What were Border Force doing in Melbourne?

Jock Webb writes: Re. “Ihre Papiere, bitte ” (Friday). In Nazi Germany, the Jew, the escaping POW, the resistance fighter all dreaded one phrase, Ausweis bitte! (ID card “please”). So it seemed in the many stories I read in my youth. Apparently, this is what we may now expect in Australia. What the hell are the so called Border Protection Force doing in suburbia? They have no role there. This is the preserve of the police, not some gun thug from Wilson Security, Blackwater or Serco and certainly not that of our former customs. A fat lot of border protection they will be doing. Several heads need to roll, beginning with the nincompoop attorney general and his equally useless sidekick Peter Dutton.

There is no place in our legal system for this nonsense. Good luck to the first one who asks me for my visa. What reason would he have to interfere with my progress I wonder? What status outside his customs hall to accost someone obeying the law? They will need to arrest me, because I will be showing nothing to anyone other than the police and they will need to have a reason to ask.

Joe Boswell writes:Re. “Anatomy of a clusterfuck: how Operation Fortitude went down” (yesterday). The Border Force operation revealed last Friday is truly shocking. The excuse offered, and echoed by the PM, that it was just a misunderstanding based on a poorly written press release entirely misses the point. The worth of assurances from the PM about Border Force can be judged by looking at all the promises he has already broken. However that press release was prepared and issued it must be taken as solid evidence that Border Force’s culture and its vision of itself is fundamentally rotten. It aspires to make intimidating displays of armed force in Australian cities, picking on anyone whose face does not fit. Border Force must believe this is what the government really wants, no doubt with good reason and regardless of anything ministers say publicly. It is reminiscent of the role taken by another paramilitary force, the Sturmabteilung or Brownshirts, that was enthusiastically protecting all good citizens in Germany during the 1920s and ’30s.

The danger is made clearer by Assistant Education Minister Simon Birmingham insisting this weekend the government is not responsible for Border Force’s actions, while Immigration Minister Peter Dutton scurried away to hide under a rock. It follows that Border Force, only a few weeks old, is already dangerously out of control because the government wants it to be. It is a threat to the liberty of all Australian residents that can only get worse. Australia coped well enough before it was created in July and would be much safer without it. Border Force should be disarmed and disbanded immediately.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey