Total Border Farce: The dud minister and the Twitterati

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Unless the Government and Border Force are utterly incompetent, a lot of people are lying about Operation Fortitude, writes managing editor David Donovan.

(Meme via @johndory49)

LAST WEEK, we saw a pleasing display of people power and democracy in action — one, of course, that our Murdoch media overlords are calling "mob rule" brought on by the terrifying extreme left-wing "Twitterati".

What happened was some genius thought it was a good idea to put out a press release saying that Australia's newly formed Blackshirts – the expensively renamed and accoutred Border Force – would be wandering around the Melbourne CBD stopping people at will and asking for their papers. News of this started spreading like wildfire through social media, a flash mob formed in Melbourne and, before you know it, "Operation Fortitude" was called off.

Border Force – quickly dubbed by those clever dicks in the "Twitterati" as "Border Farce" – moved into smokescreen/damage control mode, with its oddly named head Roman Quaedvlieg saying the "poorly worded" press release has been sent out by a relatively low level official. That such Gestapo tactics had never been intended.

Prime Minister Abbott came out soon after spouting the same lines.

The Australia people scratched their heads, confounded and suspicious.

Immigration Mineral Peter Dutton stayed out of sight, cowering at home under his doona, merely issuing a statement that he was not going to comment on an "operational matter". Yep, that old one! Of course, it soon emerged that the press release had been sent to his office for approval — twice. Even so, he is still claiming that neither he nor any of his staff had ever read the media release.

Now, unless the Government and Border Force are utterly incompetent, which is a distinct possibility, a lot of people are lying. It is simply unimaginable that any reasonably well run organisation would send out a highly sensitive media statement without it being approved at the highest levels. What is very likely to have occurred is that the tin-eared authoritarians in charge in this country thought the public reaction to their carefully planned operation would be quite different to that which actually occurred.

Yes, this was another "security" announceable, intended to reinforce people's fears for purely political reasons. Why else would they make the announcement before the operation? Wouldn't that simply make people without valid visas just stay away from the city centre that day?

They lie to us all the time, for cynical despicable reasons. We can only hope the public send them a message in Canning.

Power to the people!

You can follow Dave Donovan on Twitter @davrosz.

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