Canberra should ditch Serco and offer support for people not firms

This is what Australia has created. A militarised and privatised system to house asylum seekers. Christmas Island remains in a state of heightened tension.

The Australian offers a little more information about the state of dysfunction between the federal government and British multinational Serco:

While private security firm Serco has come under scrutiny for understaffing that left the centre vulnerable, The Australian has been told the AFP officers were posted to the detention centre after a brawl there between Afghan and Sri Lankan asylum-seekers in November 2009. They worked closely with Serco’s sole intelligence analyst, training him in how to predict and prevent riots.

After a period of calm, the AFP officers were withdrawn from the centre and the island. Soon after, the intelligence analyst also left his job. His replacements have not had the benefit of on-the-job training or assistance from AFP officers with experience in riots and other public order issues.

Since the upheaval, Christmas Island residents have sought assurances the AFP presence on the island would be boosted.

AFP operational commander Chris Lines told residents on Saturday that the number of police was yet to be determined.

“The assurance I can give you is that we will have people here,” he said.

Yesterday, the AFP said the matter was under consideration.

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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