Why check people’s visas in the streets? Let’s talk about Operation Fortitude 404



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In a strange move, the Australian Border Force Protection unit of the Victorian Police today announced they would be checking visas in the streets of Melbourne this weekend. It was a seemingly odd thing for the Government to suggest given our nation’s pride in being multicultural. After all, us Australians don’t exactly carry our passports as we walk down the streets, nor should we expect to have to. And there aren’t large swathes of people walking the streets of Melbourne who are illegal immigrants.

It has been decades since you could look across Australia, see a foreign looking face and wonder if they were nationalised or migrant. Today they’re even likely to be proudly second generation! Exactly what did our government force think they were going to do!?

The original statement, quoted ABF regional commander for Victoria and Tasmania Don Smith as saying “officers would be positioned at various locations around the city and would speak “with any individual we cross paths with”.

Just hours later, in a haze of national disgust, the government has withdrawn their blitz, saying the ABF will not be stopping people in the streets… “The ABF does not target on the basis of race, religion or ethnicity,” a statement said this afternoon.

At 2.00pm today, as a rally was gathering in central Melbourne, the racist-sounding action was cancelled.

“Victoria Police has made a decision not to go ahead with this weekend’s Operation Fortitude,” it said.

“We understand there has been a high level of community interest and concern which has been taken into consideration when making this decision.

“Victoria Police’s priority is the safety and wellbeing of the whole community and we will continue to work with our partner agencies to achieve this”.

At a later press conference, as reported by the ABC, ABF commissioner Roman Quaedvlieg said the announcement was “clumsily worded” and had been “misconstrued”.

“This is an unfortunate misconstruction of wording,” he said.

“This is an unfortunate incident which should not have occurred”.

So do you wonder what was going on in the PR department? And what the Border Force thought they might be working to achieve?  

Is it a breach of our human rights? 

Rebecca Wilson

Rebecca Wilson is the founder and publisher of Starts at Sixty. The daughter of two baby boomers, she has built the online community for over 60s by listening carefully to the issues and seeking out answers, insights and information for over 60s throughout Australia. Rebecca is an experienced marketer, a trained journalist and has a degree in politics. A mother of 3, she passionately facilitates and leads our over 60s community, bringing the community opinions, needs and interests to the fore and making Starts at Sixty a fun place to be.

  1. They should be able to check anyone anywhere anytime if they think they need too.

    13 REPLY
    • No they shouldn’t. Australia is a free and democratic country, and we are entitled to go our free way anytime we like without being harassed by border patrols….

    • Hey Judith, do you really want to live in a country where the police etc have unfettered right to demand your identification papers at any time? I certainly don’t.

    • it is illegal I just heard it on the news, they are the border patrol , to patrol the borders not to patrol Australian cities

    • And if you read the article it is a suggest thing to happen anyway it is not in yet, and you all believe we can trust everybody that comes here to do the right thing, NO WE CAN’t……..

    • It is illegal. The only thing they can ask you is your name and address, and you don’t need to produce ID unless they think you’ve committed a crime.

    • Judith Forbes How about worrying about the millions of dollars wasted just getting this brain fart of Abbott’s into special uniforms and kitting them out for killing. Why wasn’t that spent on enlarging the current police forces. State or Federal I don’t care which.

    • The police need reasonable cause to stop you and ask for ‘ papers’ but Border Protection cannot ask you for papers/ ID on the streets. So can we please check the facts before deciding we want to live in a police state!

  2. Please remember that the Immigration Minister and the Prime Minister organised this.

    7 REPLY
  3. We live in Australia and for that reason I agree totally with this approach to people who should not be here, all they have to do is apply to stay here and most of them will be allowed over time

    2 REPLY
    • wake up Maxine, this is not about catching people, if they wanted to do that they would not have got on the news and warned everyone what they were going to do, even the dumbest illegal would know to stay home, this about instilling fear into people and those people are Australians

      1 REPLY
      • You so spot on! This is no way to catch “illegals” but simply an exercise in instilling fear into the local populace.

  4. Makes me think back to all those ‘old’ books like ‘1984’, Fahrenheit 451′ etc. The Federal Govt seems intent on perpetuating a sense of fear across the community and country. They’re very good at doing that.

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