On September 18, 2013, just 11 days after securing victory in the federal election, the new Coalition Government implemented one of the key policies of its election campaign, Operation Sovereign Borders (OSB)."Stop the boats" was one of the Coalition's mantras when in Opposition. Once in government, its political promises transformed into policy.Six months on, the Government says it is making "massive progress" in stopping the boats and having a "devastating" impact on people smugglers, with no successful people-smuggling ventures to Australia since December last year.Critics, including the ALP, say that in implementing Sovereign Borders the Government has fostered a culture of secrecy and strained Australia's relations with Indonesia, while human rights groups say it has continued the "inhuman" treatment of asylum seekers in offshore processing centres.ABC News Online documents the first six months of Operation Sovereign Borders, exploring the structure and events that have characterised the operation.
Three-star Lieutenant General Angus Campbell has been seconded to Immigration to oversee the Operation Sovereign Borders Joint Agency Task Force, which is officially defined as a "military-led border security operation supported and assisted by a wide range of federal government agencies".Before last year's federal election, the Coalition was critical of the Labor government, saying the organisational structure around Australia's border protection regime was disjointed and caused confusion.
OSB: THE STRUCTURE
The Operation Sovereign Borders Joint Agency Task Force coordinates 16 agencies involved in border protection. View the operational structure.
It promised a unified command structure - and subsequently appointed General Campbell to run the joint task force that coordinates the efforts of more than a dozen agencies still involved in border protection.Confirming precise details of what is occurring on Australia's northern maritime approaches is...