Last week a boat with Tamil asylum seekers aboard disappeared with no information on their fate. It is suspected they were picked up at sea by the Royal Australian Navy with the view to being handed over to Sri Lankan authorities.
Again managing asylum seekers is shrouded in mystery and claims of operational security.
Contrast this with the US. Last week the US Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson gave a TV interview on the practicalities of securing US borders while treating undocumented immigrants in a humane way. How can an American lawmaker talk openly about the issue of immigration but Australian officials at all levels refuse to provide even the most basic information?
ADF and other leaders need to relearn a hard-won PR lesson from the Vietnam War.
The long-term success of operations, and that includes Sovereign Borders, depends on public support. And public support depends on providing information so voters know what is being done in their name. Divided public support eventually leads to policy failure.