The shocking state of the Manus Island detention centre is being analysed by a Senate Inquiry this week, and each revelation is worse than the last. Two former Salvation Army workers have told the inquiry that they got their jobs on the island with no relevant experience and no training, landing on Manus just three days after answering an ad on Facebook.
Two former Salvation Army workers told the Senate Inquiry into Australia’s offshore processing centre on Manus Island that they received no training before being shipped off to the facility, after being warned that their emails and phone calls were being tapped for potential leaks.
The ABC reports that the pair answered an ad they found on the Macquarie University Facebook page. Three days later, they were on Manus Island, despite their only previous experience being in fast food and retail.
The two workers recalled being threatened with legal action if they divulged anything that was going on within the Manus Island facility.
One of the former workers recalls being sexually harassed, encouraging detainees not to take their own lives and being forced to work long shifts in unsafe conditions, all the while being told to keep it under wraps:
“When we first started they even suggested our phones were listened to and our emails being monitored and we [that] couldn’t contact anyone,” she said.
“[We were told we] shouldn’t even speak to our own mother or father about what we’ve seen.
“I was told I couldn’t do that or I would be penalised or I would lose my job.
“I’ve been threatened with criminal action … [telling] me that I could go to jail for speaking about my experiences.”
The Salvation Army has refuted the pair’s claims in a day of intense testimony. [ABC]