Having opinions about immigration detention isn’t acceptable

The message here is that privatised care enforces strict bounds of discussion, and honesty isn’t part of the equation:

A mental health nurse was sacked from a job in a Darwin detention centre for voicing her opinion on the detention system.

A termination letter says the worker, who wished to stay anonymous, was fired because she expressed “negative political opinions about detention”.

International Health and Medical Service corporate affairs director Melissa Lysaght at first confirmed the reason.

But she later said the resignation was based on the worker’s lack of professionalism, teamwork and managing conflict of interest.

The mental health nurse of 25 years’ experience had worked at the Northern Immigration Detention Centre for six days before the private company terminated her three-month contract on Friday. The woman said the termination came after a training session about policy and procedure asked participants to express themselves.

She said she was told the session was confidential.

And she said the human resources representative who sacked her over the phone admitted she did not know what was said in the training. The termination letter, obtained by the NT News, said she was sacked because of complaints from Serco managers, Immigration Department staff and the company’s employees.

The woman yesterday stood by her opinion.

“They said sometimes people’s suggestions can be implemented into policy and changes to the benefit of the detainees basically,” she said. “I said to someone, ‘I don’t believe in detention and I think it contributes to the mental illness of detainees’. I mean if you look on the net, there are millions of articles about it.