Breaking news: the operation has now been cancelled: http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/live/2015/aug/28/protest-against-border-force-visa-crackdown-shuts-melbourne-streets-live The comments below still applyP perhaps with more force, given the strength of public reaction.
On the weekend of 29-31 August, 2015, the newly-minted Australian Border Force was to take part in a massive operation in Melbourne’s CBD. On Friday afternoon, it was called off.
The border Force PR department had put a press release about this on its website: http://newsroom.border.gov.au/releases/abf-joining-inter-agency-outfit-to-target-crime-in-melbourne-cbd
It included juicy snippets like this:
“This weekend Australian Border Force (ABF) officers will for the first time join forces with a diverse team of transport and enforcement agencies to target crime in the Melbourne Central Business District (CBD) as part of Operation Fortitude.
With a particular focus on people travelling to, from and around the CBD, the group of agencies will work together to support the best interests of Melbournians, targeting everything from anti-social behaviour to outstanding warrants. …
ABF Regional Commander Victoria and Tasmania, Don Smith, is proud the ABF will be participating in the operation. “ …ABF officers will be positioned at various locations around the CBD speaking with any individual we cross paths with,” Mr Smith said.
“You need to be aware of the conditions of your visa; if you commit visa fraud you should know it’s only a matter of time before you’re caught out.” …
The inter-agency outfit will continue to work together on an ongoing basis to target crime in and around the Melbourne CBD to make the city a safer place for everyone.”
The recently-created Border Force is kitted out in uniforms which bear an unfortunate resemblance to SS uniforms. No doubt, the purpose is to instil fear in the heart of anyone who sees them approach.
This operation involving Border Force officers would have struck fear in the heart of many people. It was bound to involve racial profiling in nearly every instance: Australian citizens do not have to carry identity papers. Presumably the only people who would have been asked for their visas were people who look like “foreigners”: racial profiling of the crudest sort.
Here is Victoria Police statement concerning the cancellation of Operation Fortitude:
Victoria Police has made a decision not to go ahead with this weekend’s Operation Fortitude.
We understand there has been a high level of community interest and concern which has been taken into consideration when making this decision.
Victoria Police’s priority is the safety and wellbeing of the whole community and we will continue to work with our partner agencies to achieve this.
On recent figures, the number of people in the community who are non-citizens and who do not have a visa represents less than one tenth of one percent of the population. To catch the out a few people who are not causing any harm, we would have had a quasi-military operation in the CBD: an operation which was bound to cause alarm in many people. All Australians should ask themselves: is this sort of thing really worth it, for the sake of getting rid of a few people who are not entitled to be here?