Operation Sovereign Borders

Operation Sovereign Borders (OSB) is a border protection operation led by the Australian Defence Force, aimed at stopping maritime arrivals of asylum seekers to Australia.[1] The operation is the outcome of a 2013 federal election policy of the Coalition, which commenced on 18 September 2013 after the election of the Abbott Government.[2] The operation has implemented a "zero tolerance" posture towards so-called "illegal boat arrivals" in Australia, in conjunction with mandatory detention in offshore detention facilities. The current Commander Operation Sovereign Borders, Major General Craig Furini, was appointed to the command on 14 December 2018.[3]


Persons arriving by unauthorised boat to Australia by calendar year

During the 2013 federal election, the Abbott-led Coalition campaigned on a policy that, if elected to government, they would "stop the boats" and would launch Operation Sovereign Borders, combining the resources of multiple government bodies under direct control of a three star general. Following the election, Angus Campbell was promoted and appointed to oversee the operations.[4]

Following the 2013 election, the portfolio of the Minister for Immigration was renamed as the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection. The appointed ministers, initially Scott Morrison and subsequently Peter Dutton, refused to release information on asylum seeker boat arrivals as they occurred,[5] and a weekly media briefing was announced.[6][7] In January 2014, having not held a media briefing for almost a month, Morrison announced that briefings would be held on what he described as "an as needs basis".[8] On 10 July 2014, Morrison stated that the secrecy policy was put in place by Lieutenant General Campbell, which had been rigorously implemented by ministers, their advisers, and various government departments.[9]

Policy proposals

Regional Deterrence Framework

On 23 August 2013, during the election campaign, the Coalition announced a key component of Operation Sovereign Borders called the Regional Deterrence Framework.[10] Budgeted at A$420 million, the RDF aimed to engage with other countries in the region, particularly Indonesia, to prevent asylum seeker vessels leaving for Australia. The framework included a $20 million proposal (titled "The Indonesian community engagement programme") which was to include:[11]

  • communications campaigns to raise awareness within local villages that people smuggling is a criminal activity;
  • a capped boat buy-back scheme that was to provide an incentive for owners of decrepit and dangerously unsafe boats to sell their boats to government officials rather than people smugglers;
  • support for wardens in local communities, whose role was to be to provide intelligence information to the Indonesian National Police on people smuggling operations;
  • the option in exceptional circumstances for bounty payments for the provision of information resulting in significant disruptions or arrests leading to convictions.

The "buy-the-boats" plan was widely ridiculed,[12] with fact-checking group PolitiFact Australia[13] calling the proposal "ridiculous".[14] Lieutenant General Campbell told a Senate Estimates committee that, two months into the OSB program, no boats had been purchased because Indonesia did not support the idea, although he stated that the measure remained available.[15]

Communication campaign

Stop the boats - Operation Sovereign Borders
An example of an advertisement in the campaign.

The government runs a "communication campaign to counter people smuggling" with advertisements in multiple languages,[16] targeting "press, radio, social and search media" across Australia. Between January and May 2015, $750,000 had been spent on the campaign.[17]


Operation Sovereign Borders operates as a Joint Agency Taskforce (JATF), with the support of a range of government agencies, organised as three operational task groups:[18]


Rank Name Post-nominals Service Term began Term ended
Lieutenant General Angus Campbell DSC, AM Army 18 September 2013 16 May 2015
Major General Andrew Bottrell CSC & Bar, DSM Army 16 May 2015 1 February 2017
Air Vice Marshal Stephen Osborne AM, CSC RAAF 1 February 2017 14 December 2018
Major General Craig Furini AM, CSC Army 14 December 2018 Incumbent


Immigration Detention Population to December 2014

Abbott's government claimed a ninety per cent reduction in maritime arrivals of asylum seekers.[19] There were 207 in November 2013, as opposed to 2,629 in November 2012.[20][21][22]

In response, Shadow Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Richard Marles claimed there was a 40 per cent reduction in arrivals in the month following the introduction of the Regional Resettlement Arrangement with Papua New Guinea, shortly before the 2013 election.

