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                    [post_content] =>  



The Australian Border Force (ABF) has identified a number of labour hire intermediaries sourcing illegal labour and sending money derived from this exploitation overseas.

Following an Australia-wide operation codenamed Bonasus, more than 225 people working in breach of their visa conditions were also located during the operation. Video footage of the operation can be viewed here.

ABF officers inspected 48 properties, including businesses and residential premises, as part of the operation targeting organised visa fraud, illegal work and the exploitation of foreign nationals.

The illegal workers were from Malaysia, Indonesia, China, Vietnam Tunisia, Pakistan and Bangladesh. They were located working in industries ranging from agriculture to retail and hospitality.

In addition, more than 300 individuals were refused entry into Australia as part of the operation.

ABF Commander Field and Removal Operations Robyn Miller said the operation should act as a warning to both employers of illegal workers and non-citizens who are, or are intending to, work illegally in Australia.

"The facilitation of, and engagement in, illegal work can have lasting negative impact on Australian communities and individuals," Commander Miller said.

"This includes significant underpayment and substandard living conditions for foreign workers, and reputational damage for rural and metropolitan industry sectors.

"Small and medium businesses are also disadvantaged due to the unfair competitive advantage gained by those who do not adhere to the law."

Investigations into these labour hire intermediaries are continuing. Penalties for businesses organising illegal work range up to ten years imprisonment and/or fines of up to $210,000.

Individuals caught working illegally may be detained and removed. Individuals also face being banned from re-entering Australia for three years and may be liable for the costs of their removal.

A majority of the unlawful non-citizens and foreign nationals caught working illegally have been removed to their country of origin. A small number of the group are assisting the Department of Immigration and Border Protection to resolve their immigration status.

Anyone who is aware of an individual, business or employer who may be facilitating visa fraud or illegal work is urged to contact Border Watch on 1800 009 623 or visit www.border.gov.au/report. Information can be provided anonymously.
State/Territory Number of warrants Illegal workers located Locations
Victoria/Tasmania 14 More than 50 Warrants occurred in metropolitan Melbourne, Mildura, Shepparton, and Sunbury.
NSW/ACT 16 More than 110 Warrants occurred in metropolitan Sydney, Coffs Harbour, Mittagong and Griffith.
Queensland 4 More than 25 Warrants occurred in metropolitan Brisbane, Bundaberg and Mareeba.
Western Australia 12 Almost 40 Warrants occurred in metropolitan Perth.
South Australia/Northern Territory 2 Fewer than 5 Warrants occurred in Golden Heights and Whyalla Stuart.   
Total 48 More than 225  
The Department does not report on cohorts fewer than five for privacy reasons.   [post_title] => Customs targets employers of illegal workers [post_excerpt] => ABF officers have inspected businesses and residential premises targeting organised visa fraud and illegal work. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => customs-targets-employers-illegal-workers [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-21 13:31:17 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-21 03:31:17 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27867 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [1] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27743 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-02 14:33:30 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-02 04:33:30 [post_content] => Andrew Hudson The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Peter Dutton used his opening address at the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIPB) Industry Summit on Monday morning (31 July 2017) to assure those in the private supply chain and their clients that the current work agenda would be maintained under the proposed Home Affairs department. Along with the Acting Commissioner of the Australian Border Force (ABF), Minister Dutton reiterated that the ABF would continue in its traditional ‘Customs’ role and the ABF, as part of the DIBP, would also continue its vital engagement with industry and development of trade facilitation measures to assist in the legitimate trade in goods and movement in people. At the time of the announcement of the creation of the new Department of Home Affairs (DHA), the focus of the commentary was on national and border security issues with no comment on the traditional ‘Customs’ role of the ABF or its ongoing engagement with industry and the facilitation of international trade at the border. Naturally, there were some concerns that the failure to address these important roles could mean that the importance of those roles was being downgraded and that momentum on various initiatives here and overseas could be lost with an increased focus on security and intervention in trade. Both speakers made the point that the involvement of the ABF with the DHA would allow the ABF to have access to additional information at an earlier stage than is presently the case, which would actually enhance the ability of the ABF to carry out its roles. These outcomes were all consistent with the theme of the industry summit being “Border Innovation: strengthening our nation’s economy, security and society.” In terms of the work of the DIBP and the ABF in the engagement with industry in relation to the movement of goods, there was reference to recent achievements and future commitments with such initiatives as:
  • The creation of a ‘single window’ for trade such as in Singapore and New Zealand.
  • The expansion of the Australian Trusted Trader Program (ATTP).
  • The recent completion of four Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRA) with other customs services for those in the ATTP.
