Steve at war again in fight for justice for son

VIETNAM veteran Steve Raabe could be forgiven for wondering how many wars he has to fight.

Two generations ago, he fought for Australia and for what he believed was justice, but now he fears there will be no such justice for his dead son, Craig.

At 73, he finds himself worn down by the legal institutions of a nation that does not seem to care.

Craig died at 42 when Cyclone George tore across the West Australian coastline in March, 2007, blowing apart the mining camp donga in which he had been told to take shelter.

Steve and his sister Carolyn Starr say the donga was no match for the fearful 275kmh winds the cyclone brought with it.

Yesterday, Mr Raabe told The Gympie Times he had always felt as a soldier that he was fighting for Australian values, including a fair go and some degree of justice for all.

Mr Raabe wants an inquest into Craig's death, with witnesses subject to cross examination.

He says he was promised such an inquest by the former West Australian coroner, who retired in November.

But his replacement had indicated one would only be held if she could be satisfied it was "in the public interest".

Mr Raabe's case has made news in Western Australia, including in the major metropolitan daily, Perth's The West Australian and the magazine Australian Mining.

Mr Raabe wants answers to questions, including about the dongas in which his son and co-workers sheltered and the decision not to evacuate employees.

The mine owner was cleared of any wrongdoing and mines were found to be exempt from the Occupational Health and Safety Act, Mr Raabe said.

Gympie Times

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