Delusional public servant loses compensation claim for stress-induced depression

A former public servant who sustained work-related, stress-induced depression and has been described as delusional has had her compensation claim dismissed by the Federal Court of Australia.

The woman, who worked with the Australian Bureau of Statistics in Canberra, was initially awarded compensation and referred to rehabilitation, with a return-to-work plan developed, which ceased in May 1993.

But the compensation payments were cancelled when the employee took a voluntary redundancy in September 1994 and Comcare refused to reinstate them, despite her insistence.

The woman contested the ruling before the Australian Administrative Tribunal, which found she suffered from a delusional disorder produced by a disease of unknown aetiology, unrelated to her employment.

The woman launched fresh proceedings before the tribunal and then challenged the decision in the Federal Court, claiming the principal judge had failed to review the facts.

According to the judgment, the woman had claimed a forensic psychiatrist had been working in the ACT without legal qualification and with the sanction of the ACT Health Minister.


She also claimed an unlawful organisation had been established by the ACT administration to control access to the health professions, and had removed one of her medical witnesses from practice.

The woman alleged false and misleading information was submitted in relation to her injury, with the intent to deny liability.

She also alleged a forensic psychiatrist, whose ethics had been criticised by a NSW Supreme Court judge, had provided advice to Comcare on false reports and posed "an ongoing threat to the health and safety of the appellant".

But the Federal Court judges ruled that none of her appeals had any substance and the case was dismissed. The woman was ordered to pay Comcare's legal costs.