  • The promise of more MRA with customs services in other trading partners.
  • The development and implementation of Free Trade Agreements (FTA) to improve the use of those current and future FTAs by the adoption of robust Rules of Origin, enhanced border clearance facilitation.
  • The increased use of more advance technology and reporting systems.
There were similar references to commitments in the migration space as relating to the movement of persons. The comments provide a degree of assurance to industry that the current work agenda would be maintained and developed and that the engagement with industry remained a priority. While the reference to the achievements and initiative represents only a reiteration of those developments currently known to industry, their clear support from the Federal Government filled in a gap in the story that arose with the announcements relating to the DHA. Industry looks forward to continued engagement on these projects and its ongoing collaborative work with government, whether the DIBP, the ABF or other agencies that have a role at the border. Andrew Hudson is Partner with Rigby Cooke Lawyers’ Litigation Team, specialising in all areas of trade including international trade conventions, dispute resolution and arbitration, trade financing options, commodity and freight contracts as well as dealing with regulation of the movement of goods at the border by all Government agencies. He is also a member of many of the consultative bodies established by Government in the trade space, including the National Committee on Trade Facilitation convened by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection and the International Trade Remedies Forum convened by the Anti - Dumping Commission (ADC) as well as associated sub-committees. He is also a member of the board of directors of the Export Council of Australia (ECA) and the Food and Beverage Importers Association (FBIA) and works closely with other industry associations representing those in the supply chain. [post_title] => When all things change, Customs stays the same [post_excerpt] => Minister Dutton has assured those in the supply chain that the current work agenda would be maintained under the Home Affairs department. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => things-change-customs-stays [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-02 14:36:06 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-02 04:36:06 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27743 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 25340 [post_author] => 658 [post_date] => 2016-10-21 11:41:22 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-10-21 00:41:22 [post_content] => mdma molly crystal powder   By Charles Pauka Australia’s largest drug haul this year has resulted in more than a tonne of crystal MDMA withheld from entering the community and two men facing life behind bars after an Australian Federal Police (AFP) operation in Sydney in the past 48 hours. Two Polish nationals, aged 28 and 29, will face Parramatta Local Court today (Saturday, 15 October 2016) charged with serious drug importation offences following the seizure of 1.2 tonnes of crystal MDMA (ecstasy), which has an estimated street value of $145 million. The investigation commenced on Wednesday, 12 October 2016, as a result of intelligence received and working collaboratively with the Australian Border Force. On Thursday night (13 October 2016), the AFP executed a search warrant on a storage facility at Hornsby, NSW, where police located a consignment of aluminium rollers that had arrived in Sydney from Europe on Monday, 15 August 2016. Read more here. This story first appeared in Transport and Logistics News. [post_title] => Customs, AFP seize more than a tonne of MDMA valued at $145 million [post_excerpt] => Two men face life in prison. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 25340 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-11-11 10:14:04 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-11-10 23:14:04 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=25340 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 23534 [post_author] => 671 [post_date] => 2016-04-06 15:37:00 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-04-06 05:37:00 [post_content] => Cathay Pacific skyline   The industrial row hitting travellers at Australian airports has escalated further after the Community and Public Sector Union accused the nation’s biosecurity authorities of standing down quarantine staff for a whole day for imposing two hour go-slow tactics that force far more passengers to be screened than usual. The CPSU claims that the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR) has threatened that it will dock biosecurity staff a whole day’s pay for imposing so-called ‘overscreening bans’ that result in potentially long delays as officers check almost every incoming passenger rather than a selected sample and those looking suspicious. The stand downs are an all-or-nothing gamble for the government because stood down workers not being paid could potentially just walk off the job rather than confining their actions to a go-slow. A spokesperson for DAWR told Government News that "high employee participation in rolling partial work bans and the extended period of coverage of this action has the potential to adversely impact biosecurity outcomes, given the limited capacity of the department to inspect a significantly increased number of passengers referred for intervention." "The department gave notice on 31 March that any staff participating in partial work bans would not be entitled to payment on the day of this action," the DAWR spokesperson said, adding that the decison "is consistent with definitions and provisions under s471(4)(c) of the Fair Work Act 2009." The anticipated bans and the airports they hit are listed on the DAWR website. The latest airport turbulence follows separate action by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection to try and halt airport strikes by Border Force officers on the grounds they could potentially impact national security. On Monday the CPSU won a tactical victory in the airports dispute with