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Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee
Incident at the Manus Island Detention Centre from 16 to 18 February 2014

BOYD, Mr Darren, Regional Managing Director G4S, Southern Pacific

McCAFFERY, Mr John, Deputy Regional General Manager, Manus Island Regional Processing Centre

MANNING, Mr Chris, Managing Director of Immigration Services, G4S Australia

PYE, Mr Kevin, Regional Managing Director, Manus Island Regional Processing Centre


CHAIR: Welcome. The committee has received your submission as submission No. 29. Do you wish to make any amendments or alterations to your submission?

Mr Boyd : No, we do not.

CHAIR: I remind all witnesses that in giving evidence to the committee they are protected by parliamentary privilege. It is unlawful for anyone to threaten or disadvantage a witness on account of evidence given to a committee and such action may be treated by the Senate as a contempt. It is also a contempt to give false or misleading evidence to a committee. The committee emphasises, however, that parliamentary privilege does not extend outside of Australia and that Australian law cannot protect individuals in another country whether they are Australian nationals or not. For this reason, and so as not to prejudice ongoing criminal investigations and legal proceedings, the committee urges witnesses to exercise caution with regard to naming or otherwise identifying individuals located outside Australia, including Papua New Guinean nationals, alleged to have been involved in the incident at the Manus Island detention centre during 16 to 18 February. For the Hansard record, would you please state the capacities in which you appear today.

Mr Boyd : I am the Regional Managing Director for the Southern Pacific region for G4S. My responsibilities extend to the Australian, New Zealand and PNG businesses.

Mr Manning : I am the Managing Director of Immigration Services, G4S Australia. I report to Mr Boyd. Over the nights in question I was running the National Emergency Control Organisation response, so I convened calls in which senior officials of the department were participating, and also the Salvation Army and IHMS.

Mr Pye : I was the Regional Managing Director for G4S at the Manus Island Regional Processing Centre over the period of the incidents.

Mr McCaff e r y : I was the Deputy General Manager for G4S at the Manus Island Regional Processing Centre over the period.

CHAIR: Would you like to make a short opening statement?

Mr Boyd : Yes, I would like to read a short opening statement if that is okay?


Mr Boyd : Then I am going to ask Mr Pye to go up to the board and give us an overview as to how things transpired on that particular evening. There is a map associated with that.

Senator SESELJA: Are you going to table that statement?

Mr Boyd : Yes, I am.

CHAIR: Also, you have provided maps and photographs. Would you formally table those, as well?

Mr Boyd : Yes.

CHAIR: The committee members having indicated their agreement, the documents are now accepted into evidence by the committee.

Mr Boyd : I would like to thank the Senate committee for inviting us to participate in these hearings. I would like to start by acknowledging and expressing the deep sadness that G4S feels for the death of Reza Barati, and also the significant injuries that actually took place to transferees on that particular evening.

As managing director I want to assure you that G4S has fully cooperated with the PNG police investigation, all relevant investigations and has complied with all requests for assistance into this matter. We are here today as the senior management team to answer your questions honestly and fully and to provide you with the insights as to what actually occurred that evening—or those evenings.

Firstly, it is important to recognise that violent riots took place there and there were also injuries caused to G4S and other staff at the centre. In this respect I would also like to acknowledge all of the staff who worked at the centre in very demanding circumstances, particularly the courageous acts of the staff who acted to protect transferees on the nights of 16 and 17 February.

I am of course aware of the allegations that have been made in Senate submissions and in the media that G4S may have been involved in unlawful acts of violence during the riots. Let me assure you that we take these allegations very seriously. Our own inquires have shown that some G4S staff entered mike compound without authority and were likely involved in the fighting that took place there. Our inquiries have also shown that they entered the Mike compound with the police, local villagers, and also centre staff from other service providers. What has been difficult to establish is the identities of those individuals and who did what to whom. That is a task that is beyond the scope and capability of G4S. Therefore, we have fully cooperated with the PNG police, as they have proper jurisdictional authority to investigate and prosecute the crimes that were committed at the Manus Island regional processing centre on those nights. Their investigation is ongoing and we continue to cooperate with them. If it is found from these investigations that any G4S staff, whether expatriate or locals, were involved in any wrongdoing, this will not be tolerated. Accordingly, we continue to provide whatever assistance we can to try to ascertain the facts of precisely what happened.

G4S's role at the centre was to provide day-to-day guarding duties, gather intelligence and make ongoing recommendations to the department regarding safety and security, as well as other logistical and maintenance functions. We have reflected carefully on the events of the 16th and 17th and believe that there have been a number of lessons learnt that can help to reduce the likelihood of these tragic events reoccurring.

In our submission we identify several factors that contributed to the events of the 16th and 17th, but I do not propose to go into each of those in detail. However, I would like to emphasise two key factors. Firstly, the key factor contributing to the riots taking place was the lack of processing of the transferees refugee claims. Following the changes in Australian government policy, in July 2013, the processing of refugee claims slowed down to the point where essentially no processing was taking place. It is imperative that in these circumstances transferees are given some hope, and this means processing their claims. Lessons from recent events in migration facilities in Australia point to the lack of status resolution as being the key catalyst for violent unrest. This was the case on Manus Island, and it was a concern that we raised repeatedly in the weeks leading up to the events. The riots were then triggered when the PNG immigration officials presented to the transferees, but failed to confirm a timeline for processing of refugee applications, suggesting the transferees may need to wait in the centre for several years before receiving determinations.

Secondly, the severity of the violence on 17 February resulted from a lack of suitable infrastructure—specifically, a lack of security fencing at the centre that was fit for purpose. In a facility housing over 1,300 single adult males—and tensions rising—proper security infrastructure is essential. Fencing in particular is critical as it provides the first line of defence during any riotous behaviour. It prevents transferees from exiting the centre in a controlled manner. It protects transferees from external threats, and, when there is a large-scale unrest, internal fencing prevents the congregation of large groups of transferees into unmanageable numbers.

The Manus centre was originally a temporary facility to accommodate up to 500 transferees and there was originally a mix of families and single adult males. In June 2013, a policy decision was made and all families, who, in security terms, are much lower risk, were removed from the Manus centre and replaced with only single adult males, who, in security terms, are much higher risk. As a result of the change we produced the risk assessment to the department recommending that improved security infrastructure—specifically, fit for purpose fencing, was needed, and the lack of this was designated to be a higher security risk. Then, in July 2013, the PNG solution was announced. Consequently, there was an immediate large-scale ramp-up of the number of transferees being sent to the Manus centre. By the time of the riots on 16 and 17 February there were in excess of 1,300 transferees but none of the security infrastructure necessary had been implemented at the centre.

I have handed the committee some photographs to better illustrate the issue around the importance of fencing. I point you to the photographs we have attached to the large board here. Photograph 1 is the Mike compound prior to the riots. This type of fencing was used for both the perimeter and internally to separate the different compounds. Photographs 2 and 3 are again of the fence in Mike compound, but taken immediately after the riots on 17 February. Photo 2 is the external fence, clearly pushed down from the outside. Photo 3 is the internal fence, pushed down by transferees seeking to exit the compound.

Senator HANSON-YOUNG: That is an internal fence?

Mr Boyd : Correct.

Senator HANSON-YOUNG: Between compounds?

Mr Boyd : Correct. It is actually between tha compound and the green zone, and Mr Pye will demonstrate that when he gets up. Photo 4 is a fence at Christmas Island, which gives an indication of the type of security fencing we were recommending to the department. In our view, had proper security infrastructure been in place, including appropriate fencing along the lines we had recommended, then the severe injuries and the fatality would probably not have occurred.

Before handing over to Mr Pye I wish to make a few key observations. Firstly, the rioting was contained for several hours, but the situation changed fundamentally when the PNG police broke into Mike compound, where they discharged their firearms. That is when the most serious injuries and one fatality occurred. The reaction of the PNG police, locals and some staff seems to have been a response to racist and obscene taunts by transferees directed at PNG locals, as well as the barrage of rocks and other projectiles from within the centre. At no stage did G4S request or invite the PNG police to enter the centre whilst the riots were taking place. I am now going to hand over to Mr Pye to take you through what actually transpired during those two evenings.

Mr Pye : I will just give you a quick orientation. The map depicts the Manus Island Regional Processing Centre in diagrammatic form. The scale, from east to west, is approximately 600 metres, and from north to south, between the coast and Route Pugwash is about 150 metres. To the north of the Manus Island Regional Processing Centre is the coastline, running parallel. To the south is a road called Route Pugwash, which was used by us and the PNG Navy, as they transited, plus civilian traffic. There is dense foliage to the south, which is part of the PNG Navy land on which the processing centre was based. To the east we had the PNG Navy accommodation and officers mess and the Navy sports field, which we used during the incident. To the west, there is a local residential area which started immediately within 20 metres of the Mike compound and extended outwards to the west, which contained married quarters for Navy personnel as well as other civilian housing.

I will briefly go through the compounds so you can understand the layout. The Mike compound, during the period in question, had about 420 transferees. We then have what I will refer to as the green zone, which is a fenced corridor between Mike and Foxtrot, and in fact the photo you saw was the breach of the fence in this location here into the green zone. We have the Foxtrot compound which during the incidents had approximately 320 transferees. We then have an area I will call the admin area, which are the purple buildings on the map, which contained the DIBP and the PNG immigration headquarters, the staff mess area and, of note, the emergency control organisation, which was based here during the incident. Oscar compound had 320 transferees and Delta compound a further 240 transferees. We then have Charlie and Bravo compounds up here and the medical centre across to the east.

In the two weeks leading up the riots, we received increased intelligence reporting of threats of violent protest over the period of 16 to 18 February. That coincided with the program for the delivery of answers to the community leaders from the department and PNG immigration. Because of this increased risk of unrest we conducted extensive preparations at both project level and communications at corporate level with the department. On the afternoon of 16 February, subsequent to the breakup of the meeting between PNG immigration, the department and the community leaders, there was a breakout from Oscar. Some 35 transferees exited through an open gate onto Route Pugwash. They were quickly rounded up and brought back in or came back into the compound under their own volition. Unfortunately, during that re-entry process some locals in this area entered the compound behind them—chased them back in. Some G4S PNG national staff, plus these additional locals, commenced fighting with the Oscar compound transferees. This was quelled by the intervention of our expatriate staff and other national staff. The ruckus in Oscar compound set off chants and rioting or protests in both Mike and Foxtrot compounds. This consisted of both obscene and threatening chants towards the local community who were gathered out here.

We also had a breach of the fence in the vicinity of Mike 1 into the green zone which was countered by the Incident Response Team moving forward and reconstituting the fence. The racial taunts and threats against peoples' families generated a response in terms of rocks being thrown by local people into the centre and Mike and Foxtrot people returning fire. This went on for some time and was subsequently quelled late in the evening. All was quiet from approximately 2300 hours until the next day.

On 17 February, we conducted a series of meetings with PNG immigration, with the department, with the police and with each of the transferee community leaders in the compounds. The results of those briefings included the immediate withdrawal of all PNG staff from all compounds; that was all service providers including G4S—

Senator HANSON-YOUNG: What time did that happen?

Mr Pye : Overnight or first thing in the morning. On the day of the 17th there were no more PNG security or service provider staff in the compounds and that continued—

Senator HANSON-YOUNG: So those who arrived for their dayshift on Monday were basically not let inside?

Mr Pye : Yes, that is correct. We had meetings with the police. We allocated specific liaison officers to be located with them. We found out their dispositions and discussed points of coordination previously discussed with the police should there be a requirement for their assistance, and we discussed external responsibilities for security. We made a decision to evacuate all non-G4S staff as of last light on the 17th because of the high risk of protest. Everyone left other than four other people who were the members of the ECO, and they remained with me. We also told all the transferees what they should do if there was a violent protest and they did not wish to be involved. In fact, over 200 of them were extracted from the compounds up into Charlie and Bravo compounds because they did not want to be involved in what was about to occur. They were given an opportunity to do that, and we facilitated that.

Just after the evening meal at around 2130, the lights went out in Mike compound due to a power failure. Masked and unmasked protestors were reported in Mike and Foxtrot as running towards the fences carrying makeshift weapons and trunks full of rocks that they had gathered in preparation for this activity. They commenced throwing a barrage of rocks both outwards onto Route Pugwash and into the green zone, and they quickly breached the security fencing in about 30 seconds into the green zone, thereby trapping the group of G4S expats in the vicinity of the Mike 1 guard hut.

