By JR on Wednesday, January 11, 2012
("Boat people" are illegal immigrants, mostly Afghans and other poorly educated Muslims, who arrive in Australian waters by boat. They are immediatey imprisoned on arrival while their claims to be asylum seekers are assessed)
SERCO, the company that runs immigration detention, has stood down an officer who posted Facebook comments saying Muslim children in detention did not deserve Christmas presents and male detainees taught their children it was acceptable to beat wives.
The Serco officer, who has direct contact with asylum seekers held at the Darwin Airport Lodge, posted the Facebook comments on Monday, after an incident in which Christmas presents for 200 children were not handed out by officers until 12 days after Christmas.
"A member of Serco Immigration Services staff has been suspended pending the outcome of an internal investigation," a spokesman for the company said yesterday.
In the first Facebook comment, the officer wrote: "Sad for all the Christian kids! Not sure why Islamist (sic?) would want Christmas present."
A short time later he posted: "I don't know of any country in the world that you can enter illegally an be granted freedom immediately! No one abuses them, perhaps u forget the saying it takes two to tango. Maybe you need to come and face these men who teach their children that women have no rights. I guess you must think there is nothing wrong with domestic violence."
Victoria Martin-Iverson, a West Australian refugee advocate, saw the comments posted on Serco Watch, a Facebook page that monitors news about the multinational company that runs prisons in Britain as well as Australia's immigration detention network. The officer had boldly included his real name, which linked back to his own Facebook page that stated he was a Serco officer in Darwin.
"I thought they were pretty outrageous comments," Ms Martin-Iverson said. "What he essentially said is they are wife beaters. It is horrific and he is working directly with asylum seekers." She contacted the immigration department and the department's compliance division responded.
An immigration department spokeswoman said: "The department is aware of the incident. The detention services provider is investigating the matter as they are required to do under the terms of their contract."