We’re getting our own TSA

A SINGLE, super frontline agency to police Australia’s borders will be set up, taking over the role of Customs, as the Coalition positions for the next phase of protecting Australia’s economic gateways from transnational crime.

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison will today unveil plans, to be detailed in Tuesday’s budget, to establish the Australian Border Force, which will have responsibility from mid-next year for enforcing all Customs and immigration laws.

The Australian Border Force, which will be set up as part of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, will be led by a commissioner reporting directly to Mr Morrison.

It will take over the work of the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service, which will cease to exist from July next year.

Read the whole thing.

A few red flags caught my eye.

The name – the Australian Border Force. Really? These days bureaucratic speech would have provided a name like “Borders Australia”. This kind of “strong man” politics just looks ugly.

The structure – led by a commissioner reporting directly to Mr Morrison. I reckon he tried to get a serving military officer but that was too much for everyone else.

The propaganda – the next phase of protecting Australia’s economic gateways from transnational crime. Wow. Sounds serious. Now I’m happy to believe that criminals make use of transport hubs the same as everyone else, but I’m not convinced that the existing arrangements are inadequate.

The savings – The consolidation of Customs and immigration border operations will deliver “hundreds of millions in savings’’, to be ploughed back into the agency, and could result in job cuts. Yes, well. Time will tell on that point. We’re told, however,

“The creation of the Australian Border Force is about strengthening our borders,’’ he will say. “It is a reform measure, not simply a savings measure.’’

Overall this looks like an empire building exercise. It is not all clear that a standardised, rule-based, bureaucratic process such border control needs to have a politician in charge of it.

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75 Responses to We’re getting our own TSA

  1. Vicki

    The name – the Australian Border Force. Really? These days bureaucratic speech would have provided a name like “Borders Australia”. This kind of “strong man” politics just looks ugly.

    Sorry, Sinc. “Strong” is not “ugly” to me.

    Morrison is one of the few in Cabinet that I actually trust at the moment.

    If anything, borders will be every more insecure in the coming years, as these mass movements of people across international borders continues. Dollars well spent.

  2. Grigory M

    Scott Morrison for Supreme Ruler?

  3. .

    What’s wrong with customs being integrated into the AFP and a new coast guard taken from the navy and secondable to it?

    …at no extra cost or with savings?

    I doubt setting up a new agency will have savings. Did the DHS create savings in the US? Did they materially help the INS, CIA, FBI or Coast Guard do their job?

    Let us not go down the US/USSR model of bureaucracy. The old British model works best because it is simplistic.

  4. Toiling Mass

    Having seen that TV program Border Security (which I realise is not really the whole deal, but showing incidents which customs must have been comfortable going to air), and the breath taking limp-wristedness enforcement of laws on display, there may be some sentiment that the existing arrangements were simply not enough.

  5. mareeS

    Morrison is one of the government’s heavy lifters. He has kept the Govt’s promise on border protection. None of the doubters can take that away from him.

  6. egg_

    Scott Morrison for Supreme Ruler?

    Hopefully, a career building exercise and Abbott hands over sooner rather than later.

  7. candy

    Australian Border Force – ABF – sounds good.

    Borders Australia – vague and says nothing.

  8. Fred

    Nothing wrong with the word ‘force’.

    Victoria used to have a police force under Neil Comrie. He was a supporter of the word force. He once said that it was a force for good.

    Enter Christine Nixon and force was one of the first things to go.

  9. stackja

    Australian Border Force

    Good! Stop all the criminals coming in.

  10. James of the Glen

    How can an ABF work with an ABC likely white-anting its every move?

  11. Walter Plinge

    ABF sounds fine to me too. Force is often required; it is a good thing. And a politician’s in charge and responsible – that’s a bad thing? Quite the opposite; it’s a good thing. Think how much more accountable the judiciary would be if a politician was in charge. Or the ABC – a prime example of what happens in an unaccountable bureaucracy.

  12. Aussiepundit

    No need for this.

    The border problem is solved. We don’t need an authoritarian bureuacratic monstrosity to harrass people.

    Pop some champagne, Scott and move on to something else. The temptation to leverage your success into empire building must be tempting, but resist it.

  13. john constantine

    so the old system, colonised by the lefties, and with those allocating new positions choosing their own gets bypassed? sounds good.

    morrisson said on the few minutes of abc i could stand to watch,

    ‘australia’s borders are australia’s greatest assett’.

    what was the devaluation to australias border assetts caused by the transnational globalists, and their gillard/rudd puppets?

    biosecurity challenges are hard to value, but ‘foot and mouth disease’, ‘antibiotic resistant tuberculosis’ fungicide resistant wheat rust—billions of dollars worth of hits just sitting offshore ticking away.