My Incident Response Team was deployed from the admin area via this gate, called Golf 2, and moved forward within Mike 1, pushing back the transferees back into Mike compound and allowing a corridor of escape by using their shields to enable the expats who were under barrage to extract through to Golf 2. The Incident Response Team then withdrew from that area, moved back, moved in through Golf 7 and formed a line between the dining room and the open rec area. I would note that these buildings are not to scale, although they are relatively accurate. They formed a line here—

Senator HANSON-YOUNG: Sorry, can I just ask a clarifying question?

Mr Pye : Yes, Senator.

Senator HANSON-YOUNG: Did the incident response team that was deployed consist of PNG nationals at that time?

Mr Pye : It had PNG nationals and expat supervisors at that time. Under significant pressure, they moved forward and formed a line here, where they were being attacked with makeshift weapons and stones and rocks. The intent here—or the reason here—was to allow the extraction of injured transferees who had been deposited in the TV dining room by other transferees. They had been injured either by rocks or by internecine fighting which was occurring within the Mike Compound, where rioters were trying to convince non-rioters to get involved.

Having extracted those injured transferees, they were forced back, because the Foxtrot rioters had breached the fences into the green zone and had free reign into Mike. They came in and commenced a combination of increased pressure against the IRT and attacking other non-rioters within the Mike Compound. At that time, the IRT was forced back to outside the Golf 7 gate, where it held for some considerable period providing an external block to the risk of rioters coming out onto Route Pugwash. At this time we had not only a free flow of rioters across here, but we also had Oscar reportedly arming itself and getting increasingly ructious and Delta arming itself. So we had multiple situations.

An increased number of people from Foxtrot and Mike who did not wish to be involved in the rioting at all moved to the vicinity of Alpha 6, where we sheltered them in the vicinity of the internet room using makeshift barricades and our G4S staff to protect them against other rioters. At this point, we had, as I said, a free flow. The Foxtrot non-combatants—or the areas of people presenting to the Alpha 6 gate here, immediately adjacent to the admin building, were increasing in numbers and being joined by rioters, and we had a situation where non-rioters pressed up into this area were being injured by rioters as well as preventing us from being able to extract people.

The Incident Response Team here—and Mr McCaffery was on the ground there; he can relay exactly what happened—was essentially exhausted after almost two hours of continuous pressure. I authorised their withdrawal back to Golf 1, along with other expatriate and national staff that had been sheltering up in this area. They were withdrawn—it took approximately 30 minutes to achieve under a hail of missiles. When they arrived in the admin area, we had a short discussion, they were given water and they were reinforced. They were tasked with forcing their way and basically piercing through the mass of people and the pressure of the gate here and then forcing back the rioters to separate them from the non-rioters to allow safe extraction of those people. They achieved this in a series of bounds against a large amount of pressure.

We now have essentially only non-rioters and commence the extraction of over 200 transferees through Route Pugwash to the navy yard, and we have the Incident Response Team held here at a line approximately Mike Lima. Then the small arms fire rang out and all hell broke loose. The people at Alpha 6 panicked. Needless to say, they were scared for their lives and tried to force through the gate. The Oscar compound, on hearing the small arms fire, broke through their fence, turned left and came up to join up with the Foxtrot people. We blocked that with an impromptu block using barricades and unprotected G4S guards against over 100 people trying to force the barrier.

This small-arms fire signalled the break-in of the police and the local community. They forced in from the north and from the south, and in fact one of the photos you saw was the fence that was forced by the police and local communities coming in left and right. They commenced fighting with the transferees in mike compound. These were Mike and Foxtrot transferees. This was witnessed by the IRT who was here. At this time this reinforced IRT who had been operating now for two hours had been hit with rocks, sticks and everything else that the transferees could throw at them. Some of those national staff members broke ranks and moved in to join the fracas.

A number of others, both national and expat, moved in because they could see what was happening, and uncommanded commenced, basically, rescue activity. These nationals and expats, at great risk to their own lives, intervened in the fighting. What they did was form a circle with their own bodies and shields, and they started pulling transferees into that to protect them from the police and the nationals. When the circle was full, they formed a human corridor, where they escorted them down to the dining rom. Over 306 people were put in the dining room and guarded against what was going on outside.

As the police and the other illegal entrants started to vacate, we commenced clearance of the accommodation blocks primary triage and care. It was at this point, around this time, that Reza Berati and other injured transferees were identified, brought forward and evacuated. The triage in this area took a period of time, and they were evacuated down to the bibby as quickly as possible.

At Oscar compound we managed to talk them down through negotiation, and they were pushed back or voluntarily entered their own compound and were no further trouble. Immediately we commenced reoccupation of all compounds. Over 450 transferees, which included the people we had evacuated from Charlie and Delta earlier in the evening, were brought back from the navy sportsfield and put back in the compounds. We commenced the erection of temporary barriers to secure the transferees back in their compounds. By first light all transferees, less those receiving medical treatment, were back in their respective compounds. It was at about this time we heard the tragic news that despite the best efforts of medical staff Reza Berati had died.

CHAIR: We will now go to some questions.

Senator SESELJA: I might start by clarifying a couple of bits from your opening statement. I am not sure if we have an opening statement, whether that has been tabled yet. It might be helpful if it were so that we can have a look as we go. Just to clarify, you said in your opening statement that it is possible a number of your staff participated in violent acts or inappropriate behaviour or unauthorised behaviour on the night. I forget your exact language. I apologise. Is it your evidence that at this stage you have no idea which of your staff participated in such acts?

Mr Boyd : It is still very unclear as to who actually participated in those acts and who did what to whom.

Senator SESELJA: It is unclear because—obviously there is a police investigation—from your perspective there has been no internal investigation to determine any of these. We have had a lot of detail there as to what went on. But there has been no effort to determine who those individuals may have been?

Mr Boyd : I think the efforts we have gone to have been twofold. One is that any information that we actually have received we have provided to the PNG police. But, on the second part of that, the accounts that we have actually got just seem to refer to G4S PNG locals or nationals. They do not name specifically who those PNG people are.

Senator SESELJA: You do not have any information that would inform you of whether any of your staff did that?

Mr Boyd : Any information that we have received we have provided to the police.

Senator SESELJA: So you have had some of that information come to you?

Mr Boyd : Before we departed the island, we have at different times had some accounts provided to us that potentially had some—I cannot say if they had names on them, but they certainly had information on them that we deemed relevant and we provided that directly to the police as the correct authority to investigate exactly what happened that night.

Senator SESELJA: But from an employer perspective, you obviously do not have enough information to even take disciplinary action against any of your staff, quite aside from any criminal potential action.

Mr Boyd : That is correct.

Senator SESELJA: I did want to go back through some of the timeline in your submission, but I will come to that in a minute, if that is okay. I have briefly jotted down some points you made in your opening statement. You talked about the lessons learned, and the two things you mentioned were lack of processing and lack of suitable infrastructure. You said when it came to processing that it had slowed down post the 19 July announcement of the change of government policy. We heard evidence earlier today that the processing only started around 8 July. Is it your evidence that there was a significant amount of processing, and then it slowed down in that two-week period from when it started?

Mr Manning : I might be able to help. Processing did only start in early July, we know that, but when the announcement was made on 19 July about the PNG solution, shortly after that the decision was taken to transfer the existing transferees back to Australia or to Australia—apart from a small stay-behind group who had been involved in potentially criminal activities when they were left there. De facto processing had to stop at that stage. It restarted, as far as we know, to a limited degree in October and then, to the best of our knowledge, and bear in mind that we were not involved in this, it did not really start after the new year until the arrival of the CAPs lawyers in early February. That is my working assumption, but I would defer to my colleagues who were on the island at the time.

Senator SESELJA: Okay. You said, Mr Boyd, in your opening statement that 'at no stage did G4S invite police in'. Can you give us more context as to why that is the case? Clearly things were getting out of control, so why was it that there was no thought given to working with the PNG police to bring order back to the facility?

Mr Boyd : I will ask Mr Pye to describe what the process is for any handover of a centre or a compound.

Mr Pye : Your question as I understand it is: why did we not invite the police in, despite the chaos? I was here previously when you were interviewing the department, and as you are aware Mr McCaffery wrote an email identifying the concerns we had with the mobile squad capability. At no point during the evening was it discussed within the emergency control organisation and neither was it my recommendation that we should hand over to the police. It was twofold: I was not convinced at that stage that less people would die by mobile squad intervention as opposed to more people would die without it, if I have not ruined that. Basically, I had some concerns, as we all did. If we did call in the police, what would happen? They were a very blunt force object, so at no point was there a discussion about invitation to the police. At that point in time our understanding was they were maintaining external security, and they would deal with any penetration in the vicinity of the Mike compound after our withdrawal of the Incident Response Team.

Mr Manning : If I could assist the committee, it might be worth refreshing ourselves around the command and control arrangements as well. In order to bring in the police, we would have had to have the authority, the agreement and the decision of the PNG immigration authority, who were represented that night by Wilson Kuve, I think. I was not there, but that was the person who was there. We could not have done it. There was some discussion about correspondence with the department. The correct route for correspondence with the department, who were our contractual partners in this, if we wanted to arrange things or discuss things with the police or the PNG immigration authority, was normally to write to the department and then discuss them collectively.

Senator SESELJA: By the by, that email you mentioned was from Mr McCaffery on 10 February—is that right? That was the one that was discussed earlier and tabled here. It is not included in your time line that I could see. Is there a reason for that? I see in your chronology of events that it goes up to around that period and has correspondence on 2, 4, 6 and 7 February and then 16 and 17 February. Is there a reason that particular email is not part of your time line presented to the committee?

Mr Boyd : There is no particular reason for that. There were a broad range of things taking place and we sought to summarise them as best we could through the chronology.

Senator SESELJA: In the contractual relationship that you have with the department, what are the broad responsibilities when it comes to Manus? What is the main responsibility that you have versus what the department or PNG officials might have?

Mr Boyd : To commence that, I think it is important to note that we were not the lead service provider on the island; the lead service provider was actually the Salvation Army. I just wanted to clarify that point. Our responsibilities were to undertake the role of safety and security in the guarding of the facility. We were also responsible for providing services such as incident response, catering, facilities management and also general logistics and procurement. We were not responsible for the infrastructure as such, but we were responsible for the maintenance of the infrastructure that was there.

Senator SESELJA: As part of that responsibility for safety and security and incident response, is there an expectation that managing the relationship with PNG authorities, including the police, forms a part of those responsibilities?

Mr Manning : I might just add something to Mr Boyd's answer. Yes, it was expected that we would engage with a wide range of stakeholders, including in the local community—and that we did—but it was quite clear that we were in contract with the Australian government and we were providing services through that contract. It was also quite clear that the authority in the jurisdiction on the ground lay with the PNG authorities, whether that was the immigration authority or the PNG police. So the way in which we engaged—and I am happy to pass the question to Mr Pye in a moment—traditionally or normally on the island was to engage initially with the department or collectively with the department and PNG immigration and, if appropriate, the police collectively. It was not really given adequate description in the contract, but the contract did require us to engage with all stakeholders.

Senator SESELJA: You obviously had concerns about the mobile squad—

Mr Manning : Yes, we did.

Senator SESELJA: which have been raised. Were any of those concerns raised with the PNG authorities by G4S?

Mr Pye : I will say yes. We had daily operations meetings and weekly meetings to discuss operations, which included representatives from PNG ICSA, the department and the other stakeholders, both IHMS and the Salvation Army. On various occasions, we did discuss liaison, things we would like to see changed or things we would like to see improved. Whilst we conducted weekly or regular liaison directly with the PPC on other matters—they would visit and speak to us—whenever we needed something done we were but a civilian firm in a sovereign country. We needed for PNG immigration to be onside because it was them who had to speak intragovernmentally to make sure that the PNG police would enact or take on board or otherwise agree with suggestions we may have had.

Mr Manning : It is also worth adding, if I may, that there were issues throughout the duration of the contract. Over a year ago, we would engage with PNG immigration in order to deal with issues relating to the mobile squad and their presence on the perimeter, which was not always constructive.

