How Serco thrives by failing constantly

Australia’s immigration detention system is in chaos and yet the company running them, Serco, is about to be rewarded. Again. The perverse logic of privatisation:

The federal government is believed to have signed a contract to outsource the management of defence base operations in the Middle East and Afghanistan to the foreign company running Australia’s immigration detention centres.

Sources claim there was concern within the Australian Defence Force about a private foreign company taking over behind-the-wire operations to support troops in Afghanistan. The ADF said it would announce the successful contractor shortly but would not confirm if that company was Serco.

Serco, which is run by David Campbell, would neither confirm nor deny it had been given the contract.

It is believed the multi-million-dollar contract will be to manage all base operations including catering, cleaning, asset hire and mess facilities at the Al Minhad Air Base in the United Arab Emirates.

Foreign private contractors would also replace uniformed personnel in the provision of maintenance, accommodation and mess services for the first time in Kandahar and Tarin Kowt in Afghanistan.

Even some in the Murdoch press (in this case, Sydney’s Daily Telegraph) are worried about the madness of an uncontrolled capitalist system (well, for a few minutes, anyway):

The man in charge of Australia’s detention centres lives in this Sydney Harbour waterfront apartment – a world away from detainees living in overcrowded conditions just 30km away at the Villawood detention centre.

David Campbell, the boss of Serco, lives in the $2.5 million three-bedroom apartment at McMahons Point.

With estimates the highly-secretive Serco will make $1 billion from running detention centres until 2014, it is expected, with bonuses, that Mr Campbell’s salary will only rise.