Former social worker with what was the Northern Rivers Area Health Service, Betty Graham-Higgs, has told national media that Vi
Former social worker with what was the Northern Rivers Area Health Service, Betty Graham-Higgs, has told national media that Vi

Revelations into deportation case

By AAP and HEATH GILMORE

A FORMER Lismore social worker, Betty Graham-Higgs, has told how Vivian Alvarez, the Australian citizen wrongly deported, had been found 'lying in a sort of gutter'.

"She couldn't walk and she never walked when she was in Lismore Base Hospital," she told ABC TV.

"The only way she could have been injured like that is if she was beaten up."

The interview with Ms Graham-Higgs, who is believed to have retired from the former Northern Rivers Area Health Service, contradicted reports that Ms Alvarez had been injured in a car accident before her deportation.

Richmond Local Area Police commander Superintendent Bruce Lyons said his officers had searched for records involving Ms Alvarez after the claims emerged early this week, but came up empty.

Supt Lyons did say officers had learned Ms Alvarez was handed to Queensland social services officers after being picked up by that state's transit police.

Labor is continuing to push for a Royal Commission to examine the case of Ms Alvarez, who was deported to the Philippines four years ago.

Mr Beazley said the case was 'well and truly beyond a joke' and Labor was committed to pressuring for a royal commission.

"This is now simply an outrage," Mr Beazley said.

"I don't know what's going on in the Department of Immigration at the moment, but what has been teased up at the moment is a shocking story ? that's an extremely bad one, the Cornelia Rau case is an extremely bad one, and there are apparently 30-odd other pretty bad ones."

Vivian Alvarez was found this week in a convent in the north of the Philippines after being wrongly deported in 2001.

Her case follows that of Ms Rau, an Australian resident who was mistakenly held in detention for 10 months, including a period at the Baxter detention centre.

Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone has referred Ms Alvarez's case to a closed-door government inquiry into the Rau case.

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