DIPB after it successfully sought more time from the Fair Work Commission to put together its case to fight a three month suspension of industrial action in the interests of national security. The move by Immigration and Border Protection to seek a restraint on the industrial action using national security as a trigger represents a new low in the two-year long dispute as employers effectively accuse officers of being prepared to endanger public safety to secure a pay outcome. The CPSU has argued that a range of national security exemptions already apply to any protected industrial action it takes to prevent security lapses, a position government negotiators won’t accept. The fresh crackdown on DAWR on bans by frontline airport biosecurity officers has been received by the CPSU as deliberate escalation by the government to try and financially punish staff taking action with effective penalties that are far higher than the value of the labour withdrawn. Even so, the CPSU has told its members to hold-off imposing the bans “while the situation is assessed.” “The Agriculture Department is falsely claiming the industrial action has the potential to compromise quarantine and biosecurity at airports, despite the fact the bans involve screening more incoming passengers than normal and intercepting more prohibited items,” the CPSU said in a statement. “The decision has added further insult to injury for CPSU members, as the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) continue to antagonise and mistreat staff, while the Government sits back and does nothing to find a fair resolution to the two-year fight over rights, conditions and real wages.” Meanwhile, the wider public service dispute is threatening to spill over into the anticipated federal election campaign, with the Australian Public Service Commission yet to tell departments and agencies whether or not they can finalise enterprise agreements during the caretaker period. [post_title] => Biosecurity stand downs threaten even longer airport delays [post_excerpt] => Two hour go-slow hit with full day pay penalty [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => biosecurity-stand-downs-threaten-new-and-long-airport-delays [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-04-06 17:22:50 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-04-06 07:22:50 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=23534 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 23517 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2016-04-05 09:20:24 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-04-04 23:20:24 [post_content] => ABF4   The main public service union has accused the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) of “massively overstating” a national security threat from foreign fighters, sex offenders and drug traffickers to prevent its staff from striking until July 2. The Fair Work Commission issued an interim order yesterday (Monday) to suspend all protected industrial action (PIA) by union members of the DIBP, including the Australian Border Force (ABF), at airports and ports after the Department argued it posed a risk to national security. The DIBP said: “There is real risk that over time the industrial action will affect the capacity of the Australian Border Force (ABF) to protect Australia’s border, increasing the likelihood of drug traffickers, child sex offenders, other criminals and persons who are national security risks (such as returning foreign fighters), or harmful and illicit goods in cargo, getting into the country undetected. “These risks, plus the rapidly diminishing ability of the ABF to plug the gaps caused by this round of industrial action, are of immediate concern to the ABF Commissioner, who had no sensible alternative but to legally seek a halt to the action being taken.” But Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) Secretary Nadine Flood said she had proof that the Department was hamming it up to stymie the strikes, which have been intermittent for the last 10 months and are in response to two years of failed negotiations under the public sector bargaining process. Ms Flood said a document sent by the DIBP to senior staff but not made public, backed up the Union’s claim. The DIBP document said: “It is well understood, from the Prime Minister down, that national security is not under threat at airports. “While airports are generally targets for a terrorist attack because they, like all transit hubs, are places of mass gathering, we think that PIA in its current form does not make airports a more attractive target for an attack like the one recently occurring in Brussels.” The Union had already agreed to postpone industrial action at Australia’s airports over the Easter long weekend after a direct appeal from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, following the Brussels terrorist attacks, which included bombs at Zaventem Airport. Ms Flood said the strike action had always exempted officers involved with counter-terrorism and security. “Our members working in Immigration and Border Force never have and never will act in any way that would compromise national security. “We are fighting this case because the Department’s demand to suspend all industrial action is unreasonable and this disadvantages these workers significantly, when there is not in fact the risk to national security they are suggesting.” Ms Flood also attacked the Fair Work Commission process, saying the Department had been “incredibly secret” about its reasons for seeking the suspension of industrial action, seeking orders to suppress evidence and binding the union to secrecy. Hearings took place on Friday night, Saturday and Sunday. But the DIBP hit back, insisting that it had “not sought to capriciously remove the right of employees to participate in PIA." “However the current action poses an unacceptable risk to the community and this is why we have sought suspension. We have not taken this decision lightly and are committed to bargaining in good faith – within the parameters of the Government’s bargaining policy – to achieve the best possible outcome for our workforce.” The FWC approved the Union's application to delay the final hearing  – which was scheduled today (Tuesday) – until Thursday this week, to give it more time to assess whether the DIBP’s reasons to oppose industrial action were genuine and sufficiently evidence-based. The strikes are in response to the glacially slow process to get public sector enterprise bargaining agreements signed. The row over pay and conditions remains intense and the Union has estimated that around 80 per cent of Commonwealth public servants or about 120,000 people are still without an agreement after almost two years.   [post_title] => Border Force plays national security card to arrest airport strikes [post_excerpt] => Union fights strike suspension at Fair Work Commission. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => national-security-threat-exaggerated-to-halt-airport-strikes-until-july [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-04-07 22:52:05 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-04-07 12:52:05 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=23517 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 21199 [post_author] => 673 [post_date] => 2015-08-31 15:09:24 [post_date_gmt] => 2015-08-31 05:09:24 [post_content] => ABF Australian Border Force officials fear the federal government has made them  political pawns and targets for violence in the wake of public hysteria surrounding a planned stop and search visa operation in Melbourne last weekend, says the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU). The aborted and widely reported Operation Fortitude exercise in Melbourne has attracted criticism from many quarters. The protestors who took to the streets led to the operation being cancelled, and recriminations continue over who was responsible for what is widely seen to be a major error of judgement by the newly created Australian Border Force (ABF). It may also add to simmering tensions between staff and management within the ABF. The Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU), the union representing ABF workers, issued a statement welcoming the news that Operation Fortitude was cancelled, and criticising the Government for ‘politicising’ ABF staff. “The union has been contacted by ABF members who raised concerns their safety would have been compromised by the publicity surrounding this operation,” said CPSU National Secretary Nadine Flood. “Some members are deeply concerned about the way their work has been politicised, raising safety concerns about the public reaction. “While the ABF, as the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, has been involved in these types of operations before, they have never been publicised in this way. Our members were deeply concerned at the suggestion they would be stopping all people on the street, which is not how their work has been done in the past.” The ABF only came into being on 1 July 2015, formed from the merger of the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service and the enforcement areas of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. The words ‘border protection’ were added to the name of the Australian Customs Service by the Rudd Labor Government in 2009, and to the Department of Immigration by the Abbott Coalition Government in 2013. ABF head Roman Quaedvlieg has subsequently said that the original Operation Fortitude press release which warned that ABF officers would stop people at random (“anyone who crosses our path”) was “clumsily worded” and only “cleared at a low level in the organisation.” Prior knowledge of the intended operation has been denied by the Minister for Immigration, Peter Dutton, despite the press release twice being sent to his office before the planned operation. “ABF staff do important work stopping drug importation and targeting organised crime and terrorism,” said Flood. “Making them a public target through this sort of hysteria is completely unacceptable. “This high-profile approach has come as a major shock for ABF staff. Their work is challenging under most circumstances but this adds another and unnecessary layer of difficulty to an already taxing task. We are calling on the Federal Government to stop cynically exploiting the work of the Australian Border Force for its own political ends, potentially putting these officers at risk.” There is no suggestion of industrial action over the matter but it is unlikely to improve relations between management and staff unhappy at the ABF being turned into a paramilitary organisation. The union says ABF staff are frequently instructed not to wear their uniforms in public due to safety concerns. The CPSU has called ABF staff out on strike once already in the two months since it was formed. In early August industrial action over pay and conditions caused disruption at airports around Australia. The creation of a military style Border Force, with black uniforms and armed officers, has been criticised by civil libertarians, the Australian Greens, and many others. “It is inconsistent with democratic principles to establish an armed border paramilitary agency subject to political whim and lacking effective independent oversight,” says the Council of Civil Liberties. The legislation establishing the ABF was passed in May 2015 with the support of the Labor Opposition. [post_title] => Border Force union criticises ‘politicisation’ of staff [post_excerpt] => CPSU unhappy with Operation Fortitude [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => border-force-union-criticises-politicisation-of-staff [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2015-09-04 09:37:51 [post_modified_gmt] => 2015-09-03 23:37:51 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=21199 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [6] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 20818 [post_author] => 671 [post_date] => 2015-07-30 10:36:08 [post_date_gmt] => 2015-07-30 00:36:08 [post_content] => BNE Departure Board   Airports across Australia are bracing for long  delays on Monday 3rd August after the nation’s main public service union warned members at key agencies including Immigration and Border Protection will again walk-off the job amid an escalating industrial row with the Abbott government. The authorised