From uni to Nauru in two days
She was a 22-year-old retail worker who answered a “fun” Facebook ad to work on a tropical island.
Instead, Nicole Judge found herself on Nauru, watching asylum seekers beating their heads against concrete and screaming for freedom.
But it was about to get worse.
The former JB HiFi worker left the Nauru detention centre for Manus Island in September 2013 to find “sick and defeated” men cramped behind walls, fearing for their lives as locals threatened them with machetes.
“I thought I had seen it all. I had not seen it all,” Ms Judge told a parliamentary inquiry on Thursday.
“Manus Island shocked me to the core.”
Ms Judge and her friend Christopher Iacono were both university students in 2012 when they responded to a Salvation Army Facebook “meme” describing Nauru as a fun holiday experience.
Two days later, they were both on the tiny island nation without having undergone a job interview nor any training on handling asylum seekers.
“I thought it was going to be some fun experience,” Ms Judge said.
“I didn’t even know what a refugee was.”
Ms Judge recounted her experience at a Senate inquiry on Thursday in Canberra probing the February 18 Manus Island riots that led to the death of Iranian Reza Barati.
While working as a case manager there, before the riots, Ms Judge reported seeing expatriate guards physically beating asylum seekers and insulting their religious and cultural beliefs.
When she complained about being sexually harassed by the guards, she was told by a manager to put up with it because the same thing happened in bars.
Mr Iacono, who worked at McDonald’s before becoming a support officer on Manus Island, criticised the Australian government’s immigration policy.
The government’s smarttraveller佛山桑拿网, website warns against travelling to Papua New Guinea because of high crime rates, gang rapes and ethnic disputes.
“This is the same government that wants to settle these foreigners there in that country,” he said.