Transfield, detention centres, ethics, depression & Abbott’s Commission of Audit

2 Mar



Douglas Snedden, Non Executive Director of Transfield, the global operations, maintenance and construction services business awarded  the $1.22 billion dollar contract to provide ‘Garrison and welfare services’ to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection detention centres on Manus Island and Nauru, is also a director of the St. James Centre for Ethics, and Treasurer of the Black Dog Institute.

Tony Shepherd, handpicked by Joe Hockey as Chairman of the Abbott government’s Commission of Audit,  was until October 2013 the Chairman of Transfield. His record is far from exemplary, according to this report by Bernard Keane, in which Shepherd is described as ‘Transfield’s doyen of debt.’

The St James Centre for Ethics works with business to promote ethics and ethical decision-making. It is extensively supported by the business community. The Black Dog Institute is concerned with the treatment of mental illness, specifically depression and bi polar disorders.

Transfield subcontracts  the security management of the detention centres on Nauru and Manus to Wilson Security. Counselling and medical remain the responsibility of International Health and Medical Services.

‘Garrison and welfare’ services are the responsibility of Transfield. ‘Garrison’ is a military term meaning a permanent military post. Transfield have considerable experience with defence.

Quite what welfare services the company is responsible for providing to the prisoners held in the camps I have not yet been able ascertain. Presumably these are the services that were previously supplied by the Salvation Army. I have also been unable to ascertain if Transfield have any prior experience of providing welfare services. Based on the company’s own account of their business, the specific welfare needs of the prisoners held on Manus and Nauru would not appear to be included in their expertise.

Former Transfield ChairmanTony Shepherd is also President of the Business Council of Australia, an association of CEOs of one hundred of Australia’s leading companies, as well as a past (2012)  Director of the Migration Council of Australia.

Isn’t this all nice and cosy?

Many thanks to @mix1127 for first pointing out some of these connections.

29 Responses to “Transfield, detention centres, ethics, depression & Abbott’s Commission of Audit”

  1. samjandwich March 2, 2014 at 10:36 pm #

    There is also “Wilson Security” *-)


    • hudsongodfrey March 2, 2014 at 11:24 pm #

      Sounds too me like the fix is in for the commission of audit. The trick now will be to predict what outcome it is that they intend to produce.

      Frankly I wouldn’t mind if I thought this inquiry was meant as part of an exit strategy, but in fact I actually expect they might plan to conclude that Labor failed to resource tough enough controls. Meaning even more lucrative deals for them and their mates.

      As far as I can see the coalition are betting the farm on the boats stopping as a result of a concerted push with rubber dinghies and considerable stretching of Indonesia’s patience. So the questions for Abbott become things like what to do when the current collection of hell holes are stretched to breaking point at our considerable expense and you can no longer afford to keep shoving people off in life rafts indefinitely. Or just until Indonesia’s patience gives way or the UN steps in.

      Sooner or later there’ll be incidents or accidents, information about the conditions people are being kept in will continue to leak out or be exposed by decent investigative journalism. And it’ll become even more evident if there’s more loss of life that our efforts to stop the boats rely more on repulsion than deterrence, The asylum seekers in question are still going to be stuck in Indonesia, and the human condition being what it is hope springs eternal, so their only hope is to keep trying to get to Australia.

      It won’t matter a heck of a lot what their lame duck, rubber stamp committee of co-conspirators says at the end of the day, they’re just extending the damage that this will inevitably bring down on the Abbott band wagon and all who sail in her.

      The real question is that if you and I know this then Labor certainly know it as do the Greens. It should therefore be interesting to see if we’ve actually got an effective opposition in this parliament or not?


    • Jennifer Wilson March 3, 2014 at 7:49 am #

      Ha! I’m outed!


  2. paul walter March 3, 2014 at 2:23 am #

    Feel like chundering, but its a beaut forensic thread starter on a little piece of dystopia.

    I hear the ghosts of Urquhart, Machiavelli and Sir Humphrey chuckling in the background, rabbits running the carrot patch. But the last laugh will come from future generations, who observe some thing parallel to an Inquisition court applied to Bruno, or Copernicus or Galileo, to obscure truths that would better off have been esposed earlier, instead of just superintending results to suit vested interests.


    • Maria Crystal-Paige March 3, 2014 at 9:04 am #

      Parasitical, legal organized crime is what it is.


      • hudsongodfrey March 3, 2014 at 9:37 am #

        Otherwise known as politics allsorts.


  3. gerard oosterman March 3, 2014 at 9:57 am #

    All the commotion about who should apologize to whom. The almost tearstained face of the 3 star General. His reputation, dear oh dear.
    I thought someone got murdered on Manus island. Perhaps I was wrong.


    • paul walter March 3, 2014 at 3:25 pm #



    • Marilyn March 3, 2014 at 5:51 pm #

      Another man has died today in the Brisbane Mater Hospital after being beaten to a pulp. The whole thing is disgusting my any measure.


  4. Marilyn March 3, 2014 at 5:56 pm #

    And let us never forget that Gillard signed a 15 year lease for Manus Island prison in September 2013 without putting it to parliament.


  5. Marilyn March 3, 2014 at 6:31 pm #

    That should be Gillard signed the lease in 2012.


    • paul walter March 3, 2014 at 11:53 pm #

      You’re not STILL blithering on about Gillard?

      What about events in the real world of today.?

      Come out of your fantasy world, hop in your Tardis and visit the future world of 2014, the Brave New World of Abbott’s Australia. When, Van Winkle like, you awaken, you will find the world of today much different to the one you currently hide in.