rolling four hour strikes by the Community and Public Sector Union will hit international airports for the second time in just over a month as the fallout from stalled negotiations spreads across key government transport infrastructure. The show of force by the CPSU comes as the union continues to accuse the government of trying to deliberately force down take-home pay for many public servants, especially those who were formerly with Customs, by around $8000 a year by removing longstanding allowances and entitlements. The intensity of staff anger over pay and conditions – which are now in bargaining – stands in sharp relief to the prominent role the new Australian Border Force and Immigration authorities have in applying the government’s  get tough policies on people arriving in or near Australia illegally. The CPSU is once again capitalising on the high standing which the Abbott government places on frontline staff. “Public sector workers on our borders undertake important, difficult and sometimes dangerous jobs on behalf of our community. They deserve better than the Abbott Government’s attack on their rights, conditions and take home pay.” However the union stressed that any of its members “who have essential national security, counter-terrorism and specialist biosecurity hazard roles in DIBP and the Department of Agriculture will be exempt from taking action.” Meanwhile, the CPSU has also mounted a massive leafleting campaign, distributing more than a million flyers at key public contact points to spread its message. There is also understood to be growing disquiet and unease in part of the Coalition over the government’s tactical approach to public service pay bargaining now that the row has dragged on for more than a year with the biggest agencies still holding out. A major frustration is that an opportunity to deplete union ranks of members through apathy, attrition by striking low wage growth deals has been squandered by more ambitious bids to dial back enterprise agreement deal to as close to zero as possible. One risk for the government is that efforts to play hardball and string-out talks could backfire if Australia’s stubbornly low economic growth and inflation rate pick up. A major part of the justification for many of the offers now on the table has been that inflation has and will remain low and that bigger pay increases cannot be justified. Employment and Public Service Minister Senator Eric Abetz remains a key target for the CPSU who are now labelling him as a major irritant in negotiations. Ms Flood said the more Mr Abetz talked about excessive pay claims  “the angrier these workers get.” “They are facing massive cuts to their current pay packets but the Minister won't even meet and discuss this dispute with their union,” Ms Flood said. However Senator Abetz said that it was counterproductive for the CPSU  to organise industrial action "in support of its claim for a 12 per cent pay rise which is utterly unrealistic and would cost the jobs of 10,000 public servants.” "The Public Service and the Australian people understand the difficult financial circumstances that we face as a nation and therefore the offers that are on the table are reasonable in all the circumstances," Senator Abetz said. "We are in a very low inflationary environment and I'd encourage the CPSU to take a more responsible stance.” [post_title] => Australian airports to be hit by mass strikes Monday [post_excerpt] => Immigration and Border Protection to walk off job. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => australian-airports-to-be-hit-by-mass-strikes-monday [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2015-07-30 21:51:43 [post_modified_gmt] => 2015-07-30 11:51:43 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=20818 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 1 [filter] => raw ) [7] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 20359 [post_author] => 671 [post_date] => 2015-06-29 21:11:24 [post_date_gmt] => 2015-06-29 11:11:24 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_20360" align="alignnone" width="300"]493a9a3b-f14f-4c50-bf9a-8ceb50f7ee2b-450x310 Pic: Border Protection Command[/caption]   Happy financial new year? Not likely if you’re travelling mid-week. Major disruption at international airports is primed to mar the official ‘standing up’ of Australia’s latest public sector mega-merger, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection and its new frontline operational border agency, the Australian Border Force, on its very first day. Unionised staff at the new entity are continuing their preparations to go on strike on Wednesday 1st July as the Community and Public Sector Union ramps-up protected action across the public service to try and force the Abbott government’s hand pushing through deeply unpopular cuts to conditions and entitlements in many agencies. The union has warned that international airports to be affected by the two hour strikes include Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Cairns, Adelaide, Perth and Darwin. The confirmation of the latest industrial action comes despite a last minute back down by the government to provide assurances to Customs staff transitioning into Immigration and Border Protection that they will not be immediately left out of pocket to the tune of thousands of dollars a year because of the consolidation through changes to entitlements, allowances and conditions. “The Secretary of the Department issued a determination under section 24 of the Public Service Act 1999 on Friday that will provide transition payments and provisions equivalent to most current allowances from the 1st of July for Customs Officers who currently receive them,” the CPSU said in a bulletin to members. “The Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister has also issued a section 24 (3) determination preserving all Marine Unit conditions of employment post 1 July and until a new Departmental Enterprise Agreement is reached.” The continuation of the allowances until a new enterprise agreement is reached is a tactical victory for the CPSU which has managed to galvanise substantial new support within Customs to preserve longstanding conditions. “This