Like so many others, the detainees in the Manus Island Offshore Processing Centre watched the dramatic political events unfold on Monday night with strong interest and some concern.
“Four prime ministers now in just five years,” said a dismayed Asan Ghazi. The 33-year-old Kurdish man from Syria detained at Manus with his young family told The (un)Australian he had, along with the camp’s nearly 1000 other asylum seekers, spent Monday night glued to the centre’s one television to watch Malcolm Turnbull successfully depose Tony Abbott as leader of the nation.
“Having been told I could be deported back to face Assad’s barrel bombs at any moment, I really appreciate how damaging uncertainty can be. No wonder the business community is so concerned.”
“Many of us are worried at the way this political circus damages the dignity of elected office in Australia,” added Sarwar Behzad, a 24-year-old Hazara man who has spent the past two years at Manus after a death squad aligned with an Afghan government warlord killed his family. “I mean, a lot of us here had our differences with Tony Abbott, but the treatment of him just seemed so cruel.”
Tabitha Raman, a Tamil journalist who fled Sri Lanka after being tortured by security forces, said no one at Manus had seen such chaos since the riots last year in which Reza Barati was killed. “It was actually very disturbing to see,” she told The (un)Australian, “and really brought back some heavy memories for those of us here. I can’t believe they put such scenes of bloody carnage on the TV without a trigger warning.”
Asked about the views in the camp over the challenges facing a Turnbull prime ministership, Ms Raman said that views in the camp were mixed, but most hoped Turnbull would prioritise fast-tracking the roll-out of the NBN so Australians could download vines of kittens being cute quicker.