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Relatives angered by no charges over Malu Sar -

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PETER CAVE: In February a Queensland coroner found five people died in a Torres Strait boat
disaster because both state and federal agencies didn't do their jobs.

Despite the findings in the Malu Sara case no-one's been charged over the deaths but now one family
is seeking some legal redress.

John Saub's daughter Valerie died after bailing out of the leaky Immigration Department boat in
2005. He's now launched compensation claims on behalf of his daughter's four children.

But the remote communities rocked by the tragedy say the matter won't be resolved until criminal
charges are laid.

In Brisbane, Nicole Butler reports.

NICOLE BUTLER: It's been four years since two men, two women and a five-year-old child died in the
Torres Strait in an Immigration Department boat called the Malu Sara.

In February the Queensland Coroner found the five had been victims of a terrible chain of events
from the purchase of an unseaworthy boat to a flawed search and rescue effort.

Valerie Saub was one of the victims. Her father John Saub has been caring for her four children and
he's now seeking compensation.

Laura Neil is the family's lawyer.

LAURA NEIL: It's a compensation claim which is what we call a dependency claim for the benefit of
the children. At this stage we haven't put a figure on that.

NICOLE BUTLER: And who is the claim lodged against? Is it the Federal Department of Immigration?

LAURA NEIL: It's been lodged against them, yes, as well as the Queensland Police, the Maritime
Safety Authority and the Australian Maritime Safety Authority as well as Subsea which is the
company responsible for the construction of the boat.

Mrs Neil says she expects the other victims' families will follow suit and seek compensation but
she says grieving relatives are most upset that no criminal charges have been laid.

LAURA NEIL: That's a huge concern for the families. In fact it's the primary concern. The families
are still very shocked and dismayed that no charges have been laid or even taking a step back from
that, that no real investigation seems to have been done beyond the coroner's report.

So the aim in making the claims is to give the families some sort of redress where the criminal
justice system doesn't seem to be stepping up.

NICOLE BUTLER: The North Queensland lawyer says the victims' families have been lobbying both the
Commonwealth and the State Departments of Public Prosecutions but nothing has happened.

LAURA NEIL: Badu Island being a very small community that you can imagine it's affected not only
the immediate family members but the entire community. And to have this ongoing, there's no real
closure for them, there's no real justice that they can see as a result of the loss of five of
their family and community members.

NICOLE BUTLER: Mark Bousen is editor of the Torres News. He says the fact no criminal charges have
been laid has bred some distrust of authorities amongst locals.

MARK BOUSEN: The coroner made these damning findings against the Police Department, against
immigration, against the boat builder, against (inaudible), against a whole range of individuals
and government departments and it's been to just perish in its own right. Nothing's happened.

NICOLE BUTLER: Is it a matter of race or is it a matter of out of sight out of mind?

MARK BOUSEN: I think it's both. Clearly the Torres Strait is at the far end of the country. It's
certainly out of sight out of mind. I think it's too hard for the relevant government departments
to deal with because they have nowhere to go with it other than that they were guilty and found
hopelessly incompetent and inadequate in their dealings with the matter.

NICOLE BUTLER: Last month the ABC's Four Corners program featured the Malu Sara disaster. Mr Bousen
says that prompted a huge and unexpected outpouring of support for the community.

MARK BOUSEN: And they're all as one. You know, why has there nothing been done about it. You know
and there are people out there who knew nothing about it until they saw the Four Corners episode
who are now pursing the matter. They're writing to the politicians, they're lobbying, they're
ringing them.

NICOLE BUTLER: But Mr Bousen says the lobbyists say they've had no replies from authorities. He and
the Saub family lawyer says the State and Commonwealth DPPs are well aware of the Malu Sara case.

Both offices failed to return calls by The World Today.