Direct Line: Manus Island and The Messenger

The Wheeler Centre

Event Date: 
30 March 2017
Author / Presenters: 
Abdul Aziz Muhamat, John Zammit, Michael Green, Ben Doherty, and Madeleine Morris

Manus Island’s offshore immigration detention centre has consistently featured in the headlines – yet it remains largely unknown and unknowable to the public. Few journalists have been granted access; visitors can’t make recordings; and, historically, detainees have been banned from using their own phones.

But when it comes to Australian immigration policy, the goalposts are constantly moving, and we rarely hear from the people whose destinies are at stake.

Abdul Aziz Muhamat – originally from Sudan, now a refugee detained on Manus – has been using a smuggled phone to give Australians a first-hand account of life in detention. Since March 2016, Aziz has been corresponding with Melbourne journalist Michael Green, using WhatsApp to relay voice messages. The Messenger is a ten-part podcast series from the Wheeler Centre and Behind the Wire – and the winning pitch in last year’s So You Think You Can Pod competition – and it’s based on their correspondence.

Hear directly from Aziz himself (appearing via Skype) at this panel discussion of life on Manus and the making of the podcast. He’ll be joined by Behind the Wire’s Michael Green, psychologist and former Manus Island health worker John Zammit and Guardian correspondent Ben Doherty.

Hosted by ABC 7.30 reporter (and Wheeler Centre Question Time anchor) Madeleine Morris.