What is so bad about Wilson Security?
Wilson Security has been providing security services for the Australian Government on Nauru since 2012 and Manus Island since 2014-2017. In their treatment of refugees and asylum seekers, Wilson has committed (and attempted to cover up) extensive and serious breaches of human rights. Several inquiries and reports show Wilson Security’s systemic abuse against asylum seekers and refugees: the Moss Report, the UNHCR Submission to the Inquiry into the serious allegations of abuse, self-harm and neglect of asylum-seekers, the Australian Human Rights Commission National Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention and the Nauru Files.
The NGV’s contract with Wilson Security is an interim contract.
The current contract with Wilson Security has been called a "temporary" and an "interim" contract by the NGV. It has been in place since July 26 2017 and was initially supposed to last only 3 months. The NGV is yet to announce any changeover in their security contractor, despite claims that it would happen at the end of last year. According to the state procurement office and the NGV, they are still awaiting a long term security contract to be awarded. This is the perfect opportunity for the NGV rule out any future partnership with Wilson Security.
The contract is with the state government, not the NGV.
The NGV is a state government institution. Currently, the contract between Wilson Security and the NGV is being implemented according to the Victorian State Government Procurement procedures. We understand that the NGV is not mandated to follow these procedures. The State Government also employs Wilson Security in other departments and agencies, and we hope that this campaign adds strength to the community opposition to Wilson Security being the State's chosen security provider. Putting pressure on the state government through the NGV is a desired outcome of this campaign.
Lots of companies use Wilson Security - you can't possibly pursue them all, so why go after the NGV?
As artists, we have chosen to focus our energy on making changes within our arena, according to the scope of our capabilities. The NGV is a gallery for Victorians, and as Victorian artists, we believe that this is where our voice would be most effective.
Who is the Artists' Committee?
The Artists’ Committee is an informal association of artists and arts workers that makes collaborative public work around the intersection of money, ethics and culture. All members of the Artists' Committee are signatories to the letter. However, not all signatories are part of the Artists’ Committee. We have chosen not to foreground our names, so as not to prioritise our individual voices over the voices from wider communities that are calling for an end to the abuse of refugees and people seeking asylum. Membership of the Artists' Committee is fluid and informal, and attributing a limited set of names to the group in this context felt reductive. That said, we are also not hiding. If it is important to you to know who we are, or if you have any questions, please get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org.