immediately prevents Customs Officers from losing thousands of dollars in take home pay from 1 July. The Department and Government has held this over staff for months. This Determination makes a huge difference to members who were facing enormous financial hardship from 1 July,” the CPSU told its members. “Make no mistake, by standing together, joining our union in huge numbers and participating actively in industrial action, CPSU members in DIBP and ACBPS have achieved a significant win. But it’s only a temporary stay of execution,” the union said. The latest strike action is a serious headache for the government on two fronts. Firstly, the walk-off by those charged with defending the integrity of Australia’s borders comes at a time when government members are seeking to get maximum political mileage from border protection issues. Secondly, unlike previous lower impact CPSU action, the disruption at airports and sea ports is certain to register in the minds of affected travellers and businesses keen to avoid any industrial brawl at the nation’s entry and exit points. The CPSU’s National Secretary, Nadine Flood, wasn’t making any apologies for the disruptions saying striking staff were some of the worst affected under enterprise offers that had been resoundingly rejected. “Customs and Immigration officers are being hit particularly hard by the Abbott Government's bargaining policy which forces their agency to cut many of the allowances they rely on to make up their pay packet, Ms Flood said,” “Thousands of officers face losing $5000 to $8000 a year; while small groups of highly specialised officers stand to lose even more take home pay. We have Border Protection workers desperately worried about how they’ll pay their bills and that is appalling. “These men and women literally put their lives on the line to keep Australia safe." The Australian Customs and Border Protection Service is standing by its original advice to customers and travellers. Deputy chief executive for Border Operations, Michael Outram, said this month that arrangements were place “to protect Australia's borders and minimise the impact on business operations.” "While there will be some delays in services, we anticipate that contingency measures in place will keep interruptions to a minimum. The Portfolio regrets any inconvenience this industrial action may cause the public and industry," Mr Outram said. "During protected industrial action, the health and safety of our people and the protection of the border continue to be our priority." [post_title] => Strikes hit merged Immigration and Border Protection on first day [post_excerpt] => Unhappy financial new year. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => strikes-hit-merged-immigration-and-border-protection-on-first-day [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2015-06-29 23:06:19 [post_modified_gmt] => 2015-06-29 13:06:19 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=20359 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [8] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 17976 [post_author] => 671 [post_date] => 2015-02-03 10:19:41 [post_date_gmt] => 2015-02-02 23:19:41 [post_content] => This article first appeared in the August/September 2014 issue of Government News. Those responsible for upholding the safety of Australians in their roles as guardians of public and government security must now face the challenge that the most potent threats could be internal. Julian Bajkowski assesses what’s keeping the watchers awake at night. It takes a lot to get under the skin of the gently spoken chief of Australia’s domestic spy agency ASIO, David Irvine, but when you do, you’ll know about it. So it was in early August when the Director General of Security used the conclusion of a frank and practical speech to the Australian Institute of International Affairs to take a bite out of The Australian newspaper over a headline that proclaimed “We’ll fight Islam for 100 years”. As families in suburbs and towns across the nation are on a daily basis exposed to the nauseating horror of unfolding extremism in Iraq and Syria ‑ where some Australians are known to be active participants ‑ Irvine still level-headedly cautioned it’s not religion he and Australia’s security agencies are fighting, but terrorism. It’s not a popular stand, certainly not a populist one, when the nation’s spy chief takes on one of the media champions of the government of the day by publicly declaring he’s been “upset” by a headline. “Let me reiterate, we are not fighting Islam, in Australia or anywhere else. We are fighting the terrorism that kills innocent people, both Muslim and non-Muslim, as the actual text of the article went on to imply, belying the absurdity of the headline,” Irvine said. He’s similarly adamant Australians “should not let the phenomenon of violent Islamist extremism destroy the community harmony that is such an essential characteristic of Australia’s highly successful multi-cultural democracy. That is precisely what violent extremism and terrorism want to do.” For ASIO, that means building trust in communities where there is often an intense suspicion and loathing for law enforcement and a very strong perception of unfair police targeting and stereotyping. The stakes are doubly high because avoidable rips in the fragile social fabric of regions like South Western Sydney could potentially provide just the wrong kind negative inspiration that enhances the prospects for the recruitment of individuals prone to radicalisation. Irvine, who has headed ASIO for five years, certainly isn’t understating the threat. Although he says that only “a very small level of support amongst the fringe of the fringe of the Muslim community here in Australia” exists for the terrorist insurgency, the numbers of local recruits drawn to fighting overseas has never been seen before. “The number of Australians who have sought to take part in the Syria and Iraq conflicts, or have sought to support extremists fighting there, is unprecedented,” Irvine said. “We assess around 150 Australians have become involved with Islamist extremists in Syria and Iraq, either by travelling to the region, attempting to travel or supporting