whereby persons are deemed guilty and detained
without the involvement of the courts or any external authority is
inevitably going to lead to this sort of error and violation of the
principles of natural justice,” said Ms Martin-Iverson.
ABC journalist Nicolas Perpitch interviewed Mr David.
“I shouldn’t be in this detention centre. If it was a fraud they
should have put me in the cell, in the lock-up, in the jail, not a
detention centre” said Mr David to Mr Perpitch.
“I’m not a refugee and I’m not an immigrant. I am Aboriginal. I am an Australian citizen, born and bred of this land.”
But the Department of Immigration and Border Patrol insist that they have got it right.
“The Department detained an individual claiming to be an Australian
citizen, following a thorough investigation by which the department was
fully satisfied that he is an unlawful non-citizen.”
If they are wrong, how much else for how many others have they got wrong?
How will I start this? Should I post Tagalog post instead of English? Why am I asking this to you guys, the reason is… some of the blogger’s here in tumblr. might say that I’m a filipino and I’m posting blog’s in english. You know other tumblr. bloggers “I don’t care if i write and type in English”, That’s me and I cannot change who the way I write my blogs. I’m used to write and type in English, so Please I Hope you guys understand why do I write in English… Plus many of my followers are from different countries which have different nationalities, languages, plus cultures. And the world’s national language is English, that is why I’m blogging and typing with this language. This is also a respect for my followers, if they don’t understand our language (w/c is tagalog) how can they understand my posts/blogs? See the benefits of writing in english?
My opinion here is, I don’t care what language you write on your blog. But the problem is some blogger is so fucking stupid who told me that I don’t need to type in english. So pls. do understand, THANK YOU :)
“I just want respect from you, no need to argue with this, this is what I want. This is my blog, so you don’t care if I write in English…”