Australian Border Force (ABF) is only weeks old yet its first major public relations effort has been a disaster.
Yesterday a strong community and media backlash quashed plans for Operation Fortitude where ABF officers were to join Victorian Police and other enforcement officers to crack down on anti-social behaviour in Melbourne.
The ABF’s role appears to have been to check on people overstaying visas.
Putting darkly clad public servants on city streets to check immigration papers was never going to be popular. There is no Australian precedent and while compliance raids have taken place for years previously they were targeted at specific, suspected illegalities and announced after the fact.