I have just received the following report about arbitrary restrictions at MITA (Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation):

“Since I started visiting (just after the Border Force Act in July last year), the onshore detention regime has become increasingly prison-like, and this appears to be a directive from the DIBP (though nothing is ever confirmed).

I was visiting there on Thursday (September 28) and was told about the latest in a string of humiliating rules, which is that ‘detainees’  are no longer allowed to go to the toilet during visits.  On Thursday, several people were ‘allowed’ to go and return, but at last night’s visit, the guard it was enforced strictly and no one was allowed back to the visits room if they needed to go to the toilet.

I’m really just calling out the latest in a string of humiliating rules and can only echo a friend’s (Uniting Church Minister, Lisa-Stewart) FB post:

Many of us have adapted to the new rigidity relating to visiting, the most recent: clearing the centre between visits, which entails our friends being lined up like children to exit under guarded supervision. We smile and throw kisses and wave loving goodbyes to cover that humiliation.

Now, to add insult to grave injury, another layer of senseless bureaucracy has been imposed that serves no purpose other than to further humiliate our friends. 

From now on, our friends can not go to the toilet during our two hour visiting block. Well, they can, but if they do leave the centre to visit the toilet they are not permitted to return. Why? What purpose does this possibly serve?

Well, if you think I’m going to shut up about it Serco and Border Force, you can get stuffed. For more entertaining reading, read the rest of the rules, especially relating to property. Nothing spoils a birthday surprise more than having to submit a written request for your own present, get permission from not one, but two layers of bureaucracy : Serco AND Border Force, then ask your visitor, who has probably travelled afar to come and visit you in the only available afternoon visiting slots, to get there a bit earlier – 5-7 HOURS earlier to drop the present off. Assuming you get permission. Which I doubt.

Mad. Mad. Mad. And worse than that, cruel. I’ve attached an email sent out by Pamela Curr on Thursday night and a copy of the new rules. Lisa’s post points out the idiocy of the Property gifting rule, which appears solely designed to save Serco the inconvenience of processing visits and receiving Property at the same time. 

Like so many of the visiting rules, the toilet rule is clearly designed to make visits more difficult and unpleasant – for many people, a visit only happens once a week (if that) which is their only connection to each other (they can no longer apply to visit each other even though this was promised when they segregated MITA by gender and family status a few months ago) and to friends and supporters outside. Even Facebook access is now restricted.  …”