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“We want you to be scared and compliant”.

It is safe to say that the Federal Government has taken Australia one step closer to complete authoritarian rule and dictatorship. In a statement released today, Friday, 28 August 2015, the Australian Border Force regional commander for Victoria and Tasmania, Don Smith, proudly revealed that officers from the para-military organisation will be checking the visas of people ambling around Melbourne’s CBD on Friday and Saturday.

The venture, named Operation Fortitude, is reportedly a joint exercise between a number of security agencies including Victoria Police. The stated aim is to fight crime and keep Melburnians safe. The operation will be targeting anti-social behaviour to outstanding warrants, and naturally, the Border Force agents will be cracking down hard on anyone suspected of visa fraud.

Mr Smith is clearly keen to show a presence in Melbourne. His officers will be located at strategic positions around the CBD and will apparently be ‘speaking with any individual we cross paths with.’

This is an astounding move. A horrifying and grossly invasive move. It marks a distinct end to whatever personal freedoms and liberties law-abiding Australians have left.

This is an operation in Melbourne’s CBD. It is not an operation on the ‘borders’ of Australia. It is not an operation at the entry and exit points of the nation, or indeed any state. It is not at an airport. Or at a sea port. It is not at suspected entry points for people seeking asylum.

It is the central business district of Victoria’s capital city.

The newly created Australian Border Force comes complete with a no-nonsense military style emblem. It has sharp, cutting slogans splashed across the homepage of its website: ‘Border Watch – Help Protect Australia’s Border’, ‘Report Suspicious Behaviour’, ‘70 Years of Post-War Migration’, ‘Australian Citizenship – Your Right, Your Responsibility’, ‘Join us on the Frontline’.

Except that frontline has moved: From a line at the front, to meandering among the Australian population going about their usual weekend business.

The intentions of the operation are clear – to ensure all Australian’s know that Tony Abbott and his band of merry henchmen are doing everything possible to keep its citizens safe and fear-free.

But only its citizens.

And only those who are white, respectable, and probably just the ones who vote conservative.

In fact, just the ones who look exactly likeTony Abbott and pasty-faced Immigration Minister Peter Dutton. Or at least what they want Australians to look like.

And it is all about looks. Mr Smith has made that clear. The officers from Border Force will be speaking with anyone who crosses their paths. And by ‘crossing paths’ he certainly means anyone his over-zealous, enthusiastic and patriotic officers launch themselves in front of. And those people will be selected by their looks.

Of course, there is simply no possible way to identify a visa fraudster on looks alone. They do not have ‘Illegal Immigrant’ stamped in red font across their foreheads.

No. Visa over-stayers look remarkably like Australians because Australia is a multi-cultural nation with millions of people born overseas calling it home. In fact according to the Australia Bureau of Statistics, on 30 June 2014 28% of the total population was born outside of Australia. Reports from 2013 show that the majority of ‘visa fraudsters’ arrive by plane, with 1.2% of visa holders being unaccounted for. They are mostly people from China, Malaysia, United States and the United Kingdom.

What does this mean?

This weekend, every Melburnian out shopping with friends, chilling with family or rushing to work may be stopped and required to prove their right to be in Australia. On the street. In Melbourne’s CBD. However it is almost certain that the only people who will cross the paths of the agents will be those un-descended from Abbott’s favoured Motherland, despite UK citizens being the fourth most likely populace to over-stay a visa.

Instead, any person of non-obviously-white and pure-bread British heritage, every person who’s ancestry hails from Europe, the Middle East, Asia, the Balkans, every person who has dark skin, distinct facial features, a mop of black hair, may be stopped and face demands to account for themselves. Aboriginal Australians will be thrown in with any other nationality of dark skinned appearance and questioned ruthlessly on their heritage.

But rest assured. The operation is about keeping Australians safe. It is about ‘our common mission of promoting a secure and cohesive society.’

So what are Melburnians to do? How are they to react when confronted by Mr Smith and his Border Force agents? Carry their birth certificate? National identity documents? Smear their faces with white foundation and powder and dye their hair to alleviate suspicion? Dress in traditional Australian garb – thongs, Bonds vest and King-G work pants? Or Blunstone boots, red Speedos and a wide-brimmed Akubra hat?

What kind of accent should Melburnians practice to ensure they pass the initial sniff test of Australianness? Should they practice their “g’day mate”, “struth” and “she’ll be right, mate” lingo?

This farce must end. And soon. Before this appallingly fascist Government completely destroys what is left of Australia.

