Friday, 19 November 2010

Lies and Spies: Aquasure and Thiess are outed on breaches of ethics and civil liberties



Networkers, I am not going to muck around. I am going to call the situation as it is.  Thiess Pty Ltd lies. The truth is not in it.  In this post a week or so ago, I drew attention to the hypocrisy of Thiess Pty Ltd being given an award by the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency when its parent/holding company Leighton's is certainly not a believer in or practitioner of equal opportunity for women. 

Below is a portion of the privacy policy taken from Thiess's website on Friday 19 November 2010.

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Thiess Privacy Policy
Thiess Pty Ltd (Thiess) is committed to protecting the privacy of all individuals. To deliver our commitment to privacy, we will comply with legislations and regulations of the countries in which we operate.
As an Australian registered company, Thiess is bound by the Privacy Act as amended by the Privacy Amendment (Private Sector) Act 2000 (Act) and the National Privacy Principles contained within that Act. All employees and officers of Thiess are expected to comply with the Act and this Privacy Statement.
Information or opinions which are collected, held, used or disclosed by Thiess about an individual whose identity is apparent, or can reasonably be ascertained, will be protected by the standards outlined in this Statement.
To deliver our commitment to privacy, we will:
  • Be bound by, and comply with, the National Privacy Principles under the Privacy Act 1988 in relation to personal information
  • Communicate this Privacy Statement to all employees and stakeholders to ensure awareness of their requirement to comply with our privacy standards and to anyone else who asks for it
  • Ensure lawful, fair and unobtrusive means are used to only collect personal information that is necessary for our business purposes
  • Collect sensitive information only with the individual's consent
    not disclose any personal information to an unrelated third party, except with the individual's consent or where we are required to do so by law
  • Take reasonable steps to destroy or de-identify personal information in a secure manner when we have no further need for it or are required to do so by law
  • Ensure only authorised personnel who have agreed to keep personal information confidential have access to the information
  • Take reasonable steps to keep personal information up to date, accurate and complete
  • In most cases provide individuals access to their personal information on request, and
  • Periodically review and revise this Privacy Statement and related procedures to maintain their relevance.
Thiess recognises and respects the importance of each individual's privacy. This Statement and related procedures ensure all personal information held by Thiess is handled appropriately and kept confidential.
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Because of Thiess's privacy policy, I am now accusing them of lying because Thiess have been caught out spying on employees working on the construction of the Wonthaggi desalination plant.
Not only have Thiess been spying on their employees, they have been spying on members of Watershed Victoria who have been campaigning against the desal plant. This latter allegation was made this morning on ABC Radio by Neil Rankin who is Secretary of Watershed Victoria and the Greens candidate in the seat of Bass. I hold Neil Rankin in high regard and I have no reason to doubt him when he speaks of people in Thiess marked vehicles parking outside the homes of members involved in the desal campaign and openly spying on them.  
All this follows on from the Memorandum of Understanding between Victoria Police, the Department of Sustainability and Environment and Aquasure against whom Watershed Victoria are considering legal recourse. Only last month it was revealed that Aquasure's signature of the desalination plant contract was contingent upon agreement through an MOU to provide the consortium with documentary bases with regard to "civil disruption" in relation to the construction of the plant.
One must recall that the major player in Aquasure is Suez - which is now subsumed in Suez Environnement - and, in the Wonthaggi desalination construction and operation, is operating through its subsidiary Degremont. Suez, since its inception in Napoleonic times, could never be held up as a paragon of civil liberties virtue.  Read Maude Barlow's description of the activities of Suez in Bolivia.  The people of Bolivia kicked Suez out of their country.  
Perhaps it is time for Australians to decide that they don't want Suez either - and then proceed to reign in Australian corporations who think they can become laws unto themselves and breach the civil liberties and human rights of Australians.  Leighton's - through their ownership of Thiess and John Holland - are sharks in a small Australian fishpond.  My guess is that there is little in the way of major construction in Australia which does not have Leighton's involvement. Such dominance is the surest way to give corporations a sense of invincibility. Then there is their influence within the halls of power, finance, and politics. BTW, the banker for Aquasure is Macquarie Capital Group.  And, of course, the Macquarie ethos and ethic has come into question on a number of fronts in recent years. 
It is clear that the Brumby Labor Government has indulged in a highly unAustralian act in breach of Victoria's Charter of Rights and Responsibilities.  The BLG has sold Australians out. It has allowed the dobbing in of its fellow Australians to a foreign organisation. Australians, generally, don't take kindly to dobbers.  
And, while I haven't checked with any precision, I suspect that what Thiess has done is worthy of reference to the International Labour OrganizationILO's constitution reads:
Preamble
Whereas universal and lasting peace can be established only if it is based upon social justice;
And whereas conditions of labour exist involving such injustice, hardship and privation to large numbers of people as to produce unrest so great that the peace and harmony of the world are imperilled; and an improvement of those conditions is urgently required; as, for example, by the regulation of the hours of work, including the establishment of a maximum working day and week, the regulation of the labour supply, the prevention of unemployment, the provision of an adequate living wage, the protection of the worker against sickness, disease and injury arising out of his employment, the protection of children, young persons and women, provision for old age and injury, protection of the interests of workers when employed in countries other than their own, recognition of the principle of equal remuneration for work of equal value, recognition of the principle of freedom of association, the organisation of vocational and technical education and other measures;
Whereas also the failure of any nation to adopt humane conditions of labour is an obstacle in the way of other nations which desire to improve the conditions in their own countries

In addition, it is arguable that both Aquasure with its Memorandum of Understanding and Thiess through its surveillance and spying actions, are in breach of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. 
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To update the quote from my blogging confreres over at Blogotariat:

Yes folks, this is really happening in Australia.


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