Senator SESELJA: But going back to that specific concern you had about the mobile squad, when was that first raised with PNG authorities?

Mr Pye : I would not be able to give you a date, but well prior to the email from Mr McCaffery.

Mr McCaffery : There had been ongoing discussion, back as far as January, with the provincial police commander and the mobile squad, PNG ICSA and the department. We had had a change of mobile squad. A new team came in and, after a planning meeting with them, attended by the department and PNG ICSA, I was concerned enough to draft and send that email that you are referring to.

Senator SESELJA: That was an email to the department. Just going back to the concerns raised with the PNG authorities, your evidence is that that was done in various meetings that took place?

Mr McCaffery : There were meetings that took place with the PNG authorities. I attended the office of the provincial police commander with a member of the department and another member of the team to discuss the issues of the protocol to do with the handover of an incident. That was taken on notice by them. They were going to seek further advice—that is, the police I refer to.

Senator SESELJA: When was that?

Mr McCaffery : I believe mid to late January. Correction. It would be after, late January.

Senator SESELJA: So late January you raised specific concerns about the mobile squad?

Mr McCaffery : That email, I believe, is dated 10 February.

Senator SESELJA: Yes, the one in front of me.

Mr McCaffery : The ongoing discussions I had had in early January. I then left the island for a two-week rotation. When I came back, we took up those discussions again. They would occur frequently on an ad hoc basis, with ongoing questions about an incident we may have raised and we would ask for further clarification: have you received that yet? Has anything come back? There were formal planning meetings. As Mr Pye has indicated, we had a morning operations meeting that all stakeholders attended, including the PNG government representative but not the police.

Mr Manning : We also raised these concerns in a note to the secretary on 5 February, which was part of our submission.

Senator SESELJA: Sure. I will move on to some other questions in a minute. You are saying you came back, you had some meetings and you raised concerns about the mobile squad. This was never put in writing by G4S to the PNG authorities?

Mr Manning : We would not write to the PNG authorities. It was not our position to write to the PNG authorities. The contractual arrangement was that we would write to the department and then they would engage with the PNG authorities.

Senator SESELJA: You were engaging with the PNG authorities and raising these concerns at those meetings?

Mr Manning : Yes.

CHAIR: Can I just clarify: your contractual relationship was to write to the department? When you talk about 'the department' do you mean the Australian department of immigration?

Mr Manning : Yes, the Australian department of immigration.

Senator SESELJA: You said that your responsibility was for security. That included liaising with PNG authorities, it included meetings, but you never put in writing your concerns about the mobile squad?

Mr Manning : It would not be appropriate for us to write to the department of immigration in PNG without writing to the department of immigration in Australia. We were in a contractual partnership with them. We would not normally—

Mr McCaffery : The route for that passage of information was from me or Kevin—whoever was the general manager at the time, and we rotated that role—to the department of border protection, the DIBP, which would then work with the PNG government authorities, seek any information and then come back to us with an answer or further direction and advice. That was my understanding and that is how I approached that communication.

Mr Manning : It is also worth saying that had we not been following the correct protocol it would have been perfectly appropriate for Mr Kneipp or anybody else whom we had written to about these things to write to us and say, 'Can you raise these points with the PNG authorities?' But no such communication was received.

Senator SESELJA: Obviously, your concerns about infrastructure were raised a number of times in writing over a period. But the concerns about the mobile squad only seemed to develop quite late. This was not evident a couple of months before—

Mr Manning : Can I just raise that because, again, I have got the context across the whole of the contract. In the early days the mobile squad was only deployed to counter the threat of disruption from the landowners and to protect the centre from external interference. That was how it started. That was in November 2012.

They were situated outside the centre—and Mr McCaffery has already alluded to the fact that these groups changed over frequently—and they were to always protect the centre from disruption by interfering groups. That was perfectly appropriate, subject to the regular dialogue we had over concerns about their conduct if that was appropriate. The numbers started to accelerate rapidly towards the end of October, into the period approaching Christmas, which was when Mr McCaffery and Mr Pye arrived to take over a more senior role on the island. They rightly identified that, with the increased numbers, it was entirely appropriate to engage the police mobile squad to identify what contingencies we needed in place because of the high number of transferees. That is the background to how these communications were commenced.

Senator SESELJA: It was finally put in writing in February, obviously the 10 February email, and you referenced a letter as well, 5 February. Is that correct?

Mr Manning : That is correct. Sorry, for the record, it is 4 February.

Senator SESELJA: Thank you. When these concerns were put in writing in February—obviously I am just looking at the email; I am just getting across it like the rest of us—and there are a reasonable number of concerns that are raised there. Is this something, in your view, that could have easily been fixed quickly or within a few days? Is that what you would have expected or was this something that, once it was raised, was going to take a bit of time to work through with the PNG authorities to get this right, to deal with these concerns?

Mr Manning : I will ask Mr Pyne or Mr McCaffery to add to my answer if necessary. But it is certainly true to say that decisions on the use of facilities, whether through the PNG defence force base, the PNG immigration or PNG police authorities were not quick in coming. We would normally not expect to receive an answer within a few days.

Senator SESELJA: Looking at the time line in your submission, there are a few aspects I would like to ask you some questions about. One is interesting and you might talk us through it. On 30 January 2014 there is an email from you, Chris Manning, to the department requesting 30 additional guards. The department approved that request. You got the 30 guards approved on 30 January. What happened immediately after that?

Mr Manning : The reason we asked for 30 in the first place was that 30 January was the first day that intelligence suggested that the hitherto peaceful protests were likely to escalate to violence, pushing down fences or lighting fires. That is what triggered the request for additional guards. Additionally, part of that, which has not been discussed so far, we requested and received authority to allow the incident response team to remain on duty overnight, the one that had been on during the day, so they could sleep at the centre and be called upon if necessary to double the numbers of incident response capability. I made it clear in the initial response that 30 was just the first stage. The reason I did that is that it was easy to get 30 extra guards across from Port Moresby because they were almost immediately available. It was a kind of first-stage response—an immediate response—to the growing tensions, threat of violence at the centre. When we made that request that I may be coming to them within 24 to 48 hours—I think it was 72 hours—for an additional 100, because that is what I felt was needed, we would not have been able to muster 100 extra staff at that kind of notice. That is why it came across as a staged approach. I do not think any of the evidence that I have seen supports that analysis. But that is what was behind it.

Senator SESELJA: So nothing changed from 30 January. It was a first step in getting—

Mr Manning : It was a preliminary move, yes. We were also obviously hoping that we would see some progress in terms of improved communication with transferees, because that is really what they were seeking, as other emails attest to. So I did not want to activate the extra 100, when it would not necessarily have been necessary.

Senator SESELJA: Then there was a further request for 100 guards on 1 February, which was initially rejected but then the department came back reasonably quickly after that and granted that approval.

Mr Manning : It was rejected initially—but I do not think any more information was required—on the grounds that they wanted to express their view that it was important that we improve amenity where we possibly could, which we accepted.

Senator SESELJA: What did that bring the total number of guards to?

Mr Manning : It would have been an additional 130 over and above 300 available at the centre. That is an approximation. I can provide you with more detailed numbers if you require them.

Mr McCaffery : For clarity that would be across two shifts. It would be roughly 150 per shift.

Mr Manning : Essentially, we could have called on about 500, if we had doubled the shifts in the event of unrest.

Senator SESELJA: You were getting to a fairly significant capacity by the time these additional resources had been granted.

Mr Manning : Absolutely.

Senator SESELJA: I want to go back to the issue of the mobile squad briefly. Is the correspondence of 4 and 10 February the only written correspondence where concerns about the squad are raised?

Mr Manning : That is certainly my understanding, but the reason we started raising it with great energy was that for the first time, on 30 January, we received information that violence was becoming a distinct possibility. Up until then—although the risks varied form low to medium, or from green to amber—we had not been concerned that there might be violent unrest. So we wanted to raise our concerns over the possible behaviour of the mobile squad under those circumstances.

Senator SESELJA: So prior to 30 January you had concerns about the mobile squad, but you were not sufficiently concerned to put them in writing to the department or the government?

Mr Manning : Prior to the end of January—and I will hand over to Mr Pye and Mr McCaffery in a moment—we had been discussing and working through the capabilities of the police mobile squad to find out what their capabilities and limitations were. It was only during that process that we became alarmed about the potential for that action.

Senator SESELJA: I am interested in when that view was formed.

Mr Pye : When we started looking at the potential use of the mobile squad to assist the centre, which would have been in the December-January period, it was self-evident to us on the ground that because of how they were dressed, because of how they were trained and because they did not have what you would call a conventional riot force capability—first defensive force and then escalating use of force, as described in using non-lethal capsicum or other things. They stood in uniforms and had weapons. Interestingly, you talk about us being able to adjust that; that is what PNG had available; and thus our concentration on the conduct of meetings to make sure we could control the use of that instrument. That was the protocol in place and we made it very clear to everyone that the only time that the police would be called in was under the direct authority of the PNG site manager and he would have had to gain authority from the Chief Migration Officer. There were protocols for tactical coordination on the ground and handover procedures to make sure staff were withdrawn from whatever area of whatever incident. We actually drafted a couple of documents, which were hand-over, take-over drafts, to inform that discussion with the police. It was to say: 'You will come in here after authority from PNG immigration. We will sign this off; we will agree that this is what you are to do under these circumstances and these are the limits, et cetera.' We could coordinate to safely extract transferees and our staff from the area. We were so keen on the controls because of the limitations of the police. To grow a riot squad is not an insignificant effort. Thus, we never tried to grow a riot squad; we trained an Incident Response Team with limited defensive aims.

Senator SESELJA: If I understand your evidence correctly, over the December-January period you developed concerns about the capacity of the mobile squad and sometime presumably in late January these started to be raised with PNG authorities, not in writing but in meetings. Is that correct?

Mr Pye : During the January period, because the longer the time went on without progress on the RSD process, the less hope the transferees had. Therefore there was a continuing increase in risk, therefore we continually looked to our risk assessments and our mitigation strategies. And it became increasingly likely that we may have to use the mobile squad for something internal, not external. As Chris said, countering landowner rights or protests is what they were there for.

Mr Manning : Up until December it was not in anybody's contemplation that we would use the mobile squad.

Mr McCaffery : Perhaps also, prior to the commencement of the peaceful protest on 26 January, over Christmas it had been extremely quiet. There had been a very good relationship between the transferees and the other stakeholders. The transferees had put together collections to give to the local school and the local hospital. At that stage, I left the island. I was there over Christmas and New Year's and I left about the 8th or 9th. When I came back, in discussion with Kevin, and understanding the protest had started, we then realised with the intelligence indicating where it was going to lead, that the importance of the mobile squad grew in intensity. That is when we focused on the nature of that relationship and how we thought we might need to develop that.

Senator SESELJA: The 30th of January was mentioned as the date when you started to have concerns—obviously there had been some concerns before that—that that might start to mean sometime more significant, because of the potential unrest that was building at the centre. So 30 January was when that judgement was formed and then correspondence subsequently took place on 4 and 10 February, raising these issues with the department. Finally, before we run out of time in this section, given that the advice come on the 4th and the 10th, was there any likelihood that you could have seen changes to the nature of the mobile squad prior to the incident which occurred—based on raising it on the 4th and the 10th, from when those concerns became crystallised on 30 January?

Mr McCaffery : If I could add some context, the other point to remember is that there had been a changeover of the mobile squad. So the mobile squad we had initially had discussions with and were familiar with had rotated off the island and a new team had come in from Mt Hagen, I believe, in the highlands, to operate at the centre. It was discussions with them in that first week of February that led me to that email. Those concerns, to my mind, were clarified after I had had a discussion with them about capability, equipment, training, armament, rules of use of force.

Senator SESELJA: Indeed. But my question goes to: once they became crystallised and expressed on 4 and 10 February, was there any possibility that something could have changed within the space of a week or 10 days?

Mr Pye : Realistically, no. What we had to do was to be very careful about the decision to utilise that instrument as it existed. That is why I said that the controls, and the understanding of those controls, and the fact that we would only use them essentially as a weapon of last resort—although they are not a weapon; they are a riot control squad—to respond to illegal activity. But the controls became very important, because you cannot adjust the structure, the equipment or training of that organisation in a short term.