48 comments

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  1. babyjewels10

    Couldn’t agree more.

  2. my say

    It is way past time ,people have to voice their disapproval of this facists government ,
    ARE we happy being governed by a dictator,we have got to say enough is enough
    show them how we all feel Melbourneians,

  3. Möbius Ecko

    I want this to role around in your head, “Federal Government’s paramilitary unit”. That’s what Border Force is being unchangingly called, even by the Murdoch press.

  4. Möbius Ecko

    Border Force press conference at 2pm. I’ll be on the road so will listen on the radio but won’t be able to comment.

  5. Margot

    Something to put on your Christmas wish list.
    The Inexplicably Long and Excruciatingly Embarrassing Reign of Captain Abbott
    Andrew P Street
    9781760290542
    An irreverent take on the political life and times of our 28th prime minister.
    In August 2013, Australia welcomed Tony Abbott as its new prime minister. This promised to be a marriage between responsible government and a nation tired of the endless drama of the Gillard/Rudd years. The honeymoon, however, proved to be short.
    Fairfax columnist Andrew P. Street details the litany of gaffes, goofs and questionable captain’s calls that have characterised the subsequent reign of the Abbott government, following the trail from bold promises to questionable realities; unlikely recoveries to inexplicable own goals; Malcolm Turnbull’s assurances of support, to Julie Bishop’s death stare. And all this comes with a colourful cast of supporting characters that only a nation unfamiliar with the concept of below- the-line voting could elect. Here is a unique take on a government in crisis and an opposition in chaos.
    If Game of Thrones was a deeply irreverent book about politics, then the TV series would probably not rate nearly as well. It would, however, look something like this.
    Pub Date: December 2015

  6. juliefarthing

    This is abhorrent, but what I don’t understand is how Daniel Andrews would allow this to happen in Victoria? Baird is on the same side, I could see such a terrible activity happening in Sydney, but in Melbourne? I do fear for our safety, and it is from the Border Farce.

  7. Jim Woodward

    When I read about ‘Operation: Border Farce’ it sent chills down my spine, I couldn’t help but think we’ve turned a dark corner in this country. We have time to turn back and the Liberal Government needs to send Australia a clear message that they won’t put up with this police state dictatorship that Mr. Abbott is leading us quickly towards.

  8. philgorman2014

    Its all degenerating into a fascist farce, complete with comic opera uniforms. It would be hilarious if it wasn’t so much of a threat to our multicultural society. These goons must be stopped.

    The legitimate weapons left to us are information, education, ideas, words and votes. Unfortunately Murdoch, the IPA and their ilk are monopolising the media and an ill informed electorate will tend to vote like sheep going to the slaughter. The bellwether is Canning.

  9. Peter F

    BE AFRAID be very afraid. This man is mad. Why not just do this in Canning? Surely we don’t all have to put up with it.

  10. Southerly

    Abbots brown shirts, or maybe they will be more like hitlers black shirts. It’s only a matter of time with this maniac. Wake up Australia before any more freedoms are lost.

  11. Jexpat

    Should be an interesting exercise.

    Looking forward to seeing the reactions as reported in the media.

  12. Roscoe

    I wonder if there are any of those yellow stars left over from WW2?

  13. donwreford

    For all Australians to be safe from terrorists and those who seek to harm us is we all should be incarcerated and locked up in prisons with barb wire fencing and guards to protect us with machine guns, we are no longer safe in our houses nor travelling on our roads, when we are let out for outings to the bingo halls and such like we need to go out with armored vehicles, tanks for our protection, the government is not doing enough for us at night I sleep with my AK 47, under my pillow and close by I have hand grenades just in case a terrorist is going to break in to my apartment and behead me, you cannot be too sure these days can you?

  14. Kaye Lee

    14 characteristics of fascism in government:

    1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism

    Team Australia; we will decide who comes to this country; Reclaim Australia

    2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights

    Attack on Gillian Triggs; torture of asylum seekers; mandatory sentencing

    3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause

    Illegal boat people; death cult; leaners

    4. Supremacy of the Military

    Increasing defence spending to 2% of GDP; spending hundreds of billions on defence materiel

    5. Controlled Mass Media

    ABC funding slashed and intereference in programming; journalists can face 10 years in jail

    6. Obsession with National Security

    Asking for a timetable of weekly national security announcements

    7. Religion and Government are Intertwined

    School chaplains; marriage equality

    8. Corporate Power is Protected

    Disclosure of tax paid banned due to “kidnapping threat”; thin capitalisation laws rolled back

