Politics

Aug 19, 2008

Inside the Christmas Island detention centre

Pamela Curr, campaign coordinator for the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, took Crikey on a tour of the new Christmas Island detention facility, here are her impressions and photos, writes Sophie Black.

Yesterday Crikey published a letter addressed to Immigration Minister Chris Evans and signed by a group of NGOs and refugee rights groups after their escorted visit to the completed $400 million Christmas Island detention facility.

Pamela Curr, campaign coordinator for the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, was one of the group of "stakeholders" who toured the newly completed Christmas Island detention facility, equipped to accommodate up to 800 people, last Wednesday.

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14 comments

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14 thoughts on “Inside the Christmas Island detention centre

  1. Mervyn Langford

    A suitable use for this “facility”? I cannot think of anything more appropriate than Australia offering it (complete with us covering the operational costs) to the International Court of Justice (in The Hague) as an appropriate home for convicted genocide perpetrators and war criminals.
    I also look forward to hearing that the instigators of the present war in Iraq (including the leaders of the “Coalition of the Willing”), have been summonsed to appear at the Hague to account for their roles in this genocide.
    After all, military assaults on other countries are not acceptable in the 21st century – as George W. Bush said last week. Instigators of such atrocities should be in no doubt as to what will happen to them.
    It is certainly not a fit place for ordinary people seeking refuge from genocide and war.

  2. firstdogonthemoon

    [Chris Johnson
    Tuesday, 19 August 2008 5:33:41 PM
    Aren’t these photos just perfect for Australia Post’s next Christmas Island stamp series? For decades the island’s cultural and environmental history has been reflected in its production of unique stamps. Sensitive and stunning illustrations of various aspects of Christmas Island life have done the international circuit as collectors’ items. The atoll’s rare flora and fauna, molluscs, seabirds and significant milestones and events have been imaged as commemorative and definitive packages for discerning investors. The First Sighting, Christmas Toys, Faces of Christmas Island and Peace on Christmas Island will now stand in stark contrast to these happy snaps of a remote settlement’s transformation by successive Australian governments.]

    you might be on to something Chris – I may pinch your idea (or indeed, may I pinch your idea?)

  3. Marilyn

    This last gasp of Ruddock’s was equal to 50 years of contributions to the UNHCR to help care for 21 million refugees – Ruddock reduced it to $8 million per annum.

    Of course the fact that Australia has helped to create another 5 million refugees in the last few years doesn’t seem to have sunk in just yet to anyone in this country, the UK or the US who all have a responsibility to help them and are not.

    I downloaded all of the photos last night, even the lights have little wire cages around them and the rest of it looks just like Gitmo with wire windows, wire walls, children’s wire cages and so on.

    Revolting.

  4. Chris Johnson

    firstdogonthemoon – go for it.. I had some images of my own!

  5. Alan Hughston

    I dont understand the $22 million a year to maintain even while empty. For that money they could cover it waist (or waste) deep in mothballs.

  6. Chris Johnson

    Aren’t these photos just perfect for Australia Post’s next Christmas Island stamp series? For decades the island’s cultural and environmental history has been reflected in its production of unique stamps. Sensitive and stunning illustrations of various aspects of Christmas Island life have done the international circuit as collectors’ items. The atoll’s rare flora and fauna, molluscs, seabirds and significant milestones and events have been imaged as commemorative and definitive packages for discerning investors. The First Sighting, Christmas Toys, Faces of Christmas Island and Peace on Christmas Island will now stand in stark contrast to these happy snaps of a remote settlement’s transformation by successive Australian governments.

  7. Barry Rutherford

    It certainly look’s like a prison & similar also to Woomera apart from the geography

  8. Shay Gordon-Brown

    I reckon we could reduce Australia’s carbon footprint considerably if we just turned off the lights in this facility. I wonder how much we could reduce it if we turned off the computer monitors?

    I wouldn’t be particularly worried about having to fork out 22 million a year to keep this thing going. By the looks of the oxidising of the galvanised steel the chances are it will rust out within five years. Probably made from inferior foreign steel imports.

    Also the fire hydrant doesn’t comply with the Australian Standard. Probably installed by immigrant workers on 457 visas as Australian workers were unavailable. Very apropros.

  9. Tom McLoughlin

    The recent Good Weekend feature about the Island (more than the facility here) was most instructive. The story had a definite ‘white shoe brigade thwarted but still pitching’ feel to it. I was left feeling a joint US-Australia military base was on the cards.

    What’s the name of that island in the middle of the Indian Ocean that was annexed by the US military with suggestions of censorship about the fate of the locals?

    Mmm it’s all coming back. Diego Garcia flogged by the UK to the USA for a base in 1971. I think SBS Dateline may have done a catchup on this place too. Refer http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diego_Garcia#Politics
    and
    http://news.sbs.com.au/dateline/my_island_home_130762

  10. Michael

    The whole cabinet of the former rotten Howard government should be incarcerated here for a few months to bring them down to earth or perhaps we could dip into their super fund to pay for this ghatly joint.

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