At the time of publication, Crikey was seeking further information on the extraordinary statement this morning from the Australian Border Force that it would be patrolling the streets of the Melbourne CBD on the weekend as part of a multi-agency operation “to support the best interests of Melbournians, targeting everything from anti-social behaviour to outstanding warrants”.

“ABF officers will be positioned at various locations around the CBD speaking with any individual we cross paths with,” an ABF official boasted. “You need to be aware of the conditions of your visa.”

How exactly ABF officers are to know who should have a visa isn’t clear. The largest numbers of visa overstayers are from, in order: China, Malaysia, the United States and the United Kingdom. Will ABF officers be randomly stopping Melburnians to demand to know their citizenship status? Will they engage in racial profiling? How much will this stunt cost?

The Abbott government established the Australian Border Force to assist in its desperate hyping of national security. The agency has always had absurdly draconian powers, but harassing and racially profiling Australian citizens is a whole new level of farce.

Peter Fray

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