Well, the Border Force in Melbourne sort of confirmed it.
Either they have no idea, or else they think that they’re writers who believe that anything Clark and Dawe can do they can do better.
When Peter Dutton refused an interview with the ABC because it was an “operational matter”, the whole idea I had for a piece had been stolen by the minister himself.
And if you can’t laugh at something like this, you have to take it seriously.
We were assured by the head of Australian Border FORCE that this was a low level press release. Mm, it was quoting the regional commander for Victoria and Tasmania, which means that either what he was saying wasn’t meant for public consumption or else the person writing the press release was simply making it up. Sort of like Godwin Grech and utegate.
Either way, Don Smith’s statement had a lot of people making unfair comparison with Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia. Let’s break down the most controversial part of Commandant Smith’s – sorry, I mean Commander, bloody autocorrect – statement.
“ABF officers will be positioned at various locations around the CBD speaking with any individual we cross paths with.”
Well, it certainly is clumsily worded. I mean, everyone knows that you shouldn’t use a prepostion to end a sentence with. But hey, it only says speaking with. It doesn’t say that they’ll be asking to see papers and taking into custody anyone who can’t produce their visa, does it? People who’ve lost their wallet won’t be taken to a detention centre until they can prove their bona fides, will they? So what’s the big deal. Who wouldn’t like a little chat with men in such spiffy black uniforms.
Secondly, I infer that the use of the word “individual” means that they won’t be talking to anyone in a group. And, as we all know, anyone travelling by themselves in the CBD is just asking for trouble. The message was clear, if you’re someone who’s overstayed their visa or snuck in by boat before Abbott was elected and you needed to go to the CBD this weekend, make sure you take friends with you. Or better yet, go to St Kilda where you won’t have to speak to anyone liable to remind you that your days in the world’s most livable city are numbered.
And, while “positioned” makes them sound like snipers, and the words “cross paths” does have a potentially threatening sound, as in the phrase, “You better not cross my path today”, this is mitigated by the full reading of the sentence. As the officers will be “positioned at various locations” it means that they’re not going anywhere and therefore don’t have a path to cross.
Which I guess means that they weren’t going to speak to anyone. Which makes it a rather pointless exercise and a waste of money.
So it’s really great that it’s been called off. I’m surprised that Joe hasn’t been trumpeting it as another example of them saving money, like when they dumped their Paid Parental Leave scheme – it’s savings like that which have enabled them to get spending back under control, so that we have the money to drop bombs costing upwards of $100,000 each on Syria. Yes, I know some of you lefties think that there should be something in place which mandated every time our government drops a bomb that they’re obliged to pick a school or hospital in Australia and drop the cost of the bomb into its bank account. Ridiculous, we’d go broke if we spent money with that sort of gay abandon.
(“Gay abandon” now there’s a phrase you don’t hear much any more, unless you’re talking about the Same Sex Marriage Plebiscite after the next election, when Abbott argues that it’s unnecessary because the people knew his policy when they re-elected him. Yes, I’m being ridiculous. As if Abbott is going to be re-elected. As if he’s going to be PM if he doesn’t hold the next election before Christmas.)
Ah, I’m glad it’s all been cleared up. The AFB wasn’t going to randomly stop people, and they weren’t going to use racial profiling to identify people who were worth “speaking” to. The latter being of particular concern to me because my physical appearance does resemble that of a New Zealander or an American who are amongst the highest countries when it comes to overstaying your visa.
Which sort of does leave one with the question of what exactly were they going to do?
Apart from be involved in “operational matters”, and we have no right to be told what they are . . .