Review Company Policies Relating to Involuntary Transportation

Resolution Text

Shareholders request that the Board commission a review of our company's policies and processes relating to involuntary transportation (Review) undertaken as a service provider to the Department of Home Affairs. Given our company's commitment to aligning its business with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs), shareholders recommend that the UNGPs be used as a basis for the Review.

A report describing the completed Review should be prepared at reasonable cost and omitting confidential information, and made available to shareholders on the company website by 30 June 2020.

Supporting statement to resolution 2 (985 words including footnotes)

The ACCR favours policies and practices which protect the long term value of our company.

This resolution is a modification of one raised by ACCR at last year's AGM. It is tailored to assist our company by constraining parameters for the Review sought, so that limited disclosures, pertinent to the examination of risk, can be made to shareholders.

As shareholders, we are concerned about the material, reputational, financial and legal risks of our company's participation in involuntary airline deportation, removal and transfer activities, as a service provider to the Australian Department of Home Affairs {the Department). ACCR is concerned that these activities expose our company to the probability of complicity in serious human rights violations.

Risks associated with involuntary transportation activities

Our company has a contract with the Department to provide various airline services, including the involuntary transportation of refugees and asylum seekers. This transportation occurs between sites of immigration detention (onshore and offshore), as well as in instances of deportations from Australia. The risks associated with our company's commercial decision to  participate in these activities would be mitigated by the implementation of a commensurate human rights due diligence process. Human rights due diligence is the cornerstone requirement of UN Guiding Principles on  Business  and Human Rights (UNGPs), a standard that Qantas committed to in 20174

Serious information gaps remain in relation to our company's approach to involuntary transportation:

  • Our company has confirmed to ACCR that it has undertaken a commercial risk assessment of undertaking these activities. Our company has not disclosed the results of this assessment to shareholders.
  • Our company has noted that it does 'not receive detail relating to the immigration status of an individual'5 being transported on behalf of the Department, and has confirmed that it does not request this information, even though it is entitled to do so under the Department's guidelines on carriage of persons in custody.6
  • Our company has declined to provide details on the nature of its contractual arrangements with the Department, and has not disclosed (or assessed) the revenue associated with involuntary transportation.

The UNGPs note that business enterprises have a responsibility to avoid adverse human rights impacts in their operations, and that this responsibility exists 'over and above compliance with national laws'. 7 Making

exceptions for certain clients, including governments, even where business relationships are important or lucrative, is not permissible under the UNGPs.

Insufficiency of Australian immigration system against compliance with human rights standards

Numerous international authorities have found that Australia's refugee law system contravenes international human rights law in a number of respects. Centrally, section 197C of the Migration Act 1958 (Cth), which was introduced in 2014, provides that the requirement to remove unlawful non-citizens from Australia is not limited by Australia's non-refoulement obligations under the Refugee Convention. This represents a significant step by Australia away from honouring its international obligations. Hence the Australian legal system can no longer be relied upon to ensure compliance with international human rights law.

As the Refugee Advice & Casework Service (RAGS) has noted, significant human rights risks can arise from commercial airlines' participation in the forced transportation of refugees and people seeking asylum, including: those who have been unreasonably barred from making a temporary protection application; families which are being separated; those who face deportation to countries whose conditions are deteriorating; those suffering from prolonged and arbitrary detention; those at risk of deportation where non-refoulement obligations have not been correctly considered8

Our company's approach to risk

Our company acknowledges that the 'Transportation of persons in custody at the request of Government' is one of its five most 'salient human rights risks'9 but does not have a process in place to mitigate these specific risks.10

Our company's participation in involuntary transportation also produces material brand risk, potentially undermining its social licence to operate. This was acknowledged by a group of human rights, law and business experts, as well as other prominent Australians, in an expert statement published in 201811.

Further to this, the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) has become 'increasingly concerned about the role of commercial airlines in forced deportations', and the adverse impacts that this has on front-line airline staff12, who are often struggling with their own opposition to these activities. The ITF notes that involuntary transportation activities are often highly controversial, and may involve protests and resistance from deportees, increasing risks for all.

Finally, we note that deportation activities are receiving increasing public attention. Concern over the complicity of airlines in involuntary transportation is a highly topical and growing area of disruptive activism.13

Refugee support groups have been protesting outside our company's offices, and these groups are also coordinating social media campaigns targeting our company around this issue.14 These activities undermine our corporate image, which is of considerable value to our company.

ACCR encourages our company to commission a review of its policies and processes in relation to involuntary transportation activities, undertaken as a service provider to the Department, and disclose the results of that review to shareholders, in order to mitigate and manage the above risks.

ACCR and Mercy Investment Services, Inc urge shareholders to vote for this proposal.




4 https//www qaotas com/au/en(Qaotas-groupiactiog-responsiblylow-governance html#enhanrJng-human-rights

5 https·11www  oaotas comtaI11en/qaotas-gro11p1act1ng-respoosibyl/0I1r-governancebtml#targetText=Ensuriog%20Board%2Qcommitment%20fo%2PlberespoosibUities%2Qand%20repoctiog%2PUoes%3B%20aod

6. https·tlwMv homeaffairs gov a1liabrn111transpact-seC1Jrity1aviaHao-sec1ffity/moverneots-persoos-c11stocty

7 United Nations, Office of the High Commissioner. 2011, 'Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: Implementing the United Nations "Protect, Respect and Remedy" Framework' available at: <btlps·//www abchr arQ{DaCJ1ments/P11hlicaliaos1GuictingPdociples61isinessHR EN pdf>, 13 .

8 Refugee and Advice Casework Service, August 2019, Briefing note: Qantas and the deportation or forced movement of people seeking asylum and refugees.

9 https·(lwvfW qantas camtaureo1qaotas-group1acting-respansiblyla11c-govecoance htmf#tar.getiext-Ens,1ong%2QBoard%2ocommitroeot%20to%201he re ponsibilities%2Qaoct°/22Qreporting%2QHnes%3B%20and

10 Our company's Non-Negotiable Business Principles, which are set out in the company's 2019 Code of Conduct and Ethics, include a commitment to 'proaclively manage risk' and to 'to safeguard the Qantas Group's reputation, brands, property, assets and information'.

11 https// aulqantas-expert-statemeoU

12 commercial-aifrnles/







































13 See eg The Nation "Stopping Deportations by Blocking Flights" 22 August 2018

bttps'(lwww theoatioo com/artjclelstopping-deportations-by-blocking-fHghts(;:ind Sydney Morning Herald, 27 July 2018, 'Swedish Student Protest of refugee deportation on plane goes viral'

https·llwww smb com au/wortctleurope/swedjsh-s!i1dent-s-protest-of-refugee-deportation-on-plane-goes-vr;aI-201soz2s-p47tlq btmt



See eg bttps'//www facebook com/QantasTakeAStandl; https'/ltwitter com/maevemarsdeotstatus111s1oz3z92s66345729?s=21

Lead Filer

Dhakshayini Sooriyakumaran
Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility


Caroline Boden
Mercy Investment Services