Friday, 26 July 2013

Abbott's Turn Back The Boats Policy OR The Boat Phone Lives!

This was Australian Opposition Leader Tony Abbott in election year 2010

The Courier Mail 16 August:

TONY Abbott will personally make any decision to turn around boats carrying asylum seekers if he becomes prime minister.
As another asylum seeker boat arrived at the weekend - the 152nd since Labor won office - Mr Abbott revealed yesterday how his pledge to turn back the boats would work.
"In the end it would be a prime ministerial decision," he said.
"It would be the Government's call based on advice of the commander on the spot."
Mr Abbott said the phone call from sea would come to him - on the boat phone - and it would be his choice whether or not to turn a boat back if it was safe to do so……

This was Tony Abbott in election year 2013

If elected, a Coalition Government will initiate Operation Sovereign Borders which will be led by a senior military commander of 3 star ranking.
We will ask the Chief of the Defence Force to recommend the appointment of the 3 Star commander, as well as a command and control model for this major operation. 
The commander will report directly to the Minister for Immigration, who will have portfolio responsibility for Operation Sovereign Borders. 
Operation Sovereign Borders will be directed by a Joint Agency Taskforce involving all agencies with direct involvement in border security.
In the first 100 days of a Coalition government, Operation Sovereign Borders will undertake key initiatives including:
·         Establishing the Operation Sovereign Borders HQ and creating the joint agency taskforce;
·         Finalising and issuing protocols for Operation Relex II, to turn back boats where it is safe to do so;
·         Increasing capacity at offshore processing centres; and
·         Lease and deploy additional vessels to relieve patrol vessels of passenger transfers.

The Australian 25 July:

TONY Abbott is risking the ire of the nation's defence establishment by forcing a three-star military commander to answer directly to his immigration minister under a dramatic command and control overhaul to stop asylum boats..….
Mr Abbott said General Hurley had been consulted about the policy this morning, along with the Indonesian ambassador, as a matter of courtesy.
However, General Hurley made it clear the policy did not carry his imprimatur.
"Contrary to media reporting today, the Chief of the Defence Force, General David Hurley, has not provided advice or recommendations to Opposition Leader, Mr Tony Abbott with respect to Coalition policy on asylum seeker issues," his office said in a statement.
"Defence understands that the Chief of the Defence Force would be consulted regarding any future policies affecting Defence to be implemented by a future government."

An ABC AusVotes interview on 25 July with Retired Major General Jim Molan elicited the information that the proposed Operation Sovereign Borders chain of command is Prime Minister -> Minister for Immigration -> Three Star Commander.

Molan supported Abbott at the announcement of this new policy on 25 July:

It would appear that Tony Abbott is seeking to subvert the normal practice of the peacetime defence force which keeps in the chain of command a degree of operational separation between politicians and itself.

This is the Australian Constitution applicable since 1901 and the defence forces oath.

The command in chief of the naval and military forces of the Commonwealth is vested in the Governor-General as the Queen’s representative.

Oath or affirmation for enlistment of member

I, (insert full name of person) swear that I will well and truly serve Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Her Heirs and Successors according to law, as a member of the (insert Australian Navy , Australian Army , or Australian Air Force ) (insert for the period of (number of years) , and any extensions of that period, or until retiring age, ) and that I will resist her enemies and faithfully discharge my duty according to law.
I, (insert full name of person) promise that I will well and truly serve Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Her Heirs and Successors according to law, as a member of the (insert Australian Navy , Australian Army , or Australian Air Force ) (insert for the period of (number of years) , and any extensions of that period, or until retiring age, ) and that I will resist Her enemies and faithfully discharge my duty according to law.

Other related policy.

Australia is a sophisticated liberal democracy with one of the longest histories of democratic government in the Asia-Pacific region. Our military forces are committed to upholding the Constitution, to the subordination of the military to the Government, of the Government to Parliament and of Parliament to the people. This means that Australia’s use of armed force must be subject to the test of legitimacy, in that the Government must have the capacity to demonstrate to the Parliament and the electorate that there is adequate moral and legal justification for its actions.
This adherence to legitimacy and the democratic nature of the Australian Nation State is a particular strength for the ADF….

Since 2006 the ADF’s contribution to civil maritime security has been provided under Operation RESOLUTE. Defence assets are assigned under operational control to the Commander Border Protection Command (BPC) who manages this tactical force through the employment of a Joint Task Force. BPC comprises officers from the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service and the ADF, together with embedded liaison officers from the Australian Fisheries Management Authority and the Australian Quarantine Inspection Service. Identified maritime threats include: illegal activity in protected areas; illegal exploitation of natural resources; marine pollution; prohibited imports and exports; unauthorised maritime arrivals; a compromise to bio-security; piracy, robbery or violence at sea; and maritime terrorism. Generally, BPC
provides an onwater tactical response at the request of other Australian Government agencies.

Operation RESOLUTE is the ADF’s contribution to the whole-of-government effort to protect Australia’s borders and offshore maritime interests.
It is the only ADF operation that currently defends homeland Australia and its assets.
The Operation RESOLUTE Area of Operations covers approximately 10% of the world’s surface and includes Australia’s Exclusive Economic Zone which extends up to 200nm around the mainland, Christmas, Cocos, Keeling, Norfolk, Heard, Macquarie and Lord Howe Islands.
Commander BPC, Rear Admiral David Johnston, RAN, is the overarching operational authority that coordinates and controls both Defence and Customs assets out of his headquarters in Canberra.
Located in Darwin, the Deputy Commander of Operation RESOLUTE, Air Commodore Ken Watson, is responsible at the frontline for ADF assets operating under Operation RESOLUTE......

This is the Australian Defence Force operation which contributes to the whole of government program to detect, intercept and deter vessels transporting unauthorised arrivals from entering Australia through the North-West maritime approaches.
Op RELEX II is currently based on a Task Group comprising one major fleet unit, an AP-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft, Navy patrol boats and an army security element. A standby AP-3C Orion is available to deploy to provide a surge capability if required.
Operation Relex II includes units from all three services and supports Coastwatch and Customs.

Guess which documents the High Court of Australia is likely to take notice of if an Abbott-led government tried to implement this plan to position Abbott as de facto head of the armed forces and a citizen made an application to the court?

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