This is the front page story of today’s Sydney Daily Telegraph (surprised the lead isn’t about Lady Gaga or welfare mothers on crack robbing homeless men):
Dozens of asylum seekers are on the run, with fears they are being supported by underground networks.
Of the 47 people to have escaped last year, 12 had been located by the security firm contracted to run the Immigration Department’s detention centres but officials have no idea where the remaining 35 are.
They include one detainee who escaped while on an escorted trip to a bowling alley, and another on an excursion to a suburban aquarium.
That followed only weeks after three Chinese nationals broke out of Sydney’s Villawood detention centre. None of them have been seen again.
The numbers also include six more people who escaped Villawood in May 2010, and a lone man who broke custody while on a trip to a bowling alley in August.
The situation has become almost embarrassing for the company contracted to run the detention facilities, Serco, with the number of excursions doubling last year to 4016.
The Immigration Department has issued fines to Serco for several escapes, claiming the breakouts had been a breach of the contract conditions. It also noted that in 2001 there had been 157 escapes.
As if this story would even exist if the refugees were nice, white people from England.
Besides, my sources inside Villawood say that there is an ongoing theatre between the Immigration Department and Serco, both needing the other and yet publicly sometimes expressing frustration with the other.
What privatised detention is doing to Australia.