Serco will keep failing because the system is broken in Australia

As more asylum seekers are crying for help on Australia’s Christmas Island – locked up for months on a remote island – all the federal government talks about is fining Serco:

The federal government will take action against detention centre service provider Serco if it has breached any part of its contract following two breakouts at Christmas Island.

A small group of detainees escaped the Christmas Island Detention Centre last night, just hours after about 200 asylum-seekers returned having previously broken out of the complex.

The Department of Immigration and Citizenship and Serco were today trying to encourage the group of less than 100 asylum-seekers to return to the centre.

Tensions at the centre flared on Friday night when about 200 asylum-seekers broke out of the main immigration detention facility and made their way to the airport on the other side of the island.

Hasan Chalawi, an asylum seeker in detention in Darwin, said he had been told the men destroyed doors fitted with electronic locks in the Aqua and Lilac sections of the centre.

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“Then (at) eight o’clock on Friday night, smashing (sic) fences surrounding the detainees and a large number of them (left) towards the airport,” Mr Chalawi said.

He said several others went to the coast to try to be photographed by residents to highlight the “tragic situation of refugees in detention centres”.

“After that, a large portion of them felt fatigued and hunger, returned to the detention centre in the hope that they would return again to the airport to sit after the weekend.”

Julia Gillard today told reporters in Canberra the situation was well in hand and there was no risk of losing track of any of the asylum-seekers.

“Christmas Island is just that: it’s an island so there’s nowhere to go other than other parts of the island,” the Prime Minister said.

The government would investigate the incident to see if there had been any contractual breach by Serco and, if there had been, it would take appropriate action, she said.

Any thoughts about removing mandatory detention and not allowing an unaccountable British multinational to control the lives of refugees? Of course not.

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

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