Mr Manning : I would stress that whatever we talked about in the lead-up to these things, the police, the mobile squad, are their own authority. They are on PNG soil, they have jurisdiction in PNG and whether or not we had a very detailed protocol with them, if they had decided to enter the centre uninvited they were perfectly capable of doing so.

CHAIR: I might leave it there with you, Senator Seselja. I will ask Senator Hanson-Young to start off now.

Senator HANSON-YOUNG: I might continue on from here, rather than changing people's minds. I want to be really clear about this, because, at the release of the Cornall report, the PNG police say that there were no PNG police inside the centre on the night of 17 February. Are they right, or are they wrong?

Mr Boyd : I will ask the guys who were there.

Mr Pye : We have believable reports, and reports I trust, of eye-witness accounts of police within the compounds. The evidence suggests that there was discharge of weapons within the compounds, including bullet holes and locations of bullet holes that could not have been impacted by firing outside the compound.

CHAIR: I want to clarify something here. When you were doing the map, Mr Pye, you mentioned that small arms fire occurred, and that was in the Mike compound.

Mr Pye : Yes.

CHAIR: Who would have had access to small arms fire?

Mr Pye : Only the police.

Mr McCaffery : At risk of being pedantic, the provincial police were not at the centre and they did not enter the centre; the Mobile Squad did. So there may have been some discourse along that distinction. I just want to clarify it.

Senator HANSON-YOUNG: Mr McCaffery, the committee has evidence before it which suggests that your own officers heard on the radio, in the chaos of the night, that the police Mobile Squad were ordered to come in and that it was to be left to them. Have you seen that evidence?

Mr McCaffery : I have seen newspaper stories, media stories to that end. I cannot attest to what individuals thought they heard over the radio. You are right—and it might be useful for the inquiry if I were to give some further clarification by using the map. The time we are talking about here, when the riot was going on in Mike compound, I was located here at Golf 2, behind a shipping container. There was not one part of this compound in which rioting was not occurring. There was a free flow of rioting between the two locations. I saw fences being ripped down in seconds.

Senator HANSON-YOUNG: Can I clarify something for the sake of the Hansard. When you refer to rioting behaviour and people moving from one compound to the other, between Mike and Foxtrot, that includes PNG locals?

Mr McCaffery : No.

Senator HANSON-YOUNG: This is before there was any entry into the compounds.

Mr Pye : That is correct.

Senator HANSON-YOUNG: So these are just transferees?

Mr McCaffery : That is correct. At this stage, I was looking into the compound, observing violence of transferee on transferee. There was a hail of missiles of all sorts, from metal poles, pieces of glass and rocks that were the size of my fist and greater. I remember at one stage looking into the night sky and seeing the sky completely filled with missiles. That would ebb and flow through the evening, through the hours that we were there, from times when it was that level of violence to a lesser degree of stones being thrown. The Mobile Squad, which has been articulated by Kevin, which had been inside, was then moved to reinforce the gates here to prevent a breach.

Mr Pye : The Incidence Response Team.

Mr McCaffery : My apologies—the Incidence Response Team had moved. The Mobile Squad was located all along this route, not just in this location but also in this location down here. The Incident Response Team had been moved. I pulled them back through the gates to reinforce this location. They had been active for several hours. It was a hot evening. It was very humid. They were wearing equipment that weighs 10 or 15 kilos. They were carrying a shield. They had been subject to not just taunting but physical violence. It is hard to describe the level of violence that was being plied upon them.

Senator HANSON-YOUNG: I am sorry, Mr McCaffery, I am going to have to ask you to be fast. I know you are giving lots of detail, but I have lots of questions.

Mr McCaffery : No problem, Senator. I had made my way to the electrical supply area here when the lights went out. I saw at that stage that the police had weapons. I had brought my police liaison officer in, who we had appointed—

Senator HANSON-YOUNG: You had your own police liaison officer.

Mr McCaffery : That is correct. We had appointed liaison officers, ex-police officers themselves from somewhere in Australia or New Zealand. I called in overnight asking to talk to the mobile squad commander—and there were a number of commanders of each of these teams and then a central commander. I asked him what the purpose of the weapons was and why they were displaying weapons—they had shot guns and automatic rifles—and what their intention was. He went away and a number of things happened and he came back to me and relayed the fact that the mobile squad had said that they were only there as a show of force and that they had no intention of entering the compound. They knew they could not go in there—and words to that effect.

At this stage we were still moving around and there were still a lot of missiles coming in. There was an incredible amount of noise. Communication was quite difficult. Eventually we moved back to this location. A number of things occurred. I had asked for reinforcements, but eventually it was decided that we needed to withdraw from that location.

The Incident Response Team performed absolutely magnificently. They were extraordinary, and I want to emphasise that, both expatriate staff and local nationals. I had a discussion with the IRT commanders. They said they could no longer hold that position; they were absolutely exhausted and needed to move. So I requested and permission was given to move from here back to this location where they would be re-tasked with a continuation of the tactical plan to go back into this compound, Foxtrot, and go on.

I then had got hold of the police liaison officer again and, as I recollect, I asked him to go back and speak to the mobile squad commander and to let him know that we were about to withdraw. I reiterated that I did not want weapons to be used and that they were not to enter the compound, that we were going to withdraw to here to conduct other activities.

It took about 30 minutes for that withdrawal to occur and, as I left—I was one of the last people out behind this location to move behind the shields of my team—I said to the police officer who was there, 'We are leaving this location and if they come through the fence it is up to you,' and he said words to the effect, 'Don't worry, we've got it.'

Mr Pye : Just as an amplification of your initial question, there was a radio conversation between me and John McCaffery. Having asked for reinforcement, which I could not provide because of requirements elsewhere, he asked if he could withdraw. I gave him permission to withdraw. There was discussion about our understanding of the situation and both of us were absolutely clear about that. The Incident Response Team was no longer capable of preventing external penetration from the transferees should they attempt, because of exhaustion, and by extracting them, we—G4S—no longer had the ability to prevent external penetration onto Route Pugwash and we lost our eyes and ears in that area. That was the implication. There was never an implication of handover. The police always had the responsibility for external security. We were assisting them in the vicinity of Golf 7 up until that time.

Senator HANSON-YOUNG: There was, however, the dog squad that entered the facility—

Mr McCaffery : The green zone, yes.

Senator HANSON-YOUNG: and that was approved by you, Mr Pye?

Mr Pye : That was authorised by my senior operations manager on site in the vicinity. Prior to Mr McCaffery arriving there, he was up at that site in the vicinity of Golf 2. That was done as a show of force, essentially. It was into the neutral zone; it was not into the compounds; it was in between the two compounds. This mobile squad was the first one to arrive with dogs and we wanted to make sure that the transferees understood there were dogs in the area so they were not to come outside because there were dogs. So it was a display. It was not meant to intimidate them or do anything else. It was meant to display. But they were quickly withdrawn as missiles were thrown at them.

Senator HANSON-YOUNG: The time that occurred has been referenced by a number of submitters to this committee as having set things off even further.

Mr Pye : I would submit, Senator, that everyone running out with masks on, with weapons ready and with trunks full of rocks, that the lights going off was actually the trigger—and it was a preplanned trigger—as opposed to the police dogs that happened to have entered at roughly the same time as the lights went off.

Senator HANSON-YOUNG: I want to be clear: in your submission on page 18, where you talk about the mobile squad with a dog team deployed into the green zone, you say:

Department representatives had requested this as a 'show of force' in an attempt to discourage Mike and Foxtrot transferees from breaching the fence line.

So getting into the green zone and cutting across?

Mr Manning : Perhaps I am able to help here. G4S were concerned about the potential use of dogs. I wrote an email to the department on the evening of the 16th having heard, for the first time, of the plan to introduce dogs into a part of the centre which, I hasten to add, was not occupied by transferees. G4S's position was that we did not think this was appropriate for a processing centre, and it was not consistent with our security obligations in the contract. So we wrote formally to them about this. We were, however, overruled. So that is why Mr Pye—

Senator HANSON-YOUNG: Can I go to this point—

Mr Manning : Yes.

Senator HANSON-YOUNG: Who was it in the department, Mr Manning, who overruled, as you say, the decision to have the dogs walk around or through the green zone and around the compounds as a show of force?

Mr Manning : I do not know who personally authorised that decision—

Senator HANSON-YOUNG: Who did you write your email to, Mr Manning?

Mr Manning : I wrote it to the contracts administrator, Mr Schiwy.

Senator HANSON-YOUNG: Mr Pye, who did you get direction from within the department that this was to happen?

Mr Pye : On day to day activities such as this, it would be Mr Anthony Kneipp. I have to say, in a full disclosure, that both myself and Mr McCaffery, on the ground, could see benefits and we had actually advised the department on the ground that we did not see that it was such a bad idea. Equally, we understood the company's position, and the company's position was that we should not do it.

Senator HANSON-YOUNG: The original timing for the mobile squad with the dogs was for it to happen on the Monday morning. Am I correct? Was that the original proposal from the department?

Mr Manning : That was the discussion we had. It is a long time ago now, but that is my recollection. Before there was any outbreak of violence, during the day on the 16th Mr Pye and I had a conversation. That is what registered my concern, and then I wrote to the department on the evening of 16 February to be clear. Events unfolded that night and so the planned walk-through, I think, the following morning either did not occur or it took place, and it also took place later in the day.

Mr Pye : There were two walk-throughs. My recollection is that there was a walk- through through Golf 1, the vicinity of the open area, and along Route Charlie for a short distance and then they were extracted. The second one—which is in the time line—was just immediately prior to the incident picking up even further with the transferees essentially assaulting the fences.

Senator HANSON-YOUNG: Mr Pye and Mr McCaffery, while you could see benefits of doing this, who had you spoken to within G4S about the concerns, that perhaps Mr Manning had, about the dogs?

Mr Pye : Within G4S, I spoke to Mr Manning and identified to him that there was the suggestion that we would do walk-throughs of the dogs along Route Charlie and elsewhere as demonstrations. He put to me that it was a very bad idea, and we had a discussion. He subsequently said that he would write to the department with his concerns.

Mr Manning : Just to be clear: because of the events of the night of the 16th, there were conference calls in the way I described earlier in my introduction. There were conference calls throughout the day, and it was during one of those conference calls when Mr Kneipp said, 'We think it is a good idea to walk the dogs through'. That was the department's position, which had been discussed with PNG immigration, so I backed off.

Senator HANSON-YOUNG: In a scenario like that, it is effectively the department's call? You saw that as the department's call?

Mr Manning : Ultimately, it is PNG immigration's call on PNG soil, but clearly the department has a major stake in how they make their decisions.

Senator HANSON-YOUNG: But, Mr Pye, you got the direction from Mr Kneipp and not from the PNG immigration officer?

Mr Manning : Can I be clear about your question?

Senator HANSON-YOUNG: Was the direction to send the mobile squad with the dogs received from Anthony Kneipp?

Mr Pye : To the best of my recollection, that is correct.

Senator HANSON-YOUNG: Senator Seselja has gone through some of the timelines in terms of when you wrote to the department. I have found a few places where you have written and that is not included in the timeline, so thank you for asking those questions, Senator Seselja. I do think that it is hard for us as a committee to have to piece together all of those communications, so if there are other communications out there, Mr Manning, it would be helpful for us if you were to provide a subsequent list of those. I want to ask about the communication back to you from the department in relation to infrastructure. You wrote several times. It is a pretty formal process if you have gotten to the point of writing a letter, as opposed to having a discussion in the staff mess about things that clearly need to be done. I imagine those discussions would have been happening all the time. To have put it in writing, you must have gotten to a particular level of frustration.

Mr Manning : Yes, and no. I will start with the first, which I think has been referenced today. The security risk assessment was carried out on 23 June 2013. The trigger for that particular security risk assessment and its recommendations was, as Mr Boyd has already explained, the changing of the profile of the centre from families and single adult males to single adult males only. That risk assessment was provided to the department in June 2013. That was part of business as usual but it was deliberately written with the view to the change in profile, and made a number of recommendations about improving security fencing and security lighting. We were verbally informed that that was not going to be authorised. I think I heard Mr Douglass give evidence earlier that suggested that it was because the centre was temporary and was not going to go ahead. There was no formal response, to answer your question.

