26 Feb 2014

Manus workers told to lie to asylum seekers: whistleblower

4:20 pm on 26 February 2014

A migration agent who worked at Australia's asylum seeker detention centre on Papua New Guinea's Manus Island says staff at the facility were told to lie to asylum seekers about their prospects of resettlement.

Liz Thompson says she was instructed by the immigration department to tell detainees they were going to be settled in PNG, even though there were no real plans in place.

She says the asylum seekers were frustrated with the lack of progress that was being made, which led to last week's violence that killed 23-year-old Reza Berati.

Ms Thompson told the Australian broadcaster SBS that there is no intention to process the asylum seekers on Manus Island.

"It's fake. I don't believe that there's a way to fix this. It's not designed as a processing facility it's designed as an experiment in the active creation of horror to secure the deterrence, you know, and that's why I say again that Reza Berati's death was not... it's not some kind of crisis for the department, it's actually an opportunity. It's an opportunity to extend that logic one step further to say 'this happens, but deterrence continues, operation sovereign borders continues."

A former migration agent on Manus Island, Liz Thompson.