Serco

Contracted by Centrelink, Serco has sacked hundreds of call centre operators in Melbourne, reports Jim McIlroy.

Prison rights campaigner Debbie Kilroy argues we need to abolish prisons, police and other systems of social control, and that the rising movement around Black Lives Matter–Stop Black Deaths in Custody offers a valuable opportunity to talk about the alternatives.

Critics are alarmed that the Queensland state government has announced plans to turn the Southern Queensland Correctional Centre, run by notorious British company Serco, into a private women’s prison.

The Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) says that contracting another 1000 private call centre operators to answer calls to Centrelink will not fix the problems caused by the federal government’s damaging cuts to the agency.

Minister for Human Services Michael Keenan announced on April 23 the introduction of another 1000 low-paid and insecure jobs, on top of the 250 positions currently generating a profit for multinational company Serco.

A man waves over a roughly boarded fence, as a guard walks intimidatingly in front of it. A group of refugee protesters, sweltering in the hot sun in Leonora — a two day drive from Perth into the desert — wave back and yell “azadi”, the Farsi word for freedom.

I am one of the protesters and I am filming the protest.

One week earlier, just before the start of my second year at university, I opened an email from an activist group advertising a “Caravan of Compassion” to Leonora detention centre.

A few days later I was on the bus, barely knowing one other person.

 

In August, Pamela Curr from Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC), and Sister Brigid Arthur, from the Brigidine Asylum Seekers Project, travelled to Christmas Island to visit the men seeking asylum, who are currently held in the detention centre, more than 2600 kilometres from the nearest capital city, Perth. On their return they presented this report.

* * *

Despite the immigration minister's attempts to block information and ban journalists from offshore detention camps, information continues to leak out. Ali Bakhtiarvandi was held in immigration detention for four and a half years in the early 2000s before being recognised as a refugee. He is in regular telephone contact with detainees on Christmas Island. He spoke to Green Left Weekly's Chris Peterson about the recent events on Christmas Island. * * *
Yet another refugee has been found dead while in the care of the Immigration Department thanks to Australia's harsh and punitive refugee policy. Thirty-year-old Iranian Kurd, Fazel Chegeni, who first arrived in Australia in 2011, died after escaping from the detention centre, although how he came to be found dead remains unclear.
An Afghan refugee who set himself on fire in a Western Australian detention centre has died. The man, Ali Jafarri who was believed to be in his late 30s, had burns to 90% of his body after the incident at the Yongah Hill detention centre. According to the ABC, detainees and Serco guards found Jafarri barely alive in his room. He is believed to have wrapped himself in a sheet before dousing himself with accelerant and setting himself on fire. Two guards who helped him were also injured.
Pressure from activists for super funds to divest from Transfield Services, the biggest contractor in the Australian immigration detention industry, is increasingly bearing fruit. HESTA, the industry superannuation fund for health and community services workers — at $32 billion one of Australia’s largest super funds — sold its 3.5% stake, worth $23 million, in Transfield Services on August 18. On August 25 NGS Super, the industry superannuation fund for private school teachers, announced it would sell its $5.5 million stake in Transfield “on moral grounds”.

Pages

Subscribe to Serco