The next communication was when we were asked to consider how we might ramp-up the facility to potentially 3,000. The PNG solution was announced on 19 July. The planning period after that was very short and we did not have that much information to go with. So we put forward a proposal, in which, because we had been rejected on putting up better security fencing around the compounds, we suggested that it would be a good idea to extract all of the very important strategic logistic assets, which were at the time located in the centre, and put them all centrally—because if you would not fence the potential troublemakers in, we needed to secure those assets in order not to put the operation of the centre in jeopardy. That is the logistic hub that you have heard proposed. That was part of the contract change proposal that we were asked to produce at very short notice in order to enable the regional resettlement arrangements. We did receive a reply to that. The proposals were agreed in principle. The wider proposals for staffing of this were agreed in principle, but the logistic hub never eventuated, certainly not during our time.

Senator HANSON-YOUNG: You obviously heard the evidence today that it has now been established or is being established.

Mr Manning : It was our idea. We proposed it. I am not surprised to hear that, because it is a sensible way to go. The next communication, I think, working from memory, was on 6 October, following the visit of the minister. We put forward another, more detailed, proposal for fencing. That is when that went through. I am working from memory, so I am happy to check the facts, but those are my recollections.

Senator HANSON-YOUNG: We do have the list of them, so we do not need you to go through all of them. I guess what I am trying to get to is, were you getting appropriate responses and did you feel that those requests were being actively taken on board?

Mr Manning : I think in the later stages, probably not. We never received a response. Again, I heard departmental officials talking about a lot of work to be done behind the scenes, but we never received a response to the October proposal for fencing. We did not receive a response to the proposal for a logistic hub, which was also submitted in early October. Those were very formal proposals, and we just did not hear.

Senator HANSON-YOUNG: Were you told by the department that they were in the process of planning and getting a contract signed to erect the fences? Was that communicated to you to alleviate your concerns?

Mr Manning : It was not given to me, but I will turn to my colleagues.

Mr Pye : In late October we provided the additional information they wanted on what we thought was needed for internal and external fences. I did get an answer, but I cannot remember who it was from, but it was probably the infrastructure representatives on the island. Initially they asked if we wanted to project manage or assist in the construction of this, because we did have maintenance resources available, but then they said: 'No, we are taking this on as a project ourselves. We will execute this.' That was the last we heard, though I did ask on a number of occasions as to the progress of that project with the infrastructure representatives on the island. In fact, they were supposed to start on 6 January, if I remember. Before we left at the end of March, they had done a survey and so there was progress.

CHAIR: I think we will leave it there. People need a break.

Proceedings suspended from 15:41 to 15:52.

Senator HANSON-YOUNG: You would have heard the engagement I had with the department over the employment of local staff. Your contact did specifically require the employment of 50 per cent local staff for security purposes. Is that right?

Mr Boyd : It was 50 per cent for the security role. It was a higher percentage for other functions. When we talk of local, it was 50 per cent specifically from Manus Island. It was not just local PNG people. They had to come from the Manus Island area.

Senator HANSON-YOUNG: That is interesting, because that is not what the department inferred. The department inferred that there would be PNG nationals from right around PNG and that the 50 per cent did not just include Manus. But that is your understanding?

Mr Boyd : That is correct.

Senator HANSON-YOUNG: So it was 50 per cent of security and what else did you say?

Mr Boyd : There were other percentages, depending on the function. So there was a higher percentage for—can we pull those details.

Mr Manning : It was 50 per cent for security staff. They were to be from Manus Island. Just by way of background you will recall the land owner protests in early November. This was as a result of the land owner protests that they wanted more local involvement. So it is 50 per cent of security staff, preferably engaged through a local business, which is why subcontractual arrangements were required, but also—

Senator HANSON-YOUNG: Such as Loda Securities?

Mr Manning : That is right. But also 75 per cent of cleaners and gardeners—I understand.

Senator HANSON-YOUNG: In regard to those staff, were they employed via the subcontracts held by G4S?

Mr Boyd : Correct. We had contracts in place with Loda and Compass Group.

Senator HANSON-YOUNG: Did the department ever request involvement in the development of that subcontract with Loda?

Mr Manning : No, the department did not request involvement in that. But in drawing up the arrangements it was really important for us to engage with the local island administration. We took forward a process that involved looking at security companies and coming up with the best solution, and the department was observing that.

Senator HANSON-YOUNG: Who paid Loda Securities? Did you administer that payment or was it done through the Australian immigration department?

Mr Boyd : The immigration department paid G4S and G4S then paid Loda.

Senator HANSON-YOUNG: Are you able to table your contract with Loda Securities?

Mr Boyd : We do not have it here, but we can table it after this hearing.

Senator HANSON-YOUNG: If you could that would be helpful. In general, what challenges does the requirement of having to employ 50 per cent Manus Island local staff in a security role present you with?

Mr Boyd : It presents large challenges from the point of view that Manus Island itself has a population of somewhere between only 40,000 and 50,000 people. There was not a large number of security firms available to us with a large amount of experience. We were actually assisting Loda to establish the company and go through the recruitment process, the selection process and then the training process of the guards who were then employed directly through Loda.

Mr Manning : It is very important to ensure we got this right, because we are working within a local community. It would be the PNG norm to ensure that the workforce reflected the local community, the local clans and the land owners and so on. If we had not got that right we could have set off another round of land owner protests, so we took this forward very carefully and used our PNG expertise to deliver that solution.

Senator HANSON-YOUNG: Were most staff engaged through that process new to security work?

Mr Boyd : A high percentage of the people engaged through Loda would have been new to security work. That is correct.

Senator HANSON-YOUNG: How much were they being paid an hour?

Mr Boyd : They were being paid the same as the PNG officers in our PNG business, run out of Port Moresby, were being paid, which was above the minimum wage levels that are paid inside PNG. Therefore, they were paid in accordance with the PNG environment they were actually in.

Senator HANSON-YOUNG: What is that in kina per day?

Mr Manning : May we table that figure in camera, because obviously it might be an issue.

Senator HANSON-YOUNG: I am happy to. We might do that after.

CHAIR: Yes, perhaps if we do that.

Mr Manning : Commercial sensitivity.

Senator HANSON-YOUNG: Okay. It is not more, however, than your expat staff would be paid?

Mr Boyd : Correct.

Senator HANSON-YOUNG: How much training did these people get?

Mr Boyd : Each of the officers who came on board would have received an initial training course of six days. Following that they were placed on on-the-job training, where they were supervised by the more experienced expats and they were also provided with mentoring. Then they were provided with refresher training as they went forward.

Senator HANSON-YOUNG: Mr McCaffery, what was your take on the expertise and ability of those locally employed staff?

Mr McCaffery : I think we were recruiting from a pool of people—and, might I add, some of them had had military experience—who were new to the security environment. Although, having run security contracts all over the Middle East and Africa, I think, with the security training we put them through, the length of time was not unusual—six days. The important thing, to my mind, was the ongoing on-the-job training and the mentoring that we were giving them for the jobs they were undertaking.

Senator HANSON-YOUNG: In the official G4S submission, you raise the issue of the 50 per cent ratio as 'problemsome'. Can you explain to me why, if we had well-trained people or people who were adequately trained—perhaps, Mr McCaffery, I am putting words in your mouth; you did not say 'adequate'; you said 'comparable', effectively—

Mr McCaffery : The training that I had done with local nationals in other countries?

Senator HANSON-YOUNG: Yes.

Mr McCaffery : Just to clarify, Senator: they were extreme risk locations.

Senator HANSON-YOUNG: I would say that Manus Island is pretty extreme in terms of this inquiry. Can you explain to me why you have referenced it in your submission as one of the reasons that there were problems. And why is it then referenced again in terms that perhaps you should have revisited the ratio with the department?

Mr Boyd : Perhaps I can start and then Chris and Kevin can come in. I think one of the critical reasons that we put that forward was the sense of experience. No amount of training can prepare you for when you actually enter a scenario like the one that took place on the 16th and 17th. It was a concern around the overall experience of those particular guys. We have spoken about this at length and gone through it at length internally, trying to work out: was it our training program that was inadequate; how do we manage that; do we have the right mentoring systems in place? We concluded that it was not a training issue; it was a discipline issue, which, quite honestly, is driven by experience. That was one of the key factors.

The other key factor is when you come back to having locals that obviously reside around that area. You have the Wantok system over there. You do have a program where they are going to engage with the local villagers. They are going to engage with the local police. So you do not actually have as much control—which is probably the wrong word—in terms of the management over them, in terms of what you would have if you had an expat community that was actually there, they are all congregated together, they are all experienced, and you can work directly with them and manage them. But maybe the guys can give some further comment.

Mr Manning : No, I do not think I have anything to add.

Senator HANSON-YOUNG: Would you describe what occurred on the night of the 17th—and perhaps it was the same on the night of the 16th; I am not sure, Mr McCaffery, but I will direct the question to you because you were there on the ground and quite close to what was going on—in terms of locals breaching the centre and going inside as 'mob mentality'?

Mr McCaffery : I cannot speak to that. When I left the position, which we have indicated as Golf 2, and moved back to the centre to liaise with Mr Pye, that had yet to occur. When that occurred, I was actually involved in doing some other duties. It was not until the shots were fired that I returned to mike compound, so I cannot provide any direct evidence.

Senator HANSON-YOUNG: From your staff on the ground whom you have spoken to and whom you have debriefed with, would that be a fair description?

Mr McCaffery : Sorry. Could you give me the description again, Senator.

Senator HANSON-YOUNG: A mob mentality.

Mr McCaffery : I think to aid clarity, I might. For a long period during that evening, several hours, both the local national staff and our expatriate staff did an extraordinary job. There were extraordinary acts of bravery. In 30 years of professional life, both in the military and in the civilian sector, as I said, working in extreme risk environments in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen and other places, I think some of the work that our staff did, both local nationals and expatriates, was quite extraordinary. Even in the face of extreme provocation and extreme violence, our local staff, the ones that I had seen, acted completely appropriately and, where they did not, they were pulled up and moved back if they were under individual stress. Any individual, under the right amount of stress and the right amount of provocation, can make a mistake.

Mr Manning : If I can just answer that as well—

Senator HANSON-YOUNG: It is a pretty full-on mistake.

Mr Manning : Up until the police mobile squad broke into that centre, as Mr McCaffery has already described, there was a degree of control being exercised within the centre, the riots were being responded to and the incident response teams were performing effectively, as already described. To your point, if a mob mentality had been witnessed that night it was only at the point where the mobile squad broke into the compounds and discharged their firearms. If there was a mob mentality that night, it was then that it occurred.

Senator HANSON-YOUNG: Sure. I am not discounting that.

Mr Boyd : Can I add, though, that, from our perspective, we would never seek to justify the actions of people who take things into their own hands and go in and commit acts, whether they be fighting or describe it as you like. We would never condone that and we will continue to work with the police to try to identify those that did actually do that.

Senator SINGH: I want to go to some of the recommendations that you outline in your submission. Before I do that, you raised before the issue of protocols for raising concerns. What were the protocols that were in place between G4S and the department about raising concerns? I think you said that you had to put it in writing, Mr Manning.

Mr Manning : I think the communication norm—if I can put it slightly less formally than a protocol—would have been as I have already described. We would raise issues with the department, sometimes with the PNG authorities present, by which I mean PNG Immigration, PNG ICSA, as the secretary said. That forum would be used to resolve it. If it involved the local police commander, who was the local investigative capability, then we would then use PNG Immigration to resolve it. If it was relating to the mobile squad then again PNG Immigration would be the vehicle through which the issue was resolved, because PNG Immigration were the authority. The operations manager there was the Chief Migration Officer's agent at the centre and it was his responsibility to run the facility. But we had a contractual arrangement with the department, so the first port of call was with the department, with or without PNG Immigration, and then it would be resolved in wider discussions from there. Is that a reasonable expectation?

