A Senate inquiry into the handling of allegations of assault and abuse at the Nauru detention centre has so far proved insubstantial with key Transfield management offering to take on notice basic questions about staff, alleged incidents and if they wanted the air conditioning turned down.
The Senate Select Committee on the Recent Allegations Relating to Conditions and Circumstances at the Regional Processing Centre in Nauru has been formed in a bid to understand just how a program designed to evade Australia’s responsibility to asylum seekers by making them “some other country’s problem” could possibly have resulted in human tragedy.
The inquiry will pick up again this morning following yesterday’s revelation from Transfield management that “some guy named Trent” was responsible for every mistake Transfield has made since the company won a 20-month tender worth $1.2 billion to run for the Nauru facility.
Of special concern is a November 2013 incident involving a cleaner allegedly sexually assaulting a young asylum seeker, which a Comcare spokesperson confirmed to The Guardian was never reported to the statutory authority. This was offered as the explanation for why corresponding paper work was not handed over with the newspaper’s FOI request. The (un)Australian would have made its own Freedom of Information request but could not afford the 25% deposit.
Greens senator Christine Hanson-Young led the questioning of Transfield management yesterday about the incident. “You must have that information,” the senator asked Transfield’s executive general manager of logistics and facilities management, Derek Osborn.
“I’m happy to take that on notice,” Osborn. said. “Trent was in charge of that.”
Through out the day, it was revealed Trent happened to be involved in almost every error that’s occurred during Transfield’s tenure.
The committee chair, Labor Senator Alex Gallacher, questioned management about the gender breakdown of the facility’s staff. “I’m overjoyed to take that on notice. Trent was in charge of the gender breakdown,” Transfield director Angela-Margaret Williams advised the committee.
Even how often the power went out in the facility was unknown by the people entrusted with these people’s lives, and more importantly, $1.2 billion contract.
“I’m ecstatically jubilant to take that on notice. Trent was in charge of noticing when the power went out.”
After having so many questions elatedly taken on notice, Senator Gallacher demanded to know who this Trent was.
“The person we are referring to is Trent Svield,” Ms Williams responded. “Unfortunately, he’s been let go by the company for or the things we’ve been accused of, which were totally his fault. So if this inquiry comes to any conclusion about the awful conditions on Nauru, the attempts to cover up horrifying incidents, and the callous disregard for human life, just know it’s Trent Svield’s fault.”
Matthew Farthing is the political reporter for The (un)Australian. He once made the case for Japan to enter the race to build Australian submarines, pointing to their proud naval history and unbeatable whale killing record.