EVENT – 6pm Tuesday 3 Sept: The reassuring sight of Australian military personnel protecting our embassies abroad is – in most cases – long gone. Even in trouble spots, DFAT has contracted out security to private firms; in Kabul it is undertaken by a former special forces soldier turned British lord.
Australia’s defence forces themselves in Afghanistan rely on civilian support for their wellbeing, as, of course, do those at home. The days of the Army cook and bottle-washer are over.
So has outsourcing gone too far? The author of a new book Profits of Doom: How Vulture Capitalism is Swallowing the World argues vehemently that indeed is the case.
Best-selling journalist Antony Loewenstein has been to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Haiti, Papua New Guinea and across Australia to witness the reality of this largely hidden world of privatised detention centres, outsourced aid, destructive resource wars and militarized private security.
He finds, for instance that the camps built to detain boat people on Manus Island, Nauru and within Australia are both built and manned by private corporations. The complex at Christmas Island and camps at Villawood in Sydney, Maribyrnong in Melbourne, Northern Immigration in Darwin and two in Western Australia are operated by Serco Australia, a unit of a $4.5 billion British company of the same name. Another British company runs the detention centre on Manus Island.
We welcome Antony to AIIA NSW to present his arguments against privatisation of these people-critical public services. His book has been endorsed by people like Bob Brown and Noam Chomsky. But of course there will be those who disagree and we welcome them too to come and listen and express their opinions in a democratic fashion.
Antony Loewenstein is an independent Australian journalist, blogger, photographer and documentarian. He is the author of two bestselling books, My Israel Question and The Blogging Revolution, co-author of For God’s Sake, co-editor of Left Turn and After Zionism. He is a regular contributor to The Guardian and has written for The Nation, Huffington Post, The Sydney Morning Herald, Haaretz and other prominent publications. He appears on the BBC, Al Jazeera English, ABC and many other media outlets. He is a research associate at the University of Technology’s Australian Centre for Independent Journalism.
Copies of Antony’s book, Profits of Doom, published by Melbourne University Press, will be on sale on Tuesday evening for $30.00, cash, cheque or credit card.
Entry: Members $15.00, senior/student members $10.00
Visitors: $25.00; student visitors $15.00