Mr Pye : There are two levels. Daily, we had meetings with Immigration, with the department, with the other stakeholders, to resolve issues, to make sure that we were moving in the right direction, to suggest things et cetera. So that was daily-level liaison. If we identified something that was problematic and that might have required additional corporate level—that is, if I had no success with the department at my level—I would raise it to Mr Manning and Mr Manning would raise it into the department separately. Then there were those things where we needed to influence the government apparatus of PNG, that being the police or whatever, and again we would talk to the department, sometimes with the PNG ICSA people in there, or we would have a separate discussion and then we would go together, or they would go to PNG Immigration to resolve it.

Senator SINGH: I am interested in the modus operandi for problematic situations, obviously, because this inquiry is about a problem that occurred. In your submission, you have provided, in appendices 19 and 20 and elsewhere, copies of letters that G4S have written to the secretary of the department, Mr Martin Bowles. I think there has been a lot of communication from Mr McCaffery and so on about problems—or potential problems, if not problems—about issues that the department, the government, needed to know. For example, with the letters to Mr Bowles and to Mr Morrison, the minister, when do you determine it is time that we take this formally in writing to the head of the department or to the minister?

Mr Manning : In that particular case, as I have already mentioned, on 30 January, the intelligence suggested that we were entering a new phase in the mood of the centre. There was, for the first time, in that current range of protests, active intelligence coming through that there was a threat of violent action—pushing down fences, setting fires and generally causing violent unrest. That is the time at which we escalated the level of communication to secretary and ministerial level.

Senator SINGH: The two letters that I have appended as 19 and 20—one to Mr Bowles one to Minister Morrison, being 6 and 7 February respectively, were they answered by Mr Bowles or Mr Morrison?

Mr Manning : We received no formal communication.

Senator SINGH: No written response.

Mr Manning : No.

Senator SINGH: Was any formal, written response ever given to you from some of your communication to the department?

Mr Manning : What we do know is that shortly after the letter to the secretary 11 CAPS lawyers arrived on the island. I will ask Mr McCaffery and Mr Pye to confirm that. Within about two days, the CAPS lawyers—who I know were described to you in earlier evidence—were flown onto the island at very short notice and, I think, one of them gave evidence to the committee as well.

Senator SINGH: So you just had to assume that was in response to your letter.

Mr Manning : Those were the high-level communications, but obviously there were separate low-level communications between myself and Mr Kneippwhich were to try to seek more resources. That was using the proper contractual chain. That is that level. But we needed to alert the government at the highest levels to what was beginning to unfold.

Mr Boyd : It is fair to say that we are still awaiting responses to those formal letters.

Senator SINGH: It has been a few months now. I am asking this because you outline a number of things, in this letter on 6 February to Mr Bowles, one of them being current tensions at Manus Island. Earlier today, Mr Bowles made it clear that he was aware of current tensions. So I am trying to understand how the department, the government, responded to your formal articulating of your concerns.

Mr Manning : We had no written response.

Senator SINGH: You have some kind of activity that you were deemed—

Mr Manning : There was a little activity at the lower levels. CAPS lawyers were flown in. As you will see from the communication, we recommended immediately that RSD, status-resolution activity, recommence. I am assuming that was the response, but we were not told.

Senator SINGH: Did RSD recommence after this letter?

Mr Manning : G4S is the garrison service provider. We are not experts in stages of resolution—Mr Bowles was describing that earlier—but CAPS lawyers were flown in and interviews were carried out.

Senator SINGH: There are a number of key contributing factors that the Cornell report identifies as being part of the reason for the incident that occurred on 16 and 17 February. You also highlight a number of contributing factors. Mr Boyd you said in your opening statement today that there were two key factors: the lack of processing of refugee claims, and the lack of infrastructure. You raise the factor of the lack of search powers, cultural dynamic of local workforce and the presence of PNG police mobile squad. Out of all of the factors there, are you saying that those two I just mentioned were the most important?

Mr Boyd : The way we evaluated this was on the basis that if refugee-status determination had actually been taking place, we had seen evidence of—for instance, when those CAPS lawyers arrived there was a downplaying of the protesting that was going on. We know historically from previous reports that this is a key trigger for unrest. So we are of the view that, had they actually been taking place, the violence on the 16th and 17th would not have got to that point. The second issue we looked at was that if the correct fencing in particular had been in place then it is highly likely the violence, had it occurred, would have been easier to contain and would have not resulted in the injuries that took place.

Mr Manning : Just to add to that point, if I may, you saw an image of fencing that we put up earlier. That was taken from the Hawke-Williams report into the riots on Christmas Island and Villawood. I know the Christmas Island Immigration Detention Centre, and I know Senator Hanson-Young has been there, but it would have been inconceivable for the police to break into that facility, with that fencing, from the outside without invitation. That is a simple fact.

Senator SINGH: I understand that the fencing on Manus was as it was because, originally, it was for families and not for SAMs. Obviously that changed.

Mr Boyd : Correct.

Senator SINGH: That is when I understand the need would have been for more adequate fencing—

Mr Boyd : And that is why we did the further security evaluation at the time, to identify when they were moving from the families to the single-adult males, and it was changing in its nature. We deemed it necessary to do a security evaluation and presented that through to the department at that time.

Senator SINGH: What date would that have been?

Mr Manning : 23 June.

Senator SINGH: Last year.

Mr Manning : Yes.

Mr Boyd : Correct.

Senator SINGH: The fencing on Christmas Island, in the images you provided to the committee, is that what you call palisade fencing?

Mr Boyd : That is not what we would normally call palisade fencing. Palisade fencing is just an erection of a fence that is anti-climb; its poles continue to go up. We presented this particular picture as an example of the type of fencing that could be utilised or is utilised in other centres. Primarily, they are both anti-climb fencing and they serve the same purpose.

Senator SINGH: I understand the fencing is underway now; is that correct?

Mr Manning : Nothing had happened when we left the contract on 28 March. There were some low-key surveys that had taken place but no physical change.

Senator SINGH: In your submission you note that G4S communicated these security and other concerns on a number of occasions, from late January to early February or earlier than that even, when you started raising concerns. Would that be right?

Mr Boyd : Which security concerns? We continually updated our security-risk assessment.

Senator SINGH: The fence issue.

Mr Manning : It started in June and that issue remained in the monthly security-risk assessment throughout. But as I explained earlier, we were also seeking to extract the generators and the water-production units and all of those things out of the centre into a logistic hub. So there were a range of issues that we were raising and getting no response to.

Senator SINGH: You were getting no response to those issues. There were other security concerns you raised, like the lack of search powers for G4S staff, or for anyone.

Mr Manning : Not in formal correspondence, but we were raising those concerns back in February 2013. It has been a long time.

Senator SINGH: You are obviously out of the contract now. In your view, were these concerns that you raised adequately dealt with by the department?

Mr Boyd : It is fair to say that when we left none of them had been dealt with, to our knowledge. I was listening to the department this morning. To our knowledge, none of them had actually been dealt with.

Senator SINGH: Were G4S staff present at the meeting that took place on 16 February?

Mr Pye : Neither John nor I was present but my senior operations manager was the 'MC'. He coordinated and facilitated the meeting and we had G4S security staff there observing the meeting and making sure that departmental and PNG immigration officials were safe. My senior operations manager introduced the individuals and at the end extracted the individuals from the meeting. But neither John nor I was witness to the meeting.

Senator SINGH: So you would not be able to answer whether or not Mr Kiangali could be heard. I understand from the Salvation Army submission that he spoke softly and it was difficult to hear him.

Mr Pye : There is video footage. G4S took video footage of the meeting and through that video footage, firstly, you cannot hear what Jeffrey Kiangali has said, but you can hear what other people are saying, which indicates that he does speak softly. Secondly, you can actually see, as his message was delivered, the change in body language which occurred from the start of the meeting to the end of the meeting and the increasing tension amongst the community leaders because of either miscommunication or misunderstanding of the message he was giving.

Senator SINGH: So obviously tension arose at that meeting, and then it was after that meeting that things got a lot worse.

Mr Pye : Indeed.

Senator SINGH: Can you take the committee through what happened straight after that meeting?

Mr Pye : Straight after that meeting, because the meeting was held in Mike compound, the community leaders exited out of there and immediately started to engage verbally with the population of Mike compound. They were subsequently taken back to their own compounds where they are engaged with their own communities and there was perceived anger. Reports from our supervisors on site was that they were not very happy with the answers they had received. They were never going to be happy about some of the answers they received because they all wanted to hear that they were going to Australia. But it would seem that the messaging did not hit the spot and soon after that we had the 35 people exiting Oscar out onto Route Pugwash. Then it was a rolling event, and not just through to the morning of the 18th. The significant risk continued well into late January.

Mr Manning : Can I just raise another point about the infrastructure? That particular egress of 35 transferees from this centre relates directly to the lack of a proper security infrastructure. The opportunity to exit through that gate was because a vehicle was being driven in to deliver meals. In a normal immigration facility, which would have been more secure, you would have had an airlock or a sallyport or something like that and there would not have been the opportunity for people to escape the centre and then put themselves at risk from local intervention by the mobile squad. That is another example of where the security infrastructure did not provide appropriate protection to the transferees.

Senator SINGH: In your communication with the department on the fence issue, which obviously started from June last year, was the department giving you some kind of update about the progress of a perimeter fence being installed?

Mr Manning : No, and to put that briefly into context, when the centre was first opened up one might get about 25 transferees a week. When the numbers were being ramped we were required to go to 120—and at one point nearly 160 a week. That absorbs the whole process in the centre because it is a very large number of people to arrive in a short period of time. Through this process we requested weekly conference calls so that we could be kept updated with thinking from the department and those requests went unheeded.

Senator SINGH: I want to ask about these PPEs—personal protective equipment supplies. I understand that you requested 200 PPEs. At what point in the incident did you request them?

Mr Manning : The request was made in November and, again, was part of the increasing numbers at the centre. I wanted to make a point about training and competence around PPE. We were not training a riot squad; we were training people to be able to conduct themselves with the protection of personal protective equipment without issuing them with batons, because the company felt it was wholly inappropriate and a high risk strategy to issue staff with batons, because if they fall into the wrong hands they are very dangerous. Our point was that yes, we needed to equip the incident response teams—who were there to protect transferees, infrastructure and our own staff—with PPE.

The reason that I asked for 200 sets is that I knew that our staff more widely would become vulnerable in the event of a riot. The experience from Christmas Island and Villawood shows that it is not just the incident response teams that are exposed to the risk of harm and injury from flying missiles; it is the compound staff who are not in incident response units. It was a matter of great concern to me that we were not going to be able to equip our staff with the right amount of personal protective equipment. We were surprised to hear today that the reason that we were not equipped with PPE was that separate advice had been taken and the advice was that we did not have the training for it. If we had been equipped with 200 sets of PPE, I can assure you we would have trained the staff appropriately, to the limited extent that we wanted to use the incident response team.

Mr McCaffery : If I might add some context, I think the important point is that the equipment provides protection. During the evening of the 16th and 17th a number of our staff were injured, some of them fairly seriously, from flying missiles. If they had been wearing the protective equipment they would not have been injured.

Mr Manning : These are normal compound staff, so they had to be there.

Mr McCaffery : This was not the response team.

Mr Manning : Exactly.

Mr McCaffery : This was my personnel who were on the road. I had people beside me drop with significant injuries to the shoulder from being hit with large missiles.

Mr Manning : There were staff crouched outside with Mr McCaffery, who himself was not protected, who were subjected to a hail of missiles. These were not incident response staff. There were insufficient sets of PPE on the island.

Mr Pye : Given the fact that all of the incident response teams were involved in the clearance of Foxtrot, when the small arms fire started and Oscar rioted I had myself and about 20 other expats standing, as we stand here, using wooden dining room tables to protect ourselves against a hundred transferees. I really would have liked a set of riot gear at that stage, if only so that if I got banged on the head it did not crack my skull open.

Mr Manning : At no stage were we advised that separate advice have been taken to the effect that it was inappropriate.

Senator HANSON-YOUNG: Is that the first you heard of it today?

Mr Manning : Yes.

Senator SINGH: Did you get any response to your request for 200 PPEs other than no?

Mr Manning : No. Only to say 50 will be sufficient.

Senator SINGH: What is in a personal protective equipment kit?

