Ease Up On Border Force, Fascism Takes Work And No-one Gets It Right In Their First Press Release


On Friday the ratbags and human right’s lawyers won. Operation Fortitude was cancelled.

The plan, announced by regional Border Force Commandant Don Smith to “stop and frisk” revelers in Melbourne CBD to check visa status, was officially abandoned.

Border Force High Commander Roman Quaedvlieg claimed this was never the plan, just a clumsily written press release, taken out of context. He did not reveal the context. We can safely presumed context is an “operational matter”. For security, Border Force to do not discuss “on-water” or “on-keyboard” matters.

But let’s not be too harsh. Border Force is just starting as a paramilitary organization on the mainland. Their experience is running island prisons untroubled by laws, or journalists; the only threat is the occasional visit from Sarah Hanson-Young.

Chin up, Border Force. Fascism takes work, you can’t get it right on your first press release.

Apparently, there are 62,000 over-stayers living among us. Obviously we do not know if any of them are criminals. However, the odds that all of them are not criminals, or will never be criminals, are zero.

In the future these over-stayers could be bikies, murderers, white-collar criminals. We have no way of knowing because we have no idea where they are.

Don Smith had a simple plan: get out and tell those 62,000 you are not welcome on our streets. If you don’t have a visa and are planning to commit a crime, do it at home, in your local park, or the country. This CBD is protected.

In the end the Melbourne public are not ready for uniformed officers patrolling the streets looking for foreigners.

But, Mr Smith should not wallow. His mistake was his plan was too narrow, too public. Too many uniforms, not enough stazi. Too focused on the streets, not the community.

If Border Force wants to protect Victorians from the folly of our own liberalism they need to go deeper.

Take public libraries. In Victoria you can get a library card without a visa! Over-stayers are free to borrow books. Some may even use free the Internet to join ISIS. There may be no evidence of that, but that’s because librarians refuse to spy on patrons. From now on, no visa, no book, no bandwidth.

Bartenders at backpackers must check visas. Hotels should refuse bookings for people who cannot provide proof of residency. The homeless should refuse to let people without visas sleep under our bridges.

Every Charity Hawker should immediately be placed in immigration detention on Nauru, even if they have a visa. The streets should be safe for the gullible.

Every ER should have nurses whose job it is to check visas. You cannot just come into Australia and use our health resources for a broken leg. No visa, you’ll be on the first helicopter to Nauru.

The greatest travesty of all is illegals can waltz past nightclub bouncers (themselves mostly foreigners) while permanent residents can be excluded for the wrong shoes. Make liquor licenses conditional on Border Force cooperation.

Finally, you need to restrict movement. Taxi drivers should be checking visas of passengers, and passengers should be allowed to check the visas of taxi drivers. For safety, nobody wants to be in a cab with a potentially dangerous over-stayer.

The unemployed could be given a choice between the Green Army, and the Grey (border force) Army. A gang of chronically unemployed, empowered to stop foreigners and administer the citizenship test at any time. Those that resist will be arrested. That’ll make the streets safe.

With any luck illegals that cannot drink, get cabs, use the hospital, or read a book will deport themselves. Alternatively, they’ll go underground and join a criminal sub-culture. Which is fine, that will just prove that Border Force was right all along.

Mathew Kenneally is a stand up comedian who moonlights as a lawyer. He's a regular new Matilda columnist and is the co-author with Toby Halligan of the satirical blog Diary Leaks. He is also the co-founder of the topical comedy room Political Asylum.