    9. Labor Power is Suppressed

    Royal Commission into Trade Unions

    10.Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts

    latte sipping university lefties; George Brandis to determine who gets grants

    11.Obsession with Crime and Punishment

    Truancy officers, more jails, CC tvs, border farce patrolling the streets of Melbourne

    12.Rampant Cronyism and Corruption

    ICAC, Damien Mantach. Tim Wilson, Sophie Mirabella, Dyson Hyden (this list is too long)

    13.Fraudulent Elections

    Missing West Australian Senate votes; parties sending out postal votes with reply paid envelopes

    14.Rampant Sexism

    2 females in Cabinet; the treatment of Julia Gillard and Gillian Triggs and Sarah Hanson-Young

    “What happened here was the gradual habituation of the people, little by little, to being governed by surprise; to receiving decisions deliberated in secret; to believing that the situation was so complicated that the government had to act on information which the people could not understand, or so dangerous that, even if the people could understand it, it could not be released because of national security.

    This separation of government from people, this widening of the gap, took place so gradually and so insensibly, each step disguised (perhaps not even intentionally) as a temporary emergency measure or associated with true patriotic allegiance or with real social purposes. And all the crises and reforms (real reforms, too) so occupied the people that they did not see the slow motion underneath, of the whole process of government growing remoter and remoter.

    To live in this process is absolutely not to be able to notice it—please try to believe me—unless one has a much greater degree of political awareness, acuity, than most of us had ever had occasion to develop. Each step was so small, so inconsequential, so well explained or, on occasion, ‘regretted,’ that, unless one were detached from the whole process from the beginning, unless one understood what the whole thing was in principle, what all these ‘little measures’ that no ‘patriotic German’ could resent must some day lead to, one no more saw it developing from day to day than a farmer in his field sees the corn growing. One day it is over his head.”

    Principiis obsta and Finem respice—‘Resist the beginnings’ and ‘Consider the end.’

  15. Bronte ALLAN

    It looks like “1984” may have finally arrived! Or are we going back to the times of Nazi Germany or Communist Russia? It is past time for Rabbit & all his lying, inept mates to be taken out to sea & dropped overboard in a hessian bag! Just like Rabbit’s mate Jones suggested should be done to Julia Gillard! BASTARDS, the lot of them!

  16. Eva

    @Kaye Lee – reading your list of fascist indicators with the ‘evidence’ makes me want to cry. Every time Abbott stoops to a new low I wonder if it will be the point that Australians finally stand up. Could this be it?? Who knows. The Canning election will be very telling.

  17. diannaart

    I have not been paying attention, I did not know that Abbott has invaded the south with his goons…. and Daniel Andrews is complicit?

    Nowhere to run…. nowhere to hide….

  18. Kaye Lee

    Never let the bastards see you cry. Maintain the rage Eva. You have a particular talent at informing people. Keep it up and we will shed tears of joy when we save our country from these fascists. See what people can achieve if we rise up and say piss off turkeys.

  19. Eva

    Thanks Kaye. Quitting is not an option when it comes to fighting Abbott and his like-minded cronies. I’m so happy to see how many people were out protesting in Melbourne at 2pm. Perhaps there’s change on its way …

  20. keerti

    And the majority will bend over a little further…….! No chance of australians getting interested in their own democratic freedom…..

  21. Jexpat

    Well, that went over like a lead balloon.

  22. Rossleigh

    Let me try to imagine how this would work. Do they ask to see my visa? Being an Australian citizen I don’t have one, so am I obliged to wait while they check out my citizenship? Or do they just take me straight to a detention centre where my boba fides can be established during office hours?
    Mm, just as well it was called off…

  23. Keitha Granville

    Some of us have been saying “Fascists state” for quite some time now. And here it is. How long before those who are not WASP will be required to have a patch sewn on their clothes so they can be more quickly identified? How long before they are moved to less desirable places to live? How long before they begin exterminating? Don’t say it can’t happen. Look what is happening now without our knowledge, without our approval. We have become a police state overnight. Those who are stopped and questioned must yell out , loudly, so that others around can know what is happening. Wake up Australia. Our fathers fought wars against this. Don’t let them have died for nothing.

  24. Keitha Granville

    Power to the People ! Anyone else remember Citizen Smith ? Thank you all those folk who got out on the street and said NO, NOT IN OUR COUNTRY. Thank you for standing up for your rights, for the freedom of your fellow citizens. Today, for this moment, I am proud again. We CAN defeat this regime, and we will.