Mr McCaffery : There is a helmet, a chest guard, shoulder guards, arm guards, elbow guards, gloves, thigh guards, knee guards and then leg guards, much like cricket pads. It is made of a reinforced hardened plastic with padding. The helmet would be, I guess, akin to a cricketer's helmet, with a visor that covers the face and provides protection when the visor is dropped. It weighs something like 12 or 15 kilos when worn. Then there is a shield; there are a number of shields—a four-foot, a five-foot and a six-foot shield—that can be selected for the appropriate tactics that are being employed.

Senator SINGH: A hand-held shield.

Mr McCaffery : Yes, indeed, a hand-held shield held completely across the hand, a large acrylic shield which in itself can weigh up to 15 kilos, or something like that. The incident response team that night was wearing that equipment and carrying those shields, as I have mentioned, for several hours, in temperatures that were in excess of 30 degrees with extreme humidity, while under constant barrage.

Senator SINGH: What would the level of training be for one of your staff to go through?

Mr Pye : For a non-IRT member to be able to don that protective equipment would be 30 minutes.

Senator SINGH: Thirty minutes training?

Mr Pye : Because he would be shown the use of the shield for self-protection and potentially he would be shown how to lock shield with someone next to him to form a barrier, like we did in the Oscar-Delta line. All it was was, 'If you get hit by a rock it bounces off the plastic as opposed to hitting flesh'. They are not using wedges or pushing forward or doing other things. It is totally defensive for those staff.

Mr McCaffery : From my perspective, having been there and having been riot trained in the military and undergone extensive riot training—and I had to be prepared to use it in East Timor—I was not looking for that sort of training. I would reflect that what I would have been looking for was how to put the equipment on and how to maintain it. The personnel who were with me and on Pugwash were not employed as part of an incident response team. They were employed as safety and security personnel, remembering that, beyond the IRT, we still had members of the G4S security team who had no protection putting themselves in immense danger to pull out transferees, protect them from blows, laying over people to stop them being hit, who had no protective equipment. If we could have equipped them with that, it would have made them less vulnerable and made us more resilient.

Mr Boyd : That is quite different from the training given to operate within an IRT itself.

Mr McCaffery : Completely, absolutely different. They are two separate things.

Senator SINGH: You would have, obviously, suited the training to the situation.

Mr McCaffery : Absolutely.

Mr Boyd : The actual IRT teams themselves were given four days intensive initial training. Then they were required to operate—preferably daily, but no less than three to five times a week, they were running ongoing drills in terms of tactical operations on how to deal with the different scenarios that they may face.

Mr McCaffery : I will perhaps give that some context, if I might, Darren. They had their initial training. They were then under supervision of people who were trained to be trainers—train the trainers for that sort of training, be it police, military or prison service. They were then required daily to undertake day and night drills. Each shift was required to undertake drills and report on the efficacy of that training, because it was a training activity. That was logged and so on and so forth. It was a rolling, ongoing process of training. Again, I reiterate that they performed immaculately right up to the point where they did not, where the overwhelming violence they had been exposed to, the long period of time they had been there—

Mr Manning : When the police mobile squad went in.

Mr McCaffery : And, of course, precipitated by the police mobile squad going in, a number of ill-disciplined individuals broke ranks.

Mr Manning : Can I also stress one thing, Senator, if I may, about the batons?

Senator SINGH: I was about to ask about that. Where did the batons come from? I asked the department if they purchased batons to provide, and they said no.

Mr Manning : We were required by the department to purchase the batons as part of the—

Senator SINGH: You were required by the department to purchase batons?

Mr Manning : We were required by the department to purchase batons. I had no plans to use batons. Under almost no circumstances would I have issued batons.

Senator SINGH: Did the department request you to purchase batons?

Mr Manning : Yes, they did.

Senator HANSON-YOUNG: Do you have that in documentation?

Mr Manning : I will have to go back and check. But, as part of the procurement process, the department required us to purchase batons as part of an overall protective system. That is normal when it comes to police and military riot control. You would buy the whole system. We were not there to provide riot squads. We were there to provide safe passage for vulnerable transferees and for staff members and to protect, where possible, the infrastructure. So we were required to purchase the batons.

Mr Boyd : And we specifically locked those batons away so that they could not be utilised and accessed.

Senator SINGH: I just want to be clear. As part of procurement processes, you were requested to purchase batons which you did not use. But you requested 200 personal protective equipment kits and were denied those by the department.

Mr Boyd : We were approved for 50 of the 200.

Mr Manning : That is correct. We asked for 200, for the reasons that have already been explained, for the non-IRT staff who were exposed to harm and injury that night.

CHAIR: Senator Singh, do you mind if I just ask a follow-up question on that?

Senator SINGH: You go.

CHAIR: The impression I got from the answers earlier from the department was that one of the reasons that they thought it was undesirable to provide those PPE kits was the lack of training. But I got the sense—and I do not know if this was right or not—that they could be used in a way that would be dangerous or aggressive rather than defensive. I will have to go back to the transcript to see if that was right. Is it possible to use those in a way—if there has not been adequate training—to hurt people, as opposed to using them to protect someone?

Mr McCaffery : For clarity, the PPE you speak of is a system. It comes with a suit, a helmet, gloves, shield and a baton.

CHAIR: It comes with a baton as well?

Mr McCaffery : They were purchased but they were not used. We oversecured and we did not use them. But in my previous experience, certainly in the military, that was the overall system, as they call it. The things that can cause damage or death if incorrectly used are shields and batons, particularly batons.

CHAIR: So the PPE that you had requested—the 200, of which you were allowed 50—would have had batons with them?

Mr Manning : They would have had. I can understand—

CHAIR: You would not have necessarily have had to have made them available, I understand that, but they—

Mr Manning : We would not have made them available—

CHAIR: Right, but they did—

Mr Manning : because we were concerned about them falling into the wrong hands.

CHAIR: I just wanted to clarify that, just as a factual matter.

Mr McCaffery : The suits themselves would have been things we would have used and would have issued to anybody who was involved in that—and that number would have gone a long way to equipping all of our personnel.

Mr Manning : And would have saved a number of injuries that night.

CHAIR: And you have explained why, in terms of flying missiles and helmets and protective equipment. Senator Singh, do you have a last question?

Senator SINGH: I just had a last question in relation to injuries that obviously transpired through this incident that occurred. Are you saying that the transferees injured one another before police and PNG officials came through the fence?

Mr McCaffery : Indeed. When I was at the gate that we have indicated as Golf 2, I had a view of the green zone itself, down to the red building. You can see where the green zone marking is, across Mike compound, and I could certainly see where the break-in from Foxtrot compound into the green zone had occurred. I reported on and saw internecine violence between transferees, where rocks were being thrown at other transferees and they were dropping or walking away, obviously, holding their face or their arm or some other appendage. So certainly that internecine violence was occurring.

Senator SINGH: So was it that the transferees that they were injuring were the ones that were not participating in—

Mr McCaffery : That is true. Those that were injured were not participating—those that were injured extensively. There were other transferees who were not participating, and they had gone to their rooms or were moving away from the violence. I might emphasise that transferees moving in from Foxtrot were also breaking into the accommodation and pulling beds apart or making weapons or grabbing items to use as weapons. Some of that was driven by internecine violence; some of that was to throw at us or to use against us.

Mr Manning : May I make two final points? The first is to the training of the incident response teams. They gave a demonstration of their capability to the Joint Agency Task Force when they visited in February, and the Joint Agency Task Force were very impressed. So they were audited. Their level of training was approved during that visit. Can I also just clarify finally this issue of systems or a total system. Mr McCaffery was explaining that, when you have a full set of PPE, it comes with a baton, a shield and protective equipment. You do not have to buy them all. We could have bought those sets of PPE in individual items, and you have to order each individual item. We were required to buy the full set by the Department of Immigration, including the batons, because it was a procurement exercise.

Senator SINGH: You could not request the parts you wanted?

Mr Manning : We could have done.

Senator SINGH: But the department would not allow it?

Mr Manning : The department approves all procurements and, in the discussions over the procurement activity, the department insisted the full set was bought, even though we were not going to use the batons.

Senator SINGH: When you requested the 200, did you make it clear what kind of kit you wanted?

Mr Manning : At that stage we were talking about overall numbers, so we were saying PPE. We did not have a full shopping list at that stage. But, when it came down to carrying out the procurement, we would have listed what we thought was appropriate.

Mr Boyd : I think what might make it clear for the committee is if we actually pull the documentation out and you can see the documentation for yourselves. That is probably the best way to do it.

CHAIR: Yes, okay. Thank you, Mr Boyd. Senator Seselja, last couple of questions for you.

Senator SESELJA: Just on the PPEs, was it clear in the request for the extra PPEs that it was for the use of your staff generally, rather than just the incident response team?

Mr Manning : I would have to take that on notice, but we discussed this with the department on a number of occasions. I was concerned for the wider safety of staff. Clearly, you could evacuate many staff members from the centre but you could not just leave the centre with incident response teams; you had to have the normal compound staff. That is why I asked for 200.

Senator SESELJA: I just want to go to this issue around resettlement determinations. You have said the key factor was the lack of processing of transferees' refugee claims. What led you to the conclusion that there was a lack of processing, or that there were no resettlement determinations occurring?

Mr Manning : I was not on the island; I visited many times, but I was not on the island at the time. As I have already said, we were mere onlookers in this process but merely processing or lack of processing was highly visible to us because potentially it was the catalyst behind other action.

Senator SESELJA: It was—

Mr Manning : I will ask Mr Pye to address that.

Mr Pye : We were aware of what processing was and was not going on because we had responsibility to coordinate and deliver transferees to the processing areas which were established. So when there was an interview the Salvation Army would notify the transferee of their interview and then we would escort them to the interview process, remain there until the interview process was over and then return. So we were very much aware of the rhythm or the lack of rhythm with initial interviews and other parts of the RSD process, although we were not involved. We were supporting it.

Senator SESELJA: I think I heard this morning the department saying that there were something like 800-odd initial interviews in the early part of this year. Is that not correct?

Mr Pye : I think the department said they were up to a total now of 800 initial interviews.

Senator SESELJA: So there were no occurring in the early part—

Mr Pye : There were very few occurring up until the point where the additional 11 CAPS lawyers arrived, and then some process occurred.

Mr McCaffery : I might clarify: there was a single CAPS lawyer on the island. His role was to interview transferees and to help them prepare their cases. That was going on all year. Certainly, my communication with the department was precipitated by the ongoing peaceful protest, where the only issue that was being raised was the ongoing issue of refugee processing. There was no other issue that they were bringing to the fore. That was in communication with us and I brought that concern to the department.

Senator SESELJA: But you have just said there that all year there was processing taking place?

Mr McCaffery : There was a single CAPS lawyer who would provide that ongoing processing, sometimes three a day, sometimes two a day—it would vary, and I am sure when Playfair are here they will be able to give you that information. But, again, we were growing exponentially; there were 1,300 personnel and that was only one part—the beginning of their RSD process. They were being interviewed; the next step was that they needed to be interviewed by Papua New Guinean officials to then make a decision, and that determination, that process, was not happening at all.

Senator SESELJA: Sure. But you said in your opening statement that essentially no processing was taking place, so—

Mr McCaffery : That is not in discord with that. There was no processing; CAPS was not processing their claim that was enabling them to establish their circumstance to present to—

Senator SESELJA: But isn't that part of the processing? We just heard that you knew processing was going on because the interviews would take place—

Mr Pye : They were the initial interviews; the initial interview phase. It sets the precondition for the subsequent parts—

Senator SESELJA: But it is part of the process?

Mr McCaffery : Part of an overall process, that would be fair.

Senator SESELJA: Earlier in your answers there seemed to be just a slight disconnect in terms of the request—I think it was the October request—for additional infrastructure. I think we heard that there was no response, but I think that either Mr Pye or Mr McCaffery suggested there were discussions with the department where you were told they were undertaking their own separate process?

Mr Pye : Mr Manning was referring to formal communication back from the department, I believe. I engaged with the infrastructure individuals within the department, because I had infrastructure and community engagement representatives et cetera based at Manus Island and I did inquire as to the progress of the fencing on several occasions. On one of those occasions they said, 'No, we don't need your help. We don't need any further assistance from you,' because we had provided advice, 'We're going to do this project ourselves.' Often I would check back with him and they started mentioning dates in January where they might start it but there was no process at that point.

