The Australian Border Force’s draconian practices when it comes to passports and attempts to check people’s visas on Melbourne’s streets are well known, but the restrictions on employees at the new para-military agency are also tougher than for most public servants. Under the Border Force Act, employees can be subject to random or targeted tests for alcohol or drugs. A tipster tells us that testing, along with other “integrity measures”, could soon apply to external contractors to the department as well:

“The Integrity Branch of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection is taking implementation of the Australian Border Force Act to the extreme by attempting to collate every single services contract of the department in order to amend each contract to insert the obligations of the ABF Act. These excessive policies require not only drug and alcohol testing of contractors but also oblige contractors to comply with mandatory reporting requirements (ie dob in your colleague) and integrity testing.”

We asked Border Force’s media department if the rules would apply to external contractors, and were told:

” Measures in the Integrity Framework include random and targeted drug and alcohol testing, mandatory reporting of serious misconduct or criminal behaviour and integrity testing. The Integrity Framework applies to ‘Immigration and Border Protection’ (IBP) workers, who are employees, contractors and service providers who have access to Departmental premises, information, assets and systems.

The implementation of the Integrity Framework is established through a range of mechanisms which can differ depending on the employment relationship. Elements of the Integrity Framework are being implemented on a risk basis, and the Department will work with service providers. Where service providers already have drug and alcohol testing programs in place the Department would not ordinarily seek to duplicate testing.”

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey