Solon lawyers push for negotiated settlement


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23-05-2005 10:21 AM



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23-05-2005 10:21 AM


Broadcast date 20.5.05


23-05-2005 11:07 AM

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2005-05-23 10:21:57

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RUDD, Kevin, (Former Prime Minister)




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Solon lawyers push for negotiated settlement -

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Solon lawyers push for negotiated settlement

Reporter: Narda Gilmore

TONY JONES: A senior officer from Centrelink has been sent to the Philippines to begin coordinating
the homecoming of the wrongly deported Australian woman Vivian Solon. The Government says Ms Solon
will be given whatever support she needs, but there are still no details of what compensation will
be offered. Ms Solon's lawyers are pushing for a negotiated settlement to avoid a drawn-out court
battle. From Canberra, Narda Gilmore reports.

NARDA GILMORE: Vivian Solon wants to return to Australia as soon possible. She's now waiting for
medical clearance to fly home. Her lawyer says when she gets here, she'll need immediate care.

GEORGE NEWHOUSE, LAWYER: She has disabilities. I mean, she needs help. We aren't entirely sure of
the nature of those injuries because she's still being assessed.

AMANDA VANSTONE, FEDERAL MINISTER FOR IMMIGRATION: We made it very clear that we would, of course,
bring her back and we've also made it clear that we'll arrange for proper support when she arrives.

NARDA GILMORE: A senior Centrelink officer will arrive in Manila tonight to meet with Vivian Solon,
to discuss her support needs and arrange her journey home. The Immigration Minister won't give any
details of what compensation might be offered to Ms Solon.

AMANDA VANSTONE: We'll have those discussions with her and with her solicitors. We're not going to
do it through the media.

KEVIN RUDD, OPPOSITION FOREIGN AFFAIRS SPOKESMAN: I don't trust the Federal Government on this
question at all. The Federal Government, through Amanda Vanstone, has shown contempt, disinterest
and disdain for this case.

NARDA GILMORE: Vivian Solon's lawyer wants the matter kept out of the courts to avoid what could be
a lengthy legal battle.

GEORGE NEWHOUSE: Let's appoint a mediator, an independent mediator, to start to start resolving the
issues around Vivian's compensation.

NARDA GILMORE: Former federal police commissioner Mick Palmer expects his investigation into Ms
Solon's case to take some time yet, but he's released a statement saying his inquiry into the
wrongful detention of Cornelia Rau is more advanced, and he expects to hand that report to the
Minister within 4 weeks. Amanda Vanstone says Mr Palmer's recommendations will be made public, but
she'll wait to read his report before deciding whether to release it in full. The Minister
acknowledges there have been mistakes and is already flagging possible changes to immigration law.

AMANDA VANSTONE: We may need to look at the Act. There are sections of the Act that don't allow
officers flexibility, which may be a good thing for them to have, so we will have a look at that.

KEVIN RUDD: There's something rotten in the system. There's something rotten in the Howard
Government's policy on this.

NARDA GILMORE: Labor says a royal commission would establish exactly where the problems lie.