On 19 June 2014, the Government announced that it had been six months since the last successful boat arrival.[23]

July 2014: Legal challenge

On 7 July 2014, a vessel containing 153 mostly Tamil asylum seekers from Sri Lanka was intercepted by Australian authorities 27 kilometres (15 nmi) from Christmas Island. The government refused to confirm the existence, location, or status of the boat, until the High Court placed an injunction on any attempted refoulement of the vessel's passengers to Sri Lanka, while the full bench of the Court considered a challenge to the handover on the grounds that the government was breaching non-refoulement obligations under international law.[24] Under Article 33 of the UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, to which Australia is a signatory, this principle forbids a nation state from sending a refugee back to anywhere where they may face persecution.[25]

Pre-empting the decision of the court, Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Morrison announced that the people on the boat would be transferred to the Curtin Immigration Reception and Processing Centre in Western Australia, where they would be assessed by Indian consular officials under an arrangement made with that country to repatriate any Indian citizens or residents.[26] On 2 August, Morrison announced that the group had refused to meet with Indian officials and were then transferred to the Nauru Regional Processing Centre.[27]

The government's response was to rush through Parliament the Migration and Maritime Powers Legislation Amendment (Resolving the Asylum Legacy Caseload) Bill 2014, which was passed by both Houses in December 2014, placing border policing ahead of asylum seeker rights as expressed in UN Convention.[28]

Unlawful arrivals by boat per month
Month Boats Persons Notes
From 18 September 2013 5 205
October 2013 5 339
November 2013 5 207
December 2013 7 355
January 2014 0 1 [29]
July 2014 1 157 [30]
Source: "Operation Sovereign Borders:
log of boat arrivals and other asylum seeker incidents"
ABC News
. Australia. Retrieved 5 February 2015.

Months with no arrivals are not listed.

Turnback operations

The number of arrivals given in OSB operational updates is defined as those "transferred to Australian immigration authorities",[31] and does not include arrivals in Australian territorial waters who have been subject to a turnback operation—that is, sent out of Australian waters on their own vessel, or an Australian vessel employed for this purpose.[32] As of 7 February 2014, The Australian newspaper estimated that at least "six boatloads" of asylum seekers had been subject to turnbacks by OSB authorities.[33]

On 15 January 2014, an orange fibreglass "survival capsule", containing about 60 asylum seekers, came ashore at Cikepuh in West Java. A second containing 34 people arrived at Pangandaran on 5 February.[34] The Daily Telegraph reported that the Australian government was believed to have purchased eleven of the capsules from Singapore at a cost of around $500,000.[35]

In May 2014, Australia was alleged to have placed two persons who had arrived earlier in the year onto a boat with other asylum seekers which was turned back to Indonesia.[36]

In January 2015, Minister Dutton announced that 15 vessels, containing 429 asylum seekers in total, had been subject to turnback operations of some kind towards Indonesia or Sri Lanka since the beginning of OSB.[37]

In July 2015, Labor Shadow Minister Richard Marles conceded that "Offshore processing and regional resettlement, together with the Coalition's policy of turn-backs, is what actually stopped the boats."[38]

On 6 August 2015, the new immigration minister Peter Dutton announced it had been 12 months since the last successful people smuggling operation, with the last SIEV arriving in Australia's care in July 2014. The ABC News' Fact Check subsequently listed the Coalition's "We Will Stop the Boats" promise as delivered.[39] In August 2015, Dutton stated that, since December 2013, 633 people on 20 vessels have been subject to turnback operations, including a boat from Vietnam in July.[40] In March 2016, Dutton stated that 698 people on 25 vessels had been turned back since the beginning of the OSB program.[41]


