Lunchbox/Soapbox: Mark Isaacs: Nauru: An insider’s account of Australia’s offshore detention policy

Lunchbox/Soapbox: Mark Isaacs: Nauru: An insider's account of Australia's offshore detention policy

In this prescient Lunchbox/Soapbox event, Mark Isaacs speaks to the heart of this divisive issue by giving an insight into what really goes on inside Australia’s asylum seeker detention centres, unfiltered by media bias.

Former asylum seeker processing centre volunteer Mark Isaacs sidesteps the media spin to expose the harsh realities of life on Nauru, in this first-hand account of oppression, haphazard organisation and human disaster.

Mark Isaacs was 24 when, as a Salvation Army volunteer, he was abruptly despatched to Nauru in October 2012. The Pacific Solution had just been reintroduced and people were needed to staff the asylum seeker processing centre. Alongside a collection of unqualified misfits, Isaacs was horrified to witness the oppressive conditions asylum seekers faced. Two years later, his book The Undesirables recounts his first-hand experiences of the pitiful accommodations, shoddy organisation and vindictive surveillance on the island, as well as how he and his fellow volunteers dealt with anger, confusion and suicide attempts among the internees.


Portrait of Mark Isaacs

Mark Isaacs

Mark Isaacs is a writer, a researcher, a photographer and a community worker.

Mark is president of PEN Sydney, an affiliate of PEN International, a worldwide association of writers which defends freedom of expression and campaigns on behalf of writers who have been silenced by persecution or imprisonment. He is currently studying for a Doctor of Philosophy at the University of Technology, Sydney. His research will focus on human migration in the Asia-Pacific region.

Listen to Lunchbox/Soapbox: Mark Isaacs: Nauru: An insider's account of Australia's offshore detention policy