Last night, a 4Corners’ report briefly explored the reprehensible, racist treatment of migrant workers in the picking and packing steps of the food industry in Australia. Continue reading “Down, Down, Migrant Workers Are Kept Down By The Threat Of Concentration Camps | Coles, Transfield”
We’ll be passing these along to people in detention so they can pick which brandname & logo best characterises the soon-to-not-be-Transfield Services. They should know, right?
You can also participate through the poll below.
Other suggestions have included:
#RebrandDetentionCamps Vers. 04: “A picture of a boot stamping on a human face forever,” and
#RebrandDetentionCamps Vers. 05: “We Concentrate Better Than Hitler.”
Transfield has been doing it tough over the last year. Continue reading “#ReBrandDetentionCamps Competitive Selection Process | #Transfield #Manus #Nauru”
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
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.
UniSuper Divestment Brochure [ download pdf ]
Note: An earlier version of this graphic depicts Douglas Sneddon as an existing board member of St James Ethics Centre. We now know that Sneddon left the St James Ethics Centre board in April 2014 and left the St James Ethics Foundation board in May 2014. The graphic above depicts the current connections as indicated on the St James Ethics Centre’s website.
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”
Below is the text of the preamble & motion that was passed at UMSU:
Australia’s border regime and its reliance on mandatory indefinite immigration detention is the target of frequent, global condemnation as unjust, cruel, and illegal. Offshore immigration detention centres on Christmas Island, Manus Island, and Nauru have been singled out for particular condemnation, with reports emerging that asylum seekers are being raped, beaten, and even killed while in the care of the Australian government. The remoteness and secrecy of these prisons shields the Australian government from accountability for this violence.
All Australian offshore detention centres are run by private contractors. These contractors act as a further shield against accountability for the Australian government, and profit in doing so. Infrastructure and waste disposal company Transfield recently won the contract from G4S to run detention centres on Manus and Nauru, to the value of $1-2 billion dollars, depending on unspecified “contingencies”.
One of the largest investors in Transfield is UniSuper, the industry super fund for the tertiary education sector. Superannuation is compulsory under Australian law. As such, all academic staff employed at the University of Melbourne, and the majority of UMSU staff, have investments in Transfield, and receive returns as Transfield’s contracts expand. As the NTEU and UMSU have consistently taken a position against mandatory detention, this cannot be considered to be the desire of the majority of UniSuper investors. The NTEU has a representative — therefore a voice — on the UniSuper board.
Investing in companies like Transfield makes us as individuals and institutions accountable for these abuses. Further, our investments provide us with a point from which we can put pressure on all potential contractors to refuse contracts to run detention centres. As such, Transfield is the target of a boycott and divestment campaign from a broad coalition of pro-refugee groups, including RISE Refugee, Students Thinking Outside Borders, Crossborder Operational Matters, Boycott 19 BoS, and Beyond Borders Collective.
In the context of massive cuts to education, and corresponding redirection of funds to border control, all university students and workers must stand firm against profiteering based on racist border panic.
We reiterate our opposition to mandatory immigration detention.
We commit to divesting from all contracts with Transfield and other businesses or funds with investments in immigration detention.
We call on UniSuper to divest from Transfield and all other businesses or funds with investments in immigration detention centres.
We further call on NTEU National Executive to urge UniSuper to divest from Transfield and all other businesses or funds with investments in immigration detention centres.
We call on the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre to clearly oppose mandatory detention, immediately sever its links with the National Australia Bank, and to seriously review its approach toward and involvement in the detention industry.
The National Australia Bank (NAB) is a substantial shareholder in Transfield Services. Transfield Services holds multi-billion dollar contracts to run the detention centres on Manus Island and Nauru. Continue reading “Why is the ASRC partnering with the NAB, a major shareholder in Transfield? #NABdivest #TSEdivest #Manus #Nauru”