3 Jun 2015

Law restricting detention centre whistleblowers "appalling"

7:46 am on 3 June 2015

A whistleblower into the conditions of the Australian-run detention centre on Nauru says a new law restricting what immigration workers can say about the facilities is appalling.

Under the Australian Border Force Act, which comes into effect next month, any immigration worker who discloses information about the centres is liable to two years imprisonment.

David Issacs, who is a pediatrician, was contracted to the Nauru detention centre by International Health and Medical Services last year.

A small group of Muslim refugees pray at sunset while other refugees (background) participate in a football match at a camp for the asylum seekers on the small island of Nauru, 20 September 2001.

Asylum seekers on Nauru Photo: AFP

On his return, Dr Isaacs spoke out against his contract on the conditions in the facility, saying he had a moral obligation to do so.

"If I was to do that now, it seems I would face two years in prison. I still think I'd be better off than the asylum seekers because they don't know how long they're going to be there, it could be more than two years. But still, two years, for a doctor speaking out, I'm absolutely appalled. I think that that's the sort of silence of freedom of speech that occurs in countries not like Australia or New Zealand."

Asylum seekers during a hunger strike in Foxtrot Compound at the Manus Island detention centre.

Asylum seekers during a hunger strike in Foxtrot Compound at the Manus Island detention centre. Photo: AAP / Refugee Action Collective

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