Publication Details

Bateman, S. (2013). Should operations to turn the boats around be kept secret?. The Conversation, (27 September)

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The Conversation


Acting opposition leader Chris Bowen said in a doorstop interview earlier this week that:

There is absolutely no operational reason for the new minister of immigration not to be up front with the Australian people when a boat arrives and when a turn-back is attempted.

Unfortunately, this statement is not correct. Operation Sovereign Borders, a key plank of the Abbott government’s policy to stop asylum seeker arrivals by boat, is a military-led activity and there are operational reasons for information related to stopping the boats not being made public.

These relate to the modus operandi of the Special Forces (SF) in boarding refugee boats and using force as necessary to turn them around. However, these operational reasons are outweighed by other considerations.