  25. Kaye Lee

    If you happen to have already committed visa fraud, then the simple response to an announcement that the police are going to be looking for visa fraudsters in the Melbourne CBD this weekend would be to stay well away from the CBD.

    Which of course prompts the next question: why on Earth would you announce this? Unless, say, the politicians who run the show wanted you to, for the sake of the political capital they might make out of the fact that pesky foreigners who don’t play by the rules are about to get what’s coming to them.

    A lot of people will, I suspect, make the connection between this and Laura Tingle’s discovery that: “A meeting of the National Security Committee of the cabinet has … recently asked for a list of national-security-related things that could be announced weekly between now and the election.” And they are probably right.

    https://www.themonthly.com.au/the-monthly-today/sean-kelly/2015/28/2015/1440739768/sometimes-it-s-hard-not-be-cynic

  26. Vicki

    Rich coming from a prime minister who has no right to be in the seat due to his british nationality, (lower case is deliberate).
    So what will the people do about it?

  27. Emmee Bee

    Kaye Lee hit on it. Why on earth would you announce such an operation especially if it was against crime generally? There is nothing new about joint operations between state and federal agencies either. It sounds to me that Dutton might have got all excited thinking he was in the force again and blew it by announcing his new goon squad to go with the operation.

  28. corvus boreus

    I think the announcement of deploying ‘Border Force’ personnel in the Melbourne CBD was part litmus test, part provocation.

    Melbourne federal electorate is the only lower house seat held by a Greens member; in the current paradigm, it is seen as something of a hotbed of radical leftism. Floating the notion of the new men in black bailing up citizens on the street was calculated to ruffle feathers and raise some serious hackles.

    Targeting a hostile demographic with a controversial proposal is one way to gauge the upper limits in intensity of opposition.
    It has the possible bonus of provoking an extreme reaction of civil disobedience, which can be used as justification for implementing for more repressive ’emergency measures’, particularly if the fires are fanned by a pliant media.

  29. Kaye Lee

    What they have fired is widespread ridicule.

  30. corvus boreus

    Herald Sun, 29/08/2015;
    “Leftist Mob Stops Cops! (EXCLUSIVE)”.

  31. jim

    LINK Please or Shut up.I have not been paying attention, I did not know that Abbott has invaded the south with his goons…. and Daniel Andrews is complicit? how can he be these are Federal ops.

  32. Blinkyewok

    Next fed election will be a choice between Democracy and Dictatorship. Andrew Wilkie was an Australian Intelligence Assessment Officer until he resigned just before Howard took us to war in Iraq. He made a very strongly worded statement warning us about Abbott’s agenda. It is on his facebook page. He is an honourable and trustworthy person who has the knowledge and experience to identify a dictatorship when he sees it.

  33. philgorman2014

    Thanks for the check list Kaye. The current regime certainly ticks all the boxes. The unity of the state with corporate power is well nigh complete and an ignorant population is sleepwalking into a fascist corpocracy.

  34. michaelattoowoomba

    Frightening story Eva,Once again thanks to Kaye for her comments. I have’nt mastered copying of links yet so I would like suggest watching this weeks Foriegn Correspondent — Spain; Yes We Can. Especialy mentions of social media manipulation by outside parties [ give some thought to our gov metadata and recent changes to our laws to take most of the actions of citicens of spain illegal by Australians. ] I do not know how long Iview episodes stay online. michaelattoowoomba.

  35. silkworm

    All this commotion just so Dyson the vacuum cleaner can sneak out the back door.

  36. Florence nee Fedup

    I think today might see Border Force rise to top of list as a election issue at the next elections, I think it was the Victorian police pushing back today that bought the farce to a quick end.

  37. Florence nee Fedup

    Who believes that in this day and age, there is any great hate or fear of unions within the community that could have been stirred up in previous times.

    Who really believes today, That unions have any great power.

    How many younger people who have had contact with unions in any way. That is in their workplace or suffered from industrial action.

    Not many I suspect.

    Abbott obviously believes the majority share his views when it comes to unions. At least he has dropped the term, socialism and communism.

