Did Operation Fortitude damage APS department’s employer credibility?

by Chloe Taylor03 Sep 2015
The Australian Border Force (ABF) is currently recruiting, but public outrage over its recent operation in Melbourne has thrown a spanner in the works.

Last week, protesters gathered in Melbourne to object against the ABF’s planned ‘Operation Fortitude’, a joint operation with Victoria Police which would have involved randomly stopping people for visa checks.

The operation was subsequently called off.

According to Fairfax Media, the ABF is currently looking for 150 new recruits, all of whom must undergo “Use of Force training” and be willing to “use personal defence equipment, including a firearm”.

It is reported that just 860 have applied for the position so far – a far cry from oversubscribed public service recruitment drives seen in recent months.

The $42,865 salary being offered up has been criticised online as “disgustingly low”, Fairfax reported, with some social media users questioning the ABF’s employer status following last week’s events in Melbourne.

The ABF came into being in July, after the Department of Immigration and Border Protection and the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service were integrated into a new Department.

According to media reports, the ABF intends to increase its workforce to around 6000 employees.

New recruits will be trained at an ABF college in Sydney or Canberra, and will be required to take an oath to the agency involving the maintenance of the “good reputation of the Australian Border Force”.

Successful applicants will also have to undergo fitness tests, which reportedly measure candidates’ “flexibility, agility, strength, balance, coordination, power, speed and endurance”.

After last week’s protests, Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson said that the “increasing paramilitarisation of wandering bureaucrats” would ultimately lead the “unskilled and untrained to overstep the mark and risk infringing our civil liberties”.

A spokeswoman for the department told Fairfax that all ABF training was “consistent with legislation and international best practice”.

“Only officers certified in appropriate [use of force] training can deploy with personal defensive equipment which includes a firearm.”

The ABF’s application process is open until September 6.
 
 
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COMMENTS

  • by Keith 3/09/2015 11:41:12 AM

    Abbot and co have overstepped the mark and are trying to create an unnecessary fear in the community. This farce has only gone to show how inept the government is in this field.
    Ask any young person and they are appalled

  • by Dave 3/09/2015 12:03:11 PM

    Establishing such a workforce, with low salaries and a focus on physical activity rather than ability to gather and analyse intelligence, looks more likely to create a force of thugs rather than skilled professionals. The AFP and State Police Forces must be very nervous that they may be required to work with such a group.

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