groups there from Australia. “This is not the first time we have seen involvement of Australians in overseas jihadist conflicts. But their number was much smaller and few were involved in the type and level of violence we are now seeing.” But the rise of home-grown terrorists doesn’t mean that previous insider threats ASIO and other security agencies have needed to counter have The Post-Snowden reality When Russian computer security entrepreneur Eugene Kaspersky took to the stage of Canberra’s National Press Club, he quipped that the volume of classified material let loose by the now fugitive National Security Agency contractor meant that the threat from Australian Wikileaks figurehead Julian Assange had pretty well sunk into insignificance. Although a comment intended for the media, it nonetheless visibly captured the attention of the dozens of government security officials filling the room to get a very candid take on the realpolitik of cyber diplomacy and strategy. Few doubt that sheer scale of exfiltration of material by Snowden will have ramifications for years to come. But what has created equal amounts of anger and fear is that just a single person, acting alone could compromise so much highly sensitive information. All of the Five-Eyes security agencies ( those in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States), have material reason to dread what secrets Snowden grabbed might leak out over coming months and years; not least because the lives of their staff are at risk and the security that operations depend on uncertain. In a key speech to the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington DC in April, Australia’s Attorney General and chief law officer, Senator George Brandis, didn’t mince words about the need for international intelligence gathering and sharing to continue, or the challenges that now lie ahead. “The more intelligence I read, the more conservative I become,” Brandis confessed. “The more deeply I come to comprehend the capacity of terrorists to evade surveillance, the more I want to be assured that where our agencies are constrained, the threat to civil liberty is real and not merely theoretical.” Noting that in Syria “Australians are taking up senior leadership roles in the conflict” Brandis, like Irvine, suggested that “the difference is the scale of the problem.” Singling out the Snowden incident as “profoundly damaging” Brandis said there was “massive damage” from the disclosures at two levels. The first was that the airing of “intelligence content” undermined the interest of Australia and its allies. But the second and even bigger problem was the revelation about intelligence collection capability that allowed targets to change their tactics to avoid detection. Referring to the problem of targets “going dark”, Brandis candidly admitted to “practical difficulties in obtaining information.” “People who pose national security threats are using disclosed information to update their methods and avoid detection by our agencies. Criminals similarly use the information to avoid detection and prosecution. Capability, which can be decades in development and expect to enjoy a significant operational life expectancy, may be potentially lost overnight,” he added. Moreover, restoring capability “after a set-back” was not simple or quick and came at “substantial cost.” “The harms of the Snowden disclosures will continue to be felt for an unpredictable time to come,” Brandis said. Clearly angry at the extent of potentially compromised capability and operations, Australia’s Attorney General set down a viscerally clear rejection of the notion that Snowdon’s actions were justified as whistleblowing. Pointing to a trifecta of thresholds set down by Princeton university academic Professor Rahul Sagar, Brandis said Snowdon had been shown to have failed to pass the test on all three critical measures:
  • First, a whistleblower must have clear and convincing evidence of abuse;
  • Second, releasing the information must not pose a disproportionate threat to public safety;
  • Third, the information leaked must be as limited in scope and scale as possible.
“Snowden is not a genuine whistleblower,” Brandis said, before hopping into both sides of politics. “Nor, despite the best efforts of some of the gullible self-loathing Left, or the anarcho-libertarian Right, to romanticise him, is he any kind of folk hero. He is a traitor. He is a traitor because, by a cold-blooded and calculated act, he attacked [the US] by significantly damaging its capacity to defend itself from its enemies, and in doing so, he put [its] citzen’s lives at risk. And, in the course of doing so, he also compromised the national security of America’s closest allies, including Australia’s. Hitting close to home If the threat of home-grown terrorism, insider compromises and corruption appears abstract, few could make the notion powerfully real as the head of what used to be the Australian Customs Service (since transferred into the Australian Border Force), Michael Pezzullo. In June 2014, a letter to Customs staff was issued, and subsequently published, that explained first-hand the governance arrangements surrounding actions against the Customs chief’s brother, Fabio Pezzullo, also employed by Customs, relating to charges against him in connection with an investigation by the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity. Put simply, the letter to staff spelled-out and cleared the air over what measures had been put in place to ensure there was no potential, perceived or real conflict of interest that may have occurred in relation to allegations and charges against the Customs chief’s brother, and his subsequent trial that resulted in a good behaviour bond. “For obvious reasons to do with preventing any conflict of interest, or perceived conflict of interest, I have been kept at arm's length from this matter, as chief operating officer before September 2012, as acting chief executive (September 2012 to February 2013) and as chief executive since February 2013,” Pezzullo is reported as having said in the letter. “Successive ministers have been briefed, and arrangements were put in place when I became chief executive to ensure that