Mar 24, 2014

Operation Secretive Bureaucrats: it just keeps expanding

The cancer of Operation Sovereign Borders is extending into ever more absurd areas -- including public statements of Scott Morrison himself.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

The secrecy surrounding Operation Sovereign Borders continues to spread from “on-water operations” into other, increasingly absurd areas, and now appears to include Immigration Minister Scott Morrison’s own words.


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31 thoughts on “Operation Secretive Bureaucrats: it just keeps expanding

  1. klewso

    I just hope this government has the magnanimity of spirit to appreciate what these precedents they’re setting now are going to mean when the public stops listening to their studied ignorance on these matters and votes them out – and Labor gets a chance to use them?

  2. klewso

    “Operation Secret Squirrels”.

  3. Jimmyhaz

    This is like an episode of Yes, Minister.

    Is this government going to end up like the US republican’s, where the things the say and do are so ridiculous that satire becomes impossible?

  4. 4567

    Hold on…is this first dog without the cartoons?

  5. Stuart Coyle

    You wouldn’t turn off GPS to avoid detection. A GPS receiver does not need to transmit in order to work, it receives signals from satellites. Any sailor with an iPhone has a GPS receiver…

  6. graybul

    This whole episode ie “Sovereign Borders” is a disgrace, despicable and an absolute affront to both Parliament and the Australian People! Klewso is so right . . precedents have been set and future Governments/Public Servants accountabilities will no longer apply. The values of the Australian peoples are being destroyed before our eyes!

  7. Charlene Smith

    My goodness, I feel like I’m reading ‘Catch 22’ with that exchange between the Chair and Bowles.

  8. TheFamousEccles

    “Bowles explained to Conroy that he preferred “that when you are talking to the officials that we use a different language” than the one his own minister used.”


    “OSB has thus raised new, fundamental questions of bureaucratic epistemology: if a minister says something and his departmental secretary doesn’t hear it, can it be truly said to have happened?”

    It can now be claimed without fear of contradiction that Sir Humphrey Appleby has stepped over from the realm of fiction into dismaying reality.

  9. Mark Duffett

    Stuart Coyle, I was going to say that too, but think (hope) what is being referred to is the automatic periodic transmission of GPS fixes to central command & control.

  10. David Hand

    Laugh or cry if you like but these awkward exchanges are taking place in an environment where disclosure of information makes stopping the boats more difficult. It is in the ALP / Greens interest to make stopping the boats difficult, hence all this pressure in favour of disclosure.

    So vagueness about whether or not Australian naval vessels have GPS is designed to stop the questions that inevitably follow – such as how the GPS is used and then we are into the operational tactics of OSB.

    Likewise the question about OSB’s accountability for asylum seekers’ safety once they for within the 12 mile limit of Indonesia. If OSB is accountable then they must be able to go in. But if they’re not accountable then measures they take within that zone to keep asylum seekers safe shouldn’t be broadcast on the ABC for people smugglers to subvert.

    The sad fact is that Crikey and most of its subscribers are passionately opposed to stopping the boats so attacking the secrecy of operational tactics is expected here irrespective of its destructive potential on the expressed will of the vast majority of Australians.

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