Wilson Security

Refugee supporters interrupted question time and occupied the public gallery and foyer of Victorian parliament on June 19, demanding the state government cancel its contracts with Wilson Security over its role in Australia’s offshore refugee detention centres.

The activists, members of Whistleblowers, Activists and Citizens Alliance (WACA), held banners that read “Refugee abusers are guarding our parliament” and “Vic govt  — refuse to be complicit”.

The National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) announced on February 28 that Wilson Security will no longer provide it with security services and SecureCorp has been appointed as its long-term security services provider.

Wilson Security has provided security services for the Australian government’s detention centres on Nauru since 2012 and Manus Island during 2014–17. It is notorious for overseeing, perpetrating and attempting to cover up years of abuse against refugees and asylum seekers on Manus Island and Nauru, as many inquiries and reports have shown.

The walls of the National Gallery of Victoria ran red on October 14 as activist group the Artists’ Committee, an informal association of artists and arts workers opposed to the detention of asylum seekers, continued its project to pressure the National Gallery of Victoria to immediately end its contract with Wilson Security.

Wilson Security provides security services to both the gallery and Australia’s offshore detention facilities on Manus Island and Nauru and is known to have committed human rights abuses against asylum seekers and refugees.

Hobart City Council has joined eight other Australian councils in pledging to end its involvement with any company profiting from abusive practices towards people seeking asylum.

The pledge states that the council will no longer do business with companies, such as Wilson Security and Ferrovial’s Broadspectrum, that take up contracts in Australia’s immigration detention camps.

Refugee rights activists are pleased with the September 1 announcement that Wilson Security will not tender for another contract for Australia's offshore detention centres, but say the camps must be closed immediately.

Wilson's contract ends in October next year. It follows an announcement in May by Ferrovial, a Spanish infrastructure company which took over Broadspectrum (formerly Transfield), that it would not be renewing its contract on Manus Island and Nauru when it ends in February.

Photos by Chelsea Dennison

The good turnout to national rallies on August 27 and 28 shows the refugee rights' movement is starting to gain political ground. A number of pro-asylum seeker groups are forming to force an end to the cruel policy of locking up refugees in offshore detention.

A boy is grabbed around the throat, his head is smashed against the ground twice and then a chair is thrown onto him by a security guard. Many people witnessed and reported the incident.

Protestors blockaded Wilson Security car parks in Sydney and Melbourne on June 27 to mark 100 days of protests by asylum seekers held at Australia's immigration detention centre on Nauru. Wilson has the security contract for detention centres on Nauru and Manus Island.

Activists targeted car parks at Circular Quay and Melbourne Central from 7am, insisting Wilson Security is a major detention centre industry player, which profits from people seeking asylum.

The Immigration Department is reviewing Wilson Security's lucrative role at the Manus Island and Nauru offshore detention camps following allegations it was secretly controlled by Hong Kong billionaire Thomas Kwok, who is serving five years in jail for bribery, and his brother.

Wilson Security has denied allegations that the brothers concealed their ownership and control of Wilson after the claims emerged as part of the Panama Papers, the leak of millions documents from law firm Mossack Fonseca, based in Panama.

Sam Wainwright, Socialist Alliance councillor on Fremantle Council, successfully moved the following motion at council’s February 24 meeting:

1. Supports the Palm Sunday Walk for Refugees — March 20, 1pm St George's Cathedral;

2. Calls on the Malcolm Turnbull government to let the 267 refugees that it wants to deport stay;

3. Commits Fremantle to stop doing business with companies who are contracted to run the detention centres, such as Broadspectrum and Wilson Security; and

4. Calls for an end to the offshore mandatory detention regime and boat "turnbacks".

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