  38. gangey1959

    “Gotta you license?”
    Raffaello Carboni’s eyewitness account of the police actions on the Ballarat goldfields both pre, during and after the Eureka uprising draws a vivid picture of how obscene the police actions were way back in 1854.
    How the bloody hell are they going to achieve the same result this weekend?
    We, as FREE citizens, do NOT have to carry any form of personal ID if we do not wish to.
    Is “F*ck off Pig” a justifiable reply to any request for the same?
    There is a fair chance I will be in Melbourne on Saturday. I wont be playing ball.
    Various state governments have used what are in my opinion illegal measures to try and break up the various “outlaw” motorcycle clubs.
    Yes, as a result of these actions large amounts of drugs, weapons and other illegal activities have been brought to light. What a surprise.
    Essendon football club has been higly visible in its own illegal actions. Are sporting clubs next ? Is my nephew’s U9 mini hockey team just a front for organised crime? Or are the non white members of the team illegal imports who get paid nothing and have to do all the dirty work while the white kids cherry-pick the goals?
    As I said. “F*ck off, Pig”

  39. Terry2

    After the odd launch of the Australian Border Force – flags, Abbott and Dutton singing Advance Australia Fair, more flags – we find to our national amazement that we have created a monster and when comment is sought from Abbott and Dutton they hide behind ‘operational silence’.

    On this occasion, our democracy was strong enough to withstand this assault but Abbott is a very stubborn man and he is at war with the Australian people and he will try again.

    If it is lawful for officers of the ABF to stop people on the streets and demand to see their ID and to indulge in racial profiling to hunt out visa overstayers then there is something deficient in the ABF legislation.

    Maintain the rage folks, this was not the bad drafting of an announcement by a low grade officer : this was a planned assault on out democracy.

  40. Adrianne Haddow

    Agree totally Terry2. This is a planned assault on our democracy.
    Until this toxic government is gone these attacks on Australian democracy will continue.
    An event a week until the election…….
    I wonder what next week’s event will be.

  41. Pingback: It is safe to say that the Federal Government has taken Australia one step closer to complete authoritarian rule and dictatorship. | olddogthoughts

  42. Terry2

    Peter Hartcher in the SMH nails it :

    “He invents faux security measures in a transparent effort to look tough. And, whether it’s stripping citizenship or ordering the stopping and questioning of ordinary citizens in their daily lives, Abbott hopes to inflame Labor into opposing him so that he can point gleefully and shout “Labor is soft on terror!”

  43. pudden'head

    What public or parliamentary response would force Abbott to truly reveal his un-Australian proposals for this country? At a time when we are ostensibly at peace how can the LNP hide behind its refusal to speak openly because they say that public discussion would interfere with condoned operations, some of which e.g.,” turning the boats”, intrusion into foreign territorial waters, trade collusion, and attacks on civil liberties have the distinct smell of illegality.Are we so stupid that we can accept an excuse that Bill Shorten will be blind-sided because he may be “wedged”, Come on Bill, throw off the chains and trust the Australian populace? Even with the help that non-citizen Murdoch gives Abbott, the story of the havoc being perpetrated by the IPA and Abbott has got through to most Australians.As a front liner Bill your political survival may just be assured if you call Abbott’s bluff. If you don’t you take the risk your support will be blown away by the wind of dissatisfaction.

  44. Terry2

    By the way, Greg Sheridan in the Weekend Australian has confirmed that Australia will commence bombing Syria. So it looks as though Murdoch approved mission creep while he was here – I wonder if he had a visa !

    So, before the Defence Department have finished briefing the government and before the National Security Committee have considered the briefing, News Corp have approved it : just waiting for Rupert’s official tweet.

    Business as usual.

  45. Maureen Walton (@maureen_walton)

    Abbott is so delusional, he is testing to see if he still has all the Believers he had in opposition. With his running here running there. Look at me aren’t I Great.

    Today He has been on Media Mouthing off how great a PM he is, as he is the only one to go and stay so long and do this and do that with Indegenious people. The Goverment have taken away a lot of Social Workers in the outback and replaced them with Truant offices that have made NO difference at all (told this by a Lady that works there) But Abbott was mouthing off how they got all these kids back to school Abbotts Lies about Abbott again.

    This is all About Fear so Abbott can try and get his old fans back to vote for him But Australians are Great you can only fool them for some of the time and then they get ANGRY. There is a change in the air the Libs that use to scream at me DO Not now in fact they are screaming bad words about Abbott.

  46. pudden'head

    Terry2
    You have posed a good question re the American citizen, Murdoch. As he is encouraging conflict he is as much a terrorist as any who have poked their head up so far. Is it time that our beloved leader pull him into line and have his visa and work permit revoked?

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