In her submission to the inquiry, Nicole Judge described a "rape dungeon" on Manus Island, and how she was sexually harassed by PNG locals and expat guards. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
The third day of the inquiry into Manus Island violence took a dramatic turn as a former young Salvation Army worker came face-to-face with Queensland Liberal Senator Ian Macdonald.
Senator Macdonald took on 24-year-old Nicole Judge, who was hired by the Salvation Army and promptly flown overseas within two days of applying for a job via a Facebook advertisement.
In her submission to the inquiry, Ms Judge described a "rape dungeon" on the island, and how she was sexually harassed many times by PNG locals and expat guards.
The inquiry was also told that Immigration Minister Scott Morrison's conduct at the specific time of the violence had not been investigated by the author of the independent report, Robert Cornall.
Despite Ms Judge's serious allegations, she was faced with a peculiar line of questioning by Senator Macdonald.
"Have you ever met a politician before?" he asked.
"No, but we watch you on TV," Ms Judge replied.
"OK, well you can't have much of a life if you do that," he said with a chuckle, before continuing: "You would probably would be pleased that no more asylum seekers are coming to Australia since the boats have stopped, you know that one line slogan you mentioned, so there will be no more new transferees coming to Manus. You'd be happy about that wouldn't you?," he said.
"Well, I wouldn't say I was happy that we're turning boats back, but I am happy no more asylum seekers are going to Manus and Nauru, but I wouldn't go as far to say I was happy that asylum seekers aren't coming," she replied.
"Yeah, well, we won't have a debate," Senator Macdonald said.
"You are aware there are literally millions of people waiting refugee camps. You are aware of that aren't you?" he then asked.
"Personally, my opinion is they don't come illegally," she said.
"You're just dehumanising them even more. We shouldn't be sending them to these places, they killed a man," she said.
"There were 300 or 400 people who were killed at sea, did you raise your voice and protest against about that?"
"I feel like the questions you're asking aren't even relevant to the investigation," she said.
Ms Judge then told the hearing that when she tried to make a complaint about the sexual harassment, a Salvation Army worker said: "What do you expect, that happens in bars all the time."
Despite having no experience in counselling or trauma, Ms Judge's role was as a "case worker".
"I was an untrained university student trying to comfort asylum seekers who were grown men. Every day people said they would rather die."
Mr Cornall, who was paid $82,000 for three months to author the independent report, also revealed his first discussion with Mr Morrison was in May.
He was subsequently told by the government to work "very closely with PNG ministers," he said.
Despite this, PNG's deputy police commissioner, Simon Kauba, issued a statement in May insisting police on Manus Island played no part in the violence - directly contradicting the findings of Ms Cornall's report.
The inquiry continues.