In 2014, the status of asylum seekers sent to offshore processing centres in Nauru Regional Processing Centre and Manus Regional Processing Centre was decided: 13 people (9 people from Iran and 4 people from Pakistan) were granted asylum, while 7 people (from Iran, Pakistan, and Cameroon) received negative assessments. The asylum protection in Nauru was valid from 2014 for up to 5 years.[42]

As of 2015, more than 400 people who had their refugee claims rejected had been returned home from the Australian-run detention centre in Papua New Guinea, some of which did so voluntarily.[43]


Indonesian response

The Indonesian government has voiced concern over the operation due to its implications for Indonesia's national sovereignty.[44][45] A member of the Golkar party, Tantowi Yahya, described the plan as "offensive", and officials from the Indonesian Navy said "forcing the boats back would also unfairly shift the burden of dealing with the asylum-seeker problem back on Indonesia".[46] The policy also came under fire from refugee advocates.[47]

On 26 September 2013, Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa took the "unusual step" of releasing details of his talks about the policy with his Australian counterpart Julie Bishop,[48] which was later blamed on a clerical error.[49]

Australia has apologised for violating Indonesian waters during their "tow back" operations.[50] These incursions occurred after Chief of the Defence Force David Hurley stripped naval personnel of workplace safety protections that would have required them to exercise "reasonable care" to protect their safety and that of the refugees.[51] On 21 January 2014, Customs (now Australian Border Force) and Defence announced that a joint review would be conducted to investigate the circumstances under which Australian naval vessels entered Indonesian territorial waters.[52] The inquiry, which covered the period between 1 December 2013 and 20 January 2014, found that two Royal Australian Navy frigates had crossed into Indonesian territory four times during the period, while Customs vessels did so on another two occasions.[53] In response, one Australian Navy officer lost his command, while several others were disciplined.[54] Indonesia has responded to the incursions by deploying military assets to intercept people-smuggling boats.[55][56]

Media response

Several journalists and media outlets have expressed concern and frustration over the tightly-controlled release of information about Operation Sovereign Borders, usually restricted to the weekly briefings held on Friday afternoons. In the weekly briefings, both Minister Morrison and Lieutenant General Campbell have refused to discuss "operational" or "on-water" matters in response to questions from journalists. The Minister has rationalised the control of information by stating that the government was not "operating a shipping news service for people smugglers".[57]

Allegations of navy mistreatment

On 22 January 2014, the ABC broadcast allegations that Royal Australian Navy personnel had mistreated asylum seekers during an OSB operation, including video footage of passengers receiving medical treatment in Indonesia for burns on their hands, which they claimed were sustained when they were forced to touch a hot boat engine.[58] Morrison downplayed refugee claims of being abused by the Navy, and called for the ABC to apologise to the Navy.[59] The ABC's Media Watch program opined that ABC News had "over-reached" when reporting the story, and should have been more thorough in verifying the claims.[60] On 4 February, ABC managing director Mark Scott issued a statement saying "The wording around the ABC's initial reporting needed to be more precise on that point", referring to the video footage verifying the injuries but not how they had occurred.[61] On 7 February, Yousif Ibrahim Fasher repeated the initial allegations, as well as several further claims of mistreatment and possible breaches of maritime law in an interview with a Fairfax correspondent.[62]

Political focus on boat arrivals

Immigration law specialists, academics and others have criticised the political over-use of border control in general to win votes, and in particular of the exaggerated focus on boat arrivals being a danger to security and bringing illegal immigrants, when in fact the vast majority of illegal immigrants arrived by plane, with valid visas initially.[63][64]

See also


  1. ^ Keane, Bernard (25 July 2013). "Military reshuffle: Abbott's 'Operation Sovereign Borders'". Crikey. Retrieved 25 November 2013.
  2. ^ Liberal Party of Australia & The Nationals. "The Coalition's Operation Sovereign Borders Policy" (PDF).
  3. