Border Force operation reflects a disturbing attitude

The Human Rights Law Centre today expressed grave concerns over statements by the newly formed Australian Border Force that they would be stopping individuals in Melbourne’s CBD.

“The comments are deeply concerning. There’s simply no legal justification for Border Force officers to randomly stop people going about their business in Melbourne,” said Hugh de Kretser, the HRLC’s Executive Director.

The ABF said in a statement this morning they would be “positioned at various locations around the CBD speaking to any individual we cross paths with.” But after numerous concerns were raised, by 2pm, the ABF had issued a “clarifying” statement to say the ABF “does not and will not stop people at random in the streets.”

“The backdown is welcome but the whole incident reinforces concerns around the militarisation of our immigration officials. The comments this morning reflect a disturbing attitude around how the Border Force will conduct itself” said Mr de Kretser.

Victoria Police later called off the entire operation.

“While common sense has prevailed today, the events raise many questions. The legal basis for the entire operation and the sharing of information between police and the Border Force is murky,” said Mr de Kretser.

For further information contact: Hugh de Kretser 0403 965 340