Updated: Aug 5, 2020
4 August 2020 There is news that asylum seekers held in Victoria may be shuffled to Yongah Hill in WA.
This rumour is accompanied by news that people whose visa was cancelled or refused under s501 of the Migration Act may be moved to Christmas Island. This is allegedly to free up room onshore.
These reports have been published today in the Australian Coronavirus Australia: Dutton to re-open Christmas Island detention centre under pandemic planning and the West Australian Christmas Island detention centre to be reopened by Morrison Government to free up facilities in Victoria (both articles behind paywalls). However it seems likely to many advocates in the refugee sector, that this is also a ploy to reduce the profile of Medevac detainees and to pressure them to leave Australia. The slippery slope of government-led Immigration detention trauma seems to have no bottom. Medevac refugee Mostafa Azimitabar responded from the Mantra today:
"Immigration are using the “mask” of Covid to isolate and punish people. Yongah Hill in Western Australia is a long way from Melbourne. We are afraid of Covid, true. But we are also being isolated and punished beyond endurance.
Where are the MRIs and big scanners at Yongah Hill or Christmas Island? Priya from Biloela was moved to Perth from Christmas Island for hospital. This is because the place has inadequate medical facilities. The era of quarantine islands and prison hulks is over. We need to be safe and part of Australia’s national response to Covid, not shoved out of sight. Christmas Island tourism is overshadowed by the death of Fazel Chegeni and abuse of others. These memories never go away. We want to join the community and save Australia the expense of detaining us. We still have much to give this country. We need fresh air, garden grown veggies, to be with friends and to have a purpose. Like you we need PPE, alcohol based hand sanitiser or protections from infection and transmission. We need physical distance from guards or fellow detainees, cramped living conditions. We beg for for sunlight, exercise, movement with physical distancing in the wider community to support mental and physical health. 501s are being punished for reporting guard brutality. Christmas Island has no internet". Jane Salmon NSW Australia