Members’ Letter to UniSuper

Below, a sample letter UniSuper members can use to send to UniSuper urging them to divest from the mandatory detention industry. Please use this letter in full or adapt it. A personalised letter will be taken more seriously than a simple copy. However, the details in this letter can be used to bolster your own argument.

You can also refer to the UniSuper Transfield Divestment Brochure

Dear UniSuper,

My name is XXX and I am a Unisuper member. I am writing to call upon you to divest from investment in the mandatory detention industry through the companies Transfield and Decmil. I am gravely concerned that my retirement savings which are invested in UniSuper, are contributing to profits raised from the imprisonment of innocent asylum seekers in direct violation of international law.

I believe that UniSuper has attempted to allay members’ fears by claiming that UniSuper has a role in promoting responsible business practices in the companies in which it invests. However, I note that indices used to make such assessments such as the Dow Jones Sustainability Index are not ‘sector neutral’ as UniSuper has claimed. On the contrary, the DJSI makes specific reference to industries such as the ‘alcohol, gambling, tobacco, armaments, cluster bombs, landmines, firearms, nuclear and/or adult entertainment’ industries as bases for which to exclude companies from investment. The DJSI does not include mandatory detention because, being a US-based measure, it cannot make reference to this Australian particularity.

The second claim that you have made in correspondence with concerned members is that UniSuper has a fiduciary duty to act in its members’ best financial interests. However, with regards Transfield, despite its lucrative $2.1 billion contract to run offshore detention on Manus Island and Nauru, Transfield Services’ shareprice has fallen by 23% since it signed its first contract to manage detention centres on 5 February 2013 to August 2014. Indeed, Transfield’s shareprice has underperformed relative to all significant indices since it began managing detention centres.

This being said, even if Transfield were a highly performant company, there is no ethical basis on which to justify the use of Unisuper members’ retirement savings to further bolster the public-private partnership of the state and industry which profits politically and financially from the human horror that is the mandatory detention system. The recent Human Rights Commission Inquiry into the 518 children in detention as well as the murder of Reza Berati and the death due to severe neglect of Hamid Kehazaei, both interned on Manus Island, are all testimony to the brutality of a system designed not to efficiently process refugees but to punish and deter others from coming to Australia.

The fact that the policy of mandatory detention is a bipartisan one means that the only way to effectively challenge it is through the withdrawal of the material support on which the system relies. As a member of UniSuper, I am calling on you to cease investing my funds and those of my colleagues across Australia in the mandatory detention industry through your investments in Transfield and Decmil. Complete divestment is the only way of ensuring our funds are used ethically and securely. I am sure that you will take our concerns as members seriously and do the right thing.

Yours sincerely,

XXX

 

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Members’ Letter to UniSuper

NTEU NSW holds meeting to discuss UniSuper divestment from Transfield

A meeting was called by the NSW National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) at the University of Technology Sydney on August 14 to discuss UniSuper’s divestment from Transfield. UniSuper is the superannuation fund all NTEU members are mandated to invest their retirement savings in under the terms of Enterprise Bargaining. It is co-directed by Australian University Vice Chancellors and NTEU representatives.  Continue reading “NTEU NSW holds meeting to discuss UniSuper divestment from Transfield”

NTEU NSW holds meeting to discuss UniSuper divestment from Transfield

Art, Corporate Sponsorship and the Biennale of Sydney 2014: A Storify

A Storify of last night’s talk at COFA, Sydney on ‘Art, Corporate Sponsorship and the Biennale of Sydney 2014’ addressed by Libia Castro & Ólafur Ólafsson, Gabrielle de Vietri, Angela Mitropoulos and Helen Hughes and chaired by Zanny Begg. The event had an enormous turn-out and was live tweeted by @xborderops.

Art, Corporate Sponsorship and the Biennale of Sydney 2014: A Storify

Why I will be Boycotting the 2014 Sydney Biennale

Art critic, Ruth Skilbeck explains her reasons for boycotting the 19th Sydney Biennale.

You imagine what you desire. The semantic ambiguity of the Biennale title shows the waffle of postmodernist rhetorical relativity, as the cover-up for neo-liberalism (and fascist) policy that it enables, and the cynicism behind it.

Read her letter

Follow Ruth’s diary of the boycott

Why I will be Boycotting the 2014 Sydney Biennale

Who Made this Graphic Novel to deter Afghan Asylum Seekers?

Image

The Guardian reports that, accompanying the ‘No Way. They will not make Australia home’ campaign, the government  published an 18 page graphic novel, titled ‘A Story Board on People Smuggling’, aimed at deterring asylum seekers arriving by boat. The story board was first published on the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service website in November.

Who made this?

Who Made this Graphic Novel to deter Afghan Asylum Seekers?