The following comes from a first hand account of former Australian immigration agent working at the Manus Island detention facility for asylum seekers trying to reach Australia by boat. The Australian government has subcontracted with the government of PNG to locate the facility on the Island. Both Liberal and Labor governments have and are engaged in behaviour on a par with the stolen generations. I wonder how long it will take for a future government to apologise? Absolutely shameful.
Candles lit at Sydney’s Light The Dark vigil for slain asylum seeker Reza Berati (AAP).
Ms Thompson is the first staff member to publicly resign from Manus Island following a recent outbreak of violence which left one dead.
She was originally bought in to conduct refugee-assessment interviews and claims she was told to tell inmates their only option was resettlement in Papua New Guinea.
Ms Thompson said she knew their only option was indefinite detention, and so did they.
“I would not go back because there is no process, nothing for me to do, no process to assist people with – it’s fake,” she said.
“It’s not designed as a processing facility, it’s designed as an experiment in the active creation of horror to deter people from trying in the first place.”
The allegations come as the Immigration Department faced questions on the recent riots from a Senate Committee.
The department head described detainees pushing down fences and throwing rocks before police discharged a gas canister and fired warning shots.
Immigration and border protection secretary Martin Bowles said work was needed to uncover what happened.
“There are a range of other reports, there are interviews that need to happen with the independent reviewer to start to work through the myriad of information that’s out there,” he said.
The Greens remained sceptical that it took several days to find out what had been reported in the media, while Opposition Leader Bill Shorten continued to put pressure on the immigration minister.
“What Tony Abbott does with his ministers is a matter for him, but clearly the high-jump bar is pretty low for ministerial responsibility,” Mr Shorten said.
But Tony Abbott defended Scott Morrison’s record.
“I think in the last three-and-a-half years, there have been five ministers for immigration. Four have failed, one has succeeded… the current minister for immigration and border protection,” he said.
Mr Morrison has refused to confirm the latest reports that a group of asylum seekers were returned to Indonesia in an Australian-provided lifeboat.
According to letters tabled in the Senate by the assistant immigration minister, the government spent $2.5 million on them.