Senator SESELJA: So you were advised that they were doing a separate process not involving G4S?

Mr Pye : Not involving G4S. They had accepted our advice and they were running their process.

Senator SESELJA: When were you advised of that? In October?

Mr Pye : In the period November to December. It sounded like they might start in January, which then became February, and then we saw some people before we left in March doing survey operations.

Senator SESELJA: I just want to go back to your timeline. On 15 June 2013 you said there was a change of risk profile due to a change from families to single adult males, and this was under the former government. On what date were you first made aware that the Manus Offshore Processing Centre was to become home to single adult males only?

Mr Manning : We would have to take that on notice, but it was towards the end of May or early June. We immediately started reviewing the process and that is the date of the risk assessment.

Senator HANSON-YOUNG: Can I just clarify something, Senator Seselja?

Senator SESELJA: I am a bit short on time, so you will have to be very quick.

Senator HANSON-YOUNG: On that question, I just want to make it clear that there were single adult males at the same time as there were families. It was not just families, correct?

Mr Manning : That is absolutely correct. I know what you are implying, if I may be so bold, but the presence of the families and the children was a moderating influence on the behaviour of the SAMs.

Senator SESELJA: I will just go back to my earlier questioning around the numbers—whether the 800-odd that had been interviewed was earlier this year or by now. I am advised that the earlier evidence was that 853 had undergone first interview by 18 February this year, so it is not to date.

Going back to your answer, you will take on notice exactly when you were advised. Were you consulted about this? Were you given time to get ready to make changes? That was 15 June—the change of risk profile—and then 23 June you had come back and provided risk assessment to the department highlighting the inadequate security.

Mr Manning : We were discussing this on the island with the department—I was an active part of that—and we were talking about the potential change in profile. Our proposal was agreed locally by the senior official on the island from the Department of Immigration—Australian immigration, to be clear—and a few days later we were notified that the proposal had been rejected.

Senator SESELJA: You were advised orally of that? You were not advised in writing?

Mr Manning : Yes.

Senator SESELJA: I think we heard earlier that the reason given, effectively, was that this was not likely to be a permanent facility at that point. We were talking about another facility. Is that your understanding of the reasoning for that objection?

Mr Manning : It is a reasonable assumption, but we were not told why.

Senator SESELJA: You were not given a reason at that time?

Mr Manning : No.

Senator SESELJA: I will go to 19 July, when that announcement was made. Was there a similar risk assessment that occurred as a result of 19 July? Suddenly we had a whole different ball game—not just single adult males, but also no chance of being resettled in Australia and with potentially many more coming. Did you do the same risk assessment that you did after 15 June?

Mr Manning : We carried out risk assessments every month. In addition to that, as our contract change proposal suggested, we recommended the creation of the logistic hub, which extracted those logistic assets out of the centre where not only were they vulnerable to destruction, but they also provided potential weapons. The facilities maintenance compound was inside the centre, and the department was proposing to convert what was the oval sports ground to what is now Oscar compound.

Senator SESELJA: Given that you were advised on 19 July that it was now going to be quite significantly different and probably permanent, did you then come back—

Mr Manning : We were not told it was going to be permanent.

Senator SESELJA: So it was your understanding that—

Mr Manning : It was still a temporary facility.

Senator SESELJA: So it was your understanding that it would still be a temporary facility.

Mr Manning : Correct.

Senator SESELJA: Were you consulted before 19 July?

Mr Manning : No.

Senator SESELJA: So you were put in a situation on 19 July where suddenly the game had significantly changed again, you were going to be faced with significantly higher numbers coming in and changed circumstances in terms of those who were coming, but you were given no indication that it was permanent. At that point, what assistance were you given, or what discussions took place to enable you to make the facility more appropriate for those changed circumstances?

Mr Manning : I am at an advantage over Mr Pye and Mr McCaffery, who were not on the island at the time. We were not consulted on what Oscar compound was going to look like, and there was a lack of amenity, which we were concerned about, when it did actually arrive. We were not consulted about what Mike compound would look like. What we were consulted about were the future plans for the complex, but that was not until October or November when there was a meeting with the design consultants. The department would normally, as part of a large infrastructure project, invite us and ask our opinions on the infrastructure. But in the rapid ramp-up, as part of the regional resettlement arrangements, we were not consulted either before or after the election.

Senator SESELJA: So the former government, when they brought in that change of policy, did not consult you at all. When did you find out about that change of policy which was going to mean such a difference for your ability to manage the centre?

Mr Manning : Which change of policy?

Senator SESELJA: The 19 July announcement from the former Prime Minister.

Mr Manning : We heard on 19 July formally.

Senator SESELJA: So you heard it through the media, or you were advised by the government?

Mr Manning : No, we were getting calls that day from the department.

Senator HANSON-YOUNG: Did you or any of your staff at the centre ever meet with Jeffrey Kiangali on your own?

Mr Manning : Yes, as a matter of courtesy—absolutely. But not to discuss policy or changes of policy. That is from my perspective. I would have to defer to Mr Pye.

Mr Pye : On occasion, when I would engage with the department and we would discuss something, sometimes the department would say can you go and discuss that with Jeffrey or Wilson. But that was all about day-to-day running or 'Can you help us with this' or 'What is the progress on the search warrant that we have asked for', because they were sponsoring that through the police system. We were always after search warrants, especially with regard to our intelligence, and we were pressing them and asking them. On those occasions I would go direct to Jeffrey or Wilson Kuve, his deputy, and have a discussion. And, in fact, I would always go back to the department and say, 'This is what they said', because it was a cooperative agreement, a cooperative situation. But we all understood that PNG had the role and anything problematic and contractual had to go via the department. We were all trying to work together to do the best we could.

Senator HANSON-YOUNG: Did you have your own staff raise issues with you about the level of security at the centre, training issues or their own sense of safety?

Mr Pye : Absolutely. I had an open-door policy. We used to run a series of town hall meetings with the expats or meetings with local staff where they could raise concerns if they had them. Where we could we would address them, or we would let them know the progress on those issues. Like all workforces—and it was a very large expat workforce—everyone has their opinion and their viewpoint. Whilst having probably the most experienced security workforce I have ever had was an advantage on that night, it was also a disadvantage at times because everyone had an opinion. Whether they were from police, or from prisons or from the Army, they had all done it a different way in the past, and everyone knew best how to do it. It was both a benefit and sometimes a distraction.

Senator HANSON-YOUNG: Were there scenarios where staff would raise issues with you that you felt needed to be put further up the line to Mr Manning to go to the department, or did you feel that you could deal with those things yourself?

Mr Pye : Depending on the issue. We had a WHS reporting system which we would follow through and track if there were WHS reports. If there were reports of misconduct by my staff, that was a different reporting system. It would depend on the circumstances. Where there were things where the department did not need to help, but G4S did, then I engaged with Mr Manning. If it was something that the department would help with, I would initially engage directly with the department on the ground, and depending on their position then we might go via Mr Manning. But we always talked first.

Senator HANSON-YOUNG: The department's own info pack for staff living on Manus talks about how unsafe it is for expats to walk around on the island. People are directed not to be on their own, to always be with somebody else. Was that information that you gave to your own expat staff as well or did everybody get what the department had provided?

Mr Pye : We gave our own briefing pack. Equally, I would hope that the advice the department gave to their individuals was based on our risk assessment. We would vary the controls and risk strategies in place depending on the environment and what was happening outside, because whilst we were focused inside we also had an obligation to provide security advice to the staff of the centre outside the centre. We were the people who would suggest walking in pairs, no females by themselves but always with a male escort et cetera because of the environment of PNG.

Senator HANSON-YOUNG: I want to go to the issue of rocks and other things being thrown inside the compound. There has been talk over the last couple of hours about the injuries because of things being thrown around. How did all of those bits and pieces accumulate? How did the detainees accumulate them?

Mr Pye : Depending on the compound, the ground there is dirt, coral, and if you scratch underneath the sand you will find more coral and you can keep digging. It is limestone based coral. As a security provider, and especially as the risk level rose, we continually did sweeps through the area (1) to find any rocks and things on the ground and (2) to identify where we could, without powers of search, where they had been stowing weapons. We did this by conducting what we called a facilities check, where we would check on the construction, the gutters and everything else. We could not go and look in their personal trunk or their personal bag or check on their person. That is where they stored their weapons.

Senator HANSON-YOUNG: In relation to the Sunday night, both your submission and others have talked about rocks being thrown from locals outside the perimeter fence into the facility. Was that able to be cleaned up on the Monday prior to Monday night's events?

Mr Pye : Yes, the best we could, we went through and swept through all the compounds and extracted that.

Mr McCaffery : If I might clarify, Senator, it was not just rocks. It was pieces of bed, pieces of glass from broken windows, bits of chair. It was the water bottles that they would get water in which they would then fill with sand and use those to throw.

Mr Manning : May I, very briefly, add a point about searches, warrants and so on. First of all, as you know, on the mainland the Migration Act allows for searching to be carried out by officers of the Commonwealth. Secondly, it was actually quite difficult to get a search warrant. I know the department gave evidence about this this morning. The magistrates would not always authorise a search to take place. You had to have substantial evidence or concerns, nor were they always there. Although we had no powers of search , getting a search warrant was not easy.

Senator HANSON-YOUNG: Okay, thank you. I want to go to the issue of confidentiality. All your staff, Australian expat staff, are required to sign a confidentiality agreement—is that right?

Mr Boyd : That is correct. Under the contract we have with the department we are required for our staff to execute those confidentiality agreements.

Senator HANSON-YOUNG: That is a requirement of the contract held with the immigration department?

Mr Boyd : Correct.

Senator HANSON-YOUNG: Does that cover other staff as well or is it just expatriate staff?

Mr Boyd : It is all staff.

Senator HANSON-YOUNG: Has that ever raised concerns within your management, if there are issues to be raised, about how staff feel about being able to raise issues of safety or security concerns?

Mr Boyd : It is quite normal for us, like any other commercial organisation, to have confidentiality deeds in place, but the onus is then upon us to ensure we have sufficient internal mechanisms that allow staff to raise those issues. We have an internal system called Safe to Say and we have our health and safety committees—there are a broad range of areas where they can raise those issues. Also, as Kevin was saying, they did run town hall meetings and ongoing engagements to try and get the staff to engage with us and present their information.

Senator HANSON-YOUNG: A lot of witnesses have suggested in their submissions that this was something that was drilled into them almost on a daily basis, from the moment they rocked up to work—and not just G4S staff but across the other providers as well—that confidentiality was key. In relation to the contract, was it an element of abatement if confidentiality was breached by your employees?

Mr Boyd : No, it was not. But I would add—and I would not use the words 'drilled into them'—that part of the reason we have confidentiality deeds is that we are looking after the confidentiality of the people who are in our care at the same time. So we are very conscious about people making statements to the media and other avenues and about ensuring that the transferees, their identities and other things that are going on in the centre associated with the medical side of things are kept confidential.

Senator HANSON-YOUNG: Could you provide us with a list of what abatement fines, effectively, were issued to G4S through the process of your contract with the department?

Mr Boyd : G4S was on the island for 19 months, and we were not abated at all during that period. Neither was there a raising of any operational issues that went towards performance or abatement, other than just general day-to-day things. But there was nothing from a contractual perspective that would come up the line.

CHAIR: Thank you, Mr Boyd. I will just indicate a couple of things before we conclude the hearing. I think you have taken some questions on notice today.

Mr Boyd : Yes.

CHAIR: The secretariat suggests that the committee agree that answers to questions on notice are due by 1 July. We do not have the whole committee here at this point, but I think provisionally we will give that indication, and if there is a change to that we will let you know. The other thing is that earlier on there was a question that Senator Hanson-Young asked and you indicated that the answer was commercial-in-confidence and you would like to give that evidence in camera. We can do that quickly now, or it may be possible to provide that and just request that it be considered in camera.

Mr Boyd : I think it would be better to provide it, because we need to get the most accurate information. So, we will provide that separately, but in confidence.

CHAIR: Thank you very much. That concludes today's proceedings. I thank all witnesses who have given evidence to the committee today. Thanks also to Hansard, Broadcasting and the secretariat.

Committee adjourned at 17 : 02