    • paul walter March 4, 2014 at 7:45 am #

      So what.
      The previous government leased Manus Island.
      Ok.. so how does that determine that the Abbot Government has to keep people there and why it needs to keep them under bad conditions?

      Unless you are conceding the previous government was subject to conditions inherited from Howard.

      But you have already said that anything Labor inherited was no excuse, so how can the Manus Island continuation be an excuse for Abbott’s far worse errors?

      No one has pointed a gun at his head, FFS.


      • hudsongodfrey March 4, 2014 at 8:46 am #

        Nobody is interested in hearing from a new government how everything that they failed to fix was their predecessors’ fault. It’s a lame excuse with a very short shelf life that reached its limit when everything else around asylum seeker policy had changed except how badly these “facilities” are run.

        This crap seems to play okay to partisan coalition supporters who’re prepared to bury their heads in the sand thinking this place is still “White Australia”. Everyone is gradually seeing St Tony as just another fallible politician trying to cover his arse behind Morrisons veil of operational secrecy that even a chump like Conroy could see through.

        Great so we’ve Balkanised the debate successfully. Divide and conquer, vidi vici veni, it takes a big prick to fuck a country!


      • Marilyn March 4, 2014 at 6:13 pm #

        FFS, Morrison couldn’t fucking do it if the fucking law didn’t exist, but Gillard fucking knew he would which is why it is fucking relevant today. Jesus wept she was fucking PM five seconds ago and still defends her brutal cruelty.

        There are many people who have not let Fraser off the hook for the fucking Dismissal, why should the dismal bitch Gillard be let off the hook now?

        I am sick to my guts that you still refuse to see the point.


        • doug quixote March 4, 2014 at 7:25 pm #

          That’s because there is no point.

          Why don’t you find some other axe to grind?


          • paul walter March 4, 2014 at 9:58 pm #

            I resent her when she degenerates to much of importance gets obscured.

            Denies context, hasn’t a clue it seems about the underlying system that determined Labor’s response, can’t grasp from the Abbott and Newman etc examples why Labor took a cautious approach to asylum seekers, given that they were trying defend society and Murdoch, Abbott etc were trying to ransack it.

            Doesn’t understand consent manufacture.


            • hudsongodfrey March 4, 2014 at 10:40 pm #

              Ah yes Manufacturing Consent, Chomsky no less.

              Something I think Qantas management might know a thing or two about given the odd situation they find themselves in. What with Abbott set to green light foreign ownership of a company that’s trading at near junk status, meaning somebody’s about to get a once great airline at bargain basement prices. I think I smell a rat there?


              • paul walter March 4, 2014 at 11:08 pm #

                Accounting tricks..Either the public pays through a bailout or through upcoming social security costs.

                It’s all about costs? Well, where is leadership by example? Murdoch’s billion dollar freebee, such “austerity”.?

                Working class people are scapegoated here as well as asylum seekers offshore.
                Watch how the unemployed will then be lumbered with a vicious social security crackdown.
                They have to be tough with one lot to be tough with the other and vice versa, but really, it is just creating psychodrama about justification for a power grab.


              • doug quixote March 5, 2014 at 12:15 am #

                Joyce has to have been a concern troll! He came in to be CEO of an airline already suffering after Geoff Dixon’s marginally competent efforts, and to all appearances still has the support of the Board. He must be more convincing in private than he is in public.

                If he turns Qantas around, no one will be more agreeably surprised than me, but I can’t see it.


                • hudsongodfrey March 5, 2014 at 12:41 am #

                  I can’t see how the shareholders support him unless they’re basically so dominated by corporate types equally convinced that the fix is in so that when the new foreign owners come along they’ll all take their shares of golden handshakes and bonuses and then piss off.

                  Like any good Banana Republic the for Sale Sign is as ever displayed prominently.


  6. allenmcmahon March 3, 2014 at 6:50 pm #

    Transfield contract welfare services to Save the Children on Nauru so I expect they will do the same on Manus. Transfield act as prime contractors, take their cut and subcontract the work, not a bad little earner for doing nothing.

    One of the chief instigators of the violence was a PNG local who worked in the camp as a welfare officer for the Salvation Army. He along with all of the other locals involved in the violence are still working in the Manus camp so I assume Transfield’s subcontractors have employed them. Under the terms of agreement with PNG there is a local employment content that must be met. Australian security officers are getting $120,000 a year and the locals get $7 a day. Additional Australian security officers have been employed, one assumes, to watch the locals but I don’t think that will help. Because of the overlap with the change over from G4S to Transfield there were an extra 100 security personal in the camp at the time of the butchery and all Australian staff were either withdrawn to the accommodation boat or moved to a more secure area of the camp. While a few stayed and tried to help the people were basically left defenseless.

    Australia pays the PNG police $100 per day per officer to guard the perimeter fences and they not only let the locals in but joined in the violence.

    Despite the violence and the likelihood of it happening again only 17 people out of 1,300 on Manus opted to return home, so much for them being economic refugees.


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  1. Turnbull, Transfield, The New Democracy Foundation, & the vicious ingratitude of artists | No Place For Sheep - March 11, 2014

    […] detention centres on Manus Island and Nauru, commented on earlier by No Place for Sheep here.  It seems that wherever one goes, from the St James Ethic’s Centre, to the Black Dog […]


  2. A new low in corporate paranoia: Transfield, Manus & Nauru | No Place For Sheep - April 7, 2015

    […] For previous Sheep posts on Transfield, and the association with the St James Centre for Ethics and the Black Dog Institute of one of its directors, Douglas Snedden, see here. […]


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