  14. A Lurker

    biosecurity challenges are hard to value, but ‘foot and mouth disease’, ‘antibiotic resistant tuberculosis’ fungicide resistant wheat rust—billions of dollars worth of hits just sitting offshore ticking away.

    In a nutshell, yes. We need to become less vulnerable.

  15. Sir Fred Lenin

    This is one Commisariat that will do some good ,pity its a commisariat ,with a commisar leading it ,sounds like something the useless party would set up ,they love Commisars!what about Force
    With a Commanding Officer ,that sounds less communist and will get up the lefties noses,nice Military ring about it
    Commanding Officer,Australian Border Protection Force!
    Sounds Really Good!

  16. Honeybadger

    Words mean something and I really like the sound of ‘force’. We mean business and no more namby pamby softly softly nothingness. About time Australia developed a backbone and put it on show with words and actions. Scott hasn’t let us down to date.

  17. Bruce

    Considering the amount of contraband said to currently entering the Country while Customs look on it won’t be too long before they enter the people smuggling business to supplement the income already being “earned” from drugs and firearms now coming in via carefully un-inspected containers.

  18. Tom

    Well, OK, if they insist — on condition that:

    1. The new agency does not result in a net increase in the APS bureaucracy — that is, is workforce is drawn from the existing Operation Sovereign Borders taskforce and its existing APS support. And,
    2. Sir Scott Morrison is named as Minister for Border Repulsion Of Undesirable Aliens and Executive Chairman For Life, Australian Border Force.

  19. Eddystone

    Maintaining national sovereignty is one of the core functions of govt.

    “Force” is fine with me. If it gets the luvvies’ panties in a twist*, so much the better. We should have police forces too, not police services.

    Come to think, our ambulance services could almost be called “forces”, given the coercive powers we have under the mental health act.

    *Or their mankini, if applicable.

  20. will

    Scott Morrison for Supreme Ruler?

    Hopefully, a career building exercise and Abbott hands over sooner rather than later.

    we don’t want them to wait too long, like Howard-Costello.

    Abbott should hand over now

  21. Infidel Tiger

    The scary thing is that one day a Labor Minister will be in charge of it and not our Scott.

  22. stackja

    Infidel Tiger
    #1298676, posted on May 9, 2014 at 12:40 pm
    The scary thing is that one day a Labor Minister will be in charge of it and not our Scott.

    ALP voters like being told what to do.

  23. Harry Buttle

    The point is to send a message, the exact opposite message as was sent by a number of state Police ‘services’ when they removed ‘force’ from their titles.

    Good move Tony and Scott. Sinc, take a bex and have a good lie down.

  24. Roger

    It is not all clear that a standardised, rule-based, bureaucratic process such border control needs to have a politician in charge of it.
    On the contrary, I should think the best way to make such an agency effective is to have a politician who is answerable both to the executive and the people, via the parliament, in charge of it and a commissioner directly under him. This removes the several tiers of bureaucratic padding that so often prevent ministers from having effective oversight of their departments. The present administrative structure of Customs and Border Protection is manifestly inadequate for present needs, let alone future ones.

  25. Roger

    As for “Australian Border Force” I’m afraid force is the only thing criminals understand, Sinclair. To paraphrase George Orwell, people sleep safely in their beds at night because rough men are prepared to visit violence on those who would harm them. It’s an unpalatable truth, but one that we ignore at our own peril.

  26. mundi

    I work with customs, immigration and quarantine all the time.

    To say there is overlap and inefficiency would be the understatement of the century.

    In some places they each have their own x-ray machines x raying the same bags, then each has there own passport inspector, and each has there own floor supervisors, and their seperate computer systems, on and in it goes.

    The true test is simply if combined they are less expensive and a savings on the budget. I would say that huge savings is easily affordable. There is no reason at all the bag checker can’t check for drugs, check for animals plants and check your passport and immigration status all in on, instead of it being 3 seperate people.

    Can’t wait for the unions to go ballistic over this one. Herring about things like this restores my faith in the liberal government.

  27. egg_

    Well, the Farce is with us for now…

  28. .