I was shielded from relevant information concerning the case and would not be placed in a position of having to make any decisions regarding former officer Pezzullo, should it have ever come to that.” What was not lost on many Customs officers was that it was Michael Pezzullo leading a big push to weed out corruption. “Situations such as this test our resilience and resolve, but this case also demonstrates that nothing is going to derail our efforts to clean out corruption and misconduct, and put in place the strongest standards, the best values and the toughest integrity regime in the public service,” Michael Pezzullo said in his letter. He said that “matters such as this come along in life as opportunities for the resilience and capacity of the human spirit to reveal itself” and that he was “strengthened not weakened” by the “support and humanity” of his colleagues. “The best course for us all now is to continue with the task that we have set ourselves.” [post_title] => The enemy within [post_excerpt] => The post-Snowden reality for surveillance agencies. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => the-enemy-within [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2015-02-06 11:03:18 [post_modified_gmt] => 2015-02-06 00:03:18 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=17976 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) ) [post_count] => 9 [current_post] => -1 [in_the_loop] => [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27867 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-21 11:45:30 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-21 01:45:30 [post_content] =>   The Australian Border Force (ABF) has identified a number of labour hire intermediaries sourcing illegal labour and sending money derived from this exploitation overseas. Following an Australia-wide operation codenamed Bonasus, more than 225 people working in breach of their visa conditions were also located during the operation. Video footage of the operation can be viewed here. ABF officers inspected 48 properties, including businesses and residential premises, as part of the operation targeting organised visa fraud, illegal work and the exploitation of foreign nationals. The illegal workers were from Malaysia, Indonesia, China, Vietnam Tunisia, Pakistan and Bangladesh. They were located working in industries ranging from agriculture to retail and hospitality. In addition, more than 300 individuals were refused entry into Australia as part of the operation. ABF Commander Field and Removal Operations Robyn Miller said the operation should act as a warning to both employers of illegal workers and non-citizens who are, or are intending to, work illegally in Australia. "The facilitation of, and engagement in, illegal work can have lasting negative impact on Australian communities and individuals," Commander Miller said. "This includes significant underpayment and substandard living conditions for foreign workers, and reputational damage for rural and metropolitan industry sectors. "Small and medium businesses are also disadvantaged due to the unfair competitive advantage gained by those who do not adhere to the law." Investigations into these labour hire intermediaries are continuing. Penalties for businesses organising illegal work range up to ten years imprisonment and/or fines of up to $210,000. Individuals caught working illegally may be detained and removed. Individuals also face being banned from re-entering Australia for three years and may be liable for the costs of their removal. A majority of the unlawful non-citizens and foreign nationals caught working illegally have been removed to their country of origin. A small number of the group are assisting the Department of Immigration and Border Protection to resolve their immigration status. Anyone who is aware of an individual, business or employer who may be facilitating visa fraud or illegal work is urged to contact Border Watch on 1800 009 623 or visit www.border.gov.au/report. Information can be provided anonymously.
State/Territory Number of warrants Illegal workers located Locations
Victoria/Tasmania 14 More than 50 Warrants occurred in metropolitan Melbourne, Mildura, Shepparton, and Sunbury.
NSW/ACT 16 More than 110 Warrants occurred in metropolitan Sydney, Coffs Harbour, Mittagong and Griffith.
Queensland 4 More than 25 Warrants occurred in metropolitan Brisbane, Bundaberg and Mareeba.
Western Australia 12 Almost 40 Warrants occurred in metropolitan Perth.
South Australia/Northern Territory 2 Fewer than 5 Warrants occurred in Golden Heights and Whyalla Stuart.   
Total 48 More than 225  
The Department does not report on cohorts fewer than five for privacy reasons.   [post_title] => Customs targets employers of illegal workers [post_excerpt] => ABF officers have inspected businesses and residential premises targeting organised visa fraud and illegal work. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => customs-targets-employers-illegal-workers [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-21 13:31:17 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-21 03:31:17 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27867 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [comment_count] => 0 [current_comment] => -1 [found_posts] => 9 [max_num_pages] => 1 [max_num_comment_pages] => 0 [is_single] => [is_preview] => [is_page] => [is_archive] => 1 [is_date] => [is_year] => [is_month] => [is_day] => [is_time] => [is_author] => [is_category] => [is_tag] => 1 [is_tax] => [is_search] => [is_feed] => [is_comment_feed] => [is_trackback] => [is_home] => [is_404] => [is_embed] => [is_paged] => [is_admin] => [is_attachment] => [is_singular] => [is_robots] => [is_posts_page] => [is_post_type_archive] => [query_vars_hash:WP_Query:private] => ee50aefd61cba06e6a3a9bc05bf24c28 [query_vars_changed:WP_Query:private] => 1 [thumbnails_cached] => [stopwords:WP_Query:private] => [compat_fields:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => query_vars_hash [1] => query_vars_changed ) [compat_methods:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => init_query_flags [1] => parse_tax_query ) )

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