Jobs, growth and . . . what was the other one . . . oh yeah, community safety. Has anyone got anything?
The government’s backpedalling explanation of Friday’s Border Farce debacle raises more questions than it answers.
The press release was sent to Immigration Minister Peter Dutton’s office but nobody bothered to read the document.
Last year it was revealed in Senate estimates that the Immigration and Border Protection department employs more than 95 communications staff and spin doctors, costing taxpayers at least $8 million a year.
Morrison defended this saying ”These are large organisations which require a significant amount of internal and corporate communication work on behalf of these agencies.”
And none of them thought they should read a press release before it was issued? Are they using the Heydon defence – I didn’t open that attachment?
In typical fashion, a spokesman for Mr Dutton said “The nature of the operation was the same as activity and operations conducted when Labor was in Government.”
Are they ever going to be able to own any action without reference to Labor?
As PDuddy ducked for cover we were told “the Minister was not made aware of the Media Release. The Minister does not direct ABF operational matters.’’
The Prime Minister emphatically denied knowing anything about the operation.
So who does direct ABF matters?
Has Abbott created a rogue secret service that is answerable to no-one, that is deciding for themselves what to do with no direction from government?
“I think there’s a bit of hyperventilating going on here,’’ Abbott said. “All sorts of press releases go out all the time but they go out under the authority of the relevant officials … and that all happens at arm’s length from ministers.’’
“Obviously it was a mistake. The press release was clumsy. It was over the top and wrong.”
The Prime Minister warned those who sought to demean the role of Australia Border Force on the basis of a “badly-worded press release” should be “a little ashamed of themselves”.
What about the Department who failed to read it? Shouldn’t they be just a little ashamed? And I do not think it hyperventilating to be concerned that unapproved statements of this nature are put into the public arena.
The press release still appears on the official government Department of Immigration and Border Protection website.
“While the ABF regularly conducts a range of compliance field-work, this is the first time we’ve been involved in an inter-agency operation of this nature and we’re very proud be able to support each of our organisations to achieve our common mission of promoting a secure and cohesive society here in Melbourne.”
“ABF officers will be positioned at various locations around the CBD speaking with any individual we cross paths with,” Mr Smith said.
“You need to be aware of the conditions of your visa; if you commit visa fraud you should know it’s only a matter of time before you’re caught out.”
The inter-agency outfit will continue to work together on an ongoing basis to target crime in and around the Melbourne CBD to make the city a safer place for everyone.
Is Abbott suggesting that Don Smith has been misquoted?
There seems little doubt that this was a very deliberate action to fit in with Tony’s “community safety” slogan.