May 6, 2014

How Angus Campbell is undermining our regional relationships

Operation Sovereign Borders is now causing the very reputational damage that it purports to be protecting against.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s rejection of the effort by Indonesian’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to improve relations between the countries through an invitation to Jakarta this week represents the bizarre extent to which “Operation Sovereign Borders” now dictates the government’s foreign policy.

Bear in mind that the government’s asylum seeker policy is supposed to be wholly subordinate to foreign policy requirements. The senior bureaucrat in charge of the operation, Angus Campbell, has tried to justify the absurd lengths to which the government has gone to prevent the revelation of anything related to asylum seekers with an elaborate matrix of reasons:

Free Trial

Proudly annoying those in power since 2000.

Sign up for a FREE 21-day trial to keep reading and get the best of Crikey straight to your inbox

By starting a free trial, you agree to accept Crikey’s terms and conditions


Leave a comment

8 thoughts on “How Angus Campbell is undermining our regional relationships

  1. Jaybuoy

    Not to mention the new process of aggregating returnees and towing them to Indonesia. If this is the new plan why don’t we take transferees off Manus and put them in the orange boats. It would probably be more humane…

  2. Grumpy Old Sod

    While it is easy to blame an obsessively secretive bureaucrat for this problem it must be remembered that the buck stops with Abbott and his government, not Campbell as he can be either impelled by the government to open up or they can fire him.

  3. tonyfunnywalker

    Well done Crikey — at last a revalation as to who is the puppet and who is the puppeteer of OSB. Either way its odium is of growing pungency as revalations of the Manus Riot are made public. It is evident that Campbell “cannot handle the truth” by refusing to release details and this infurating and frustrating both politicians in Jakarta and Canberra. To what end — the truth will out despite the intimidation of staff and refugees not to testify or release details. It demands a Royal Commission so that transparency is restored.

  4. TheFamousEccles

    Jaybouy – Word!

  5. Liamj

    @ Grumpy – i don’t think anyone should be making excuses for Campbell. If he is given unconscionable orders his duty as a human being is to refuse them, whatever the consequences for his career. That he doesn’t shows that he is that most dangerous type of man, an armed syncophant in service to a idiot.

  6. graybul

    Allegedly, ‘Politics is the Art of the Possible’. Over recent decades each side, Govt. and Opposition, has broadly interpreted that to mean lying to the Electorate is OK! In turn, led by the Shock Jocks, the Electorate has generally shown a level of tolerance towards political dishonesty.
    What is most remarkable . . is the PM and Cabinet’s ruthless introduction of National Security as a means of legitimizing the practice of non-accountability and employment of secrecy to avoid, deny access to information. In doing so, Govt has begun a process of changing parliamentary, social and cultural practice within Parliament, Military, Judiciary and Public Service. Security as a defence, now permeates conduct of Parliamentary Committees of Enquiry . . to the absurd level where the Australian Navy cannot comment on whether their ships employ GPS as a navigational aid!
    Is this where tolerance of lying has taken us?

  7. MJPC

    @Liamj; valid comment however the Australian Military = Public Service in uniform courtesy of this latest debacle.
    Citizen Abbott and his merry crew are fast coming to a crashing halt on this, when the current indo Presidenmt stands down for the elections.
    It’s an even bet the new president will not be as complaint with/ or understanding of the shenanigans of sovereign borders.

  8. Peter Morris

    Well done Bernard – about time someone named Campbell’s behaviour for what it is. Yes, the buck does stop with Abbott and Morrison, but Campbell is more than a willing accomplice and is abusing the trust the Australian public normally accords the military for proper reasons of operational risk. His studied indifference to the cruelty meted by his operations on those already fleeing the violence of state terror is chilling to watch.

    Thank you for your excellent journalism.

Share this article with a friend

Just fill out the fields below and we'll send your friend a link to this article along with a message from you.

Your details

Your friend's details