    Why not make it all part of the AFP, make customs/immigration like the PSOs who are part of the AFP but in a different command structure (secondable to the military police during wartime [I'm sceptical that the different services need separate beat police, they should be integrated like ADFIS]), make the coast guard a civilian maritime arm of the AFP during peacetime with the similar structure as before (but in both allow professionals to change career streams) and second them to the RAN during times of declared war or military commandeering?

    The command of both arms could be headed by a AFP Commander or Assist. Comm. …

    There you go.

    Cuts, cuts, cuts.

  29. Badjack

    A bit of “ ugly Force” would be a good thing used on the ‘border jumper’ Jaffari. Or maybe the writer believes Staines treated Jaffari ‘pretty well’ Civil liberties are wonderful until the Jaffari’s come along.

  30. brc

    The name – the Australian Border Force. Really? These days bureaucratic speech would have provided a name like “Borders Australia”. This kind of “strong man” politics just looks ugly.

    Are there any police forces left in Australia?

    I’m against paramilitiraztion of police, but having soemthing on the front line with a bit more teeth is fine by me. I think people being greeted by serious looking people in the airports is a good thing, as long as they are professional. As for people smugglers…well, makes sense to let the navy go do something else for a change.

  31. Andrew

    If Sir Scott thinks they can save admin $ now spent on bureaucrats AND improve national security as well as consolidate more power under himself, then great!

    Apart from anything else, the next ALP govt is likely to see a stronger Immigration minister than any other dept. They know another Rudd effort would see them out for a century. Every other ministry will be the usual weak leftist filth. Immigration closer to centre-left.

  32. Gab

    Australian Border Force

    Love it. It’s going to make Sarah Sea-Patrol’s head explode.

  33. phil

    Police Force doesn’t get people’s tits in a wringer, so what’s wrong with Border Force?

  34. candy

    Love it. It’s going to make Sarah Sea-Patrol’s head explode.

    Oh, I don’t know. Australian Border Force sounds like an exciting TV show. Great name! Maybe we can see some other departments amalgamated and get some more exciting titles.

  35. Robbo

    Hmmm. Leading your criticism is an objection to the name of the new body. Are you being serious, or just criticising for the sake of criticising?

  36. Perpetual Motion

    Borders Australia sounds like a bookshop.

  37. candy

    Borders Australia – more like a horticultural / gardening shop.

  38. MemoryVault

    Oh, I don’t know. Australian Border Force sounds like an exciting TV show. Great name! Maybe we can see some other departments amalgamated and get some more exciting titles.

    ATO + Communications = Tax and Fax Follies
    Centrelink + Primary Industry = The You Breed Em We Feed Em Show

  39. Combine_Dave

    Scott Morrison for Supreme Ruler?

    I’d settle for Morrison being made the next Prime Minister. Nay! The next President of Australia.

    As Hockey is doing such a god awful job, he can take on the Treasurer role as well and forcibly make the cuts that are needed to get our budget back into the black.

    Maybe those orange life boats could be used ship dole bludgers (and other assorted moochers), pedos, corrupt unionists and abc “journalists” off to Indonesia along with the people smugglers?

  40. .

    Bugger the name, I’m interested in cuts, cuts, cuts!

    Anymore suggestions on how to cut, cut, cut?

  41. Andrew

    Oh, I don’t know. Australian Border Force sounds like an exciting TV show.

    Big Border. Who Wants to Defend Our Borders? Modern Borders. Big Border Theory. Sea Patrol. (Oh wait, that last one has been done.)

  42. Gab

    Anymore suggestions on how to cut, cut, cut?

    Have we cut all funding to various arts/literature grants, programs and departments? If not then there’s no budget emergency.

  43. Baldrick

    Don’t worry. As soon as Labor and the Greens get back in they’ll change the name to Islamic Pathway’s Agency.

  44. .

    Quite true Gab,

    I can’t see why the following hasn’t already been done.

    Above I proposed rationalisation of customs, quarantine, immigration and a hypothetical coast guard into the AFP and ADF.

    This questions why we can’t rationalise the Sherriff and Corrective services with the police. Have them secondable to the AFP. Allow local government to run them, but only up to a certain of level of command – say a small shire might get a Chief Inspector – in the NSWPF/AFP on secondment he’d be a Chief Inspector/Federal Agent, Coordinator. The Police chief of say Wollongong could be a asst. comm if seconded to the state and a asst comm/natl manager in the AFP.

    If a city is wealthy, it makes no sense to redistribute the wealth to a capital and then get it back in services. It need not be a one size fits all solution, it might be too expensive in some cases.

    Cut, cut, cut.

  45. wreckage

    Well, I’m HOPING that this is a smokescreen for bureaucracy evisceration. They hit the nail on the head with their marketing though; I hope to see the ALP/Greens campaign strongly against it.

    And I am far happier with a Minister being very much tied to any given bureaucratic beast; let those fuckers roam free and they get severely bloated and overly aggressive. (Yes, I mean both.)

  46. .

    The advantage of cutting agencies would be mostly in cutting the ‘E-Team’ from each.

    Why not one police commish in NSW, who also is the sherriff and commissioner, corrective services.

    There are EL and SES band equivalents in each “team”. FFS.

    I’m a Federalist, but empire building is not productive and drains the budget every year.

  47. Boambee John

    “Borders Australia – vague and says nothing.”

    Sounds like a (now defunct) bookshop.

  48. Walter Plinge

    “Force” is fine with me. If it gets the luvvies’ panties in a twist*, so much the better. We should have police forces too, not police services.

    If it was up to Sarah Hyphen and her merry band of fellow travellers we’d have “Defence Services”: marginally effective at natural disaster assistance but not much else.

    I checked Vicpol ‘s website to check if it refers to itself as a ‘force’. It doesn’t. It seems it’s service delivery organisation, like Births, Deaths & Marriages or the CFA. The plan is, heaven help us, –

    Effective Police Service Delivery;
    Improving Community Safety;
    Working with Our Stakeholders;
    Achieving through Our People; and
    Developing Our Business

    Just the usual public service-speak bland nothingness. Those wishes could be applied to any public service department. They are generic and meaningless.

  49. James B

    Oh great. More big government from these fucking fools.

    I wonder who comes up with this shit.

  50. Mk50 of Brisbane, Henchman to the VRWC

    This one’s part of the deregulation agenda. Ports and airports have several overlapping jurisdictions and Acts under which Quarantine (whatever they are called this week) Customs and Immigration operate.

    The idea is that first you merge the agencies and lower staff numbers where you can (mostly in Canberra), then you merge the functions at the airports to reduce costs to business and prevent duplication of function. There won’t be much manpower saving there as (you guessed it) their Canberra HQ’s already gutted the field operators (under the ALP-filth coalition) last year.

    This will mean the field guys can work more efficiently, though.

    Last rumour I heard was that the biggest chunk within Immigration (the Visa section) will be hived off this new agency, but it’s only a rumour.

    The guys in the field are apparently fairly OK with the idea of the merger.

  51. Steve of Glasshouse

    Look on the bright side. If the ABF follows the TSA model, we have ready made employment opportunities for NDIS IQ deficient recipients

  52. gabrianga

    May the force be with you not just another Immigrant Support Unit for the rent seekers.

  53. .

    Who gets the job to molest pensioners and cute Swedish girls?

    We won’t have our own TSA without egregious sexual harassment, invasion of privacy and low level sexual assault.

  54. Mk50 of Brisbane, Henchman to the VRWC

    It won’t follow the TSA model!

    That was ‘bring together a lot of agencies, bury them in money, hire as many people again and add three more layers of management in Washington to create a vast new bureacracy’ material.

    Howard deliberately avoided that model and for good reason.

    From what I am hearing this is designed to cut costs to the taxpayer while improving outcomes for the airline business and keeping the current offshore border control operations on tempo while making them permanent and routine.

  55. .

    What are your feelings about the US DHS?

    I think it is a complete fuck up.

    The British MI-1 – MI-6 system is many times better. They integrate their Police at a certain level or only have a few agencies – whilst not an argument against Federalism, there is local and state enforcement, then the US Marshals, Secret Service, FBI, CIA, DHS, Capitol Police, Park Police, US Park Rangers, DIA…DEA, eahc branch of military police, FBI Police, State Department Police (& Federal agents…), IRS, BATF…

  56. Steve of Glasshouse

    I love the cognitive dissonance that the yanks go through with TSA. Break out the KY and bend over whilst the southern borders leak like a sieve..

  57. .

    …I forgot the TSA…does that include the Sky Marshals or not?

  58. .

    Will this organisation have any “border troops” or “border police”?

  59. Steve of Glasshouse

    Dot..I did mention KY. Air Marshals..flight crew..you know it makes sense

  60. .

    Well, in context of this next comment In will quote:

    If anything, borders will be every more insecure in the coming years, as these mass movements of people across international borders continues. Dollars well spent.

    I fear for our new Australians and tourists.

  61. biosecurity challenges are hard to value

    John Constantine, are you deliberately challenging Sinclair Davidson? Who has somewhat of a record of posting things such as “all quarantine effort is a waste of money” (paraphrased).
    He has a “you’ll have to get competitive and get over it” if you catch Indonesian wheat rust or something, you can’t expect the taxpayer to subsidise your financial protection.

    I’m in the camp that were he to catch Drug-Resisitant Tuberculosis (another name would be “incurable TB”) that he’d just have to “get over it” and not expect his “health choices” to be subsidised by the taxpayer.

  62. .

    “all quarantine effort is a waste of money”

    Pretty much.

    I’m in the camp that were he to catch Drug-Resisitant Tuberculosis (another name would be “incurable TB”) that he’d just have to “get over it” and not expect his “health choices” to be subsidised by the taxpayer.

    Pfft…we already subsidise MRSA in public hospitals.

  63. Steve of Glasshouse

    SATP..I have this feeling in my bones that the Mid East will have a nuclear exchange within 5 years or so.
    We’d better have some solid plans in place to deal with the refugees that that will create..
    JMHO

  64. Mk50 of Brisbane, Henchman to the VRWC

    Dot:

    What are your feelings about the US DHS?

    I have seen the terms bloated, over-expensive, underperforming, poorly managed etc, and also heard that some parts of it work pretty well where they retain some inedpendence from the monster.

    I think that’s typical of the way the Americans create these enormous new structures.

    I don’t think generalisation’s really possible with something as big as the US DHS. Generally, the really big American Federal bureaucracies are awful, far, far worse than anything here, and far more wasteful by any measure.

  65. Steve of Glasshouse

    Dot,,NDM – 1 and MERS . When is the haji in Mecca?

  66. Billy the Kidder

    No, the use of the word “Force” will not cause enough leftist-head carnage. I think it should be “Battalion”, and subsume them into the ADF as a 4th service.

  67. Leo G

    Some relevant cost cutting should eliminate the most significant obstruction to the new agency being named the Australian Border Corps.
    A feel-good name- even reflecting on the acronym leaves a taste as sweet as revenge.

  68. Pyrmonter

    Sinc’s right. And the name sounds like a commercial television action-soap drama.

  69. Adrian

    The Royal Australian Border Force sounds even better. Haha!

  70. Big Jim

    Sounds redundant. Will cost more before it saves a cent. If not quickly and ruthlessly executed, the end result will be one more bureaucracy.

    And to be more contentious, ABF…. Hmmm sounds like ADF. But the Australian Defence Force is not there to defend Australia’s borders. What was I thinking. The ADF has bigger fish to fry abroad: Afghanistan, Nigerian schoolgirls, and all.

  71. One thing I don’t mind about this is that it’s a one-for-one deal – one agency comes in, another goes out.

    As far as answering to a Minister is concerned, I thought that was a cornerstone of a Westminster democracy, that sooner or later everything answered to an elected official. This is where the United States has gone so terribly wrong – their equivalent of Cabinet is appointed from people who for the most part have never faced the voters.

    If Morrison ferks this up, he risks losing his job at the hands of his electorate, and there’s nothing he can do to stop that short of establishing a dictatorship which would ultimately get him lynched anyway. That’s the inherent protection built into the system.

    The major problem with the TSA is the people who have been hired to run and staff it – I’ve heard them described as overpowered mall cops. They should have been soldiers. That may have been W’s mistake, but Obama has done absolutely nothing to correct it and has arguably made it much worse.

  72. Anne

    Overall this looks like an empire building exercise.

    Mr Abbott has been eyeing the prize of the Prime Ministership for thirty years.

    Do you think he never dreamed of what he might build once he got there.

    …can’t separate the man from the job….sigh.

  73. Tel

    Howard deliberately avoided that model and for good reason.

    From what I am hearing this is designed to cut costs to the taxpayer while improving outcomes for the airline business and keeping the current offshore border control operations on tempo while making them permanent and routine.

    I really hope you are right on that.

    I do believe that one job for the federal government is to defend the borders, and I also think there’s a lot that could be improved from where we are right now. I’m just bloody cynical after the sort of crap that the US has gone through with militarised police, and ask yourself when was the last time you saw an Australian policeman wearing tidy non-military uniform (i.e. not bovver boots, not overalls, not cargo pants, nothing that says “action man”) ?

  74. Pyrmonter

    Tel – try the states other than NSW. NSW however dresses its cops as second rate bouncers, with predictable consequences.

  75. .

    LOL @ Pyrmonter. Bloody true. It engenders unprofessional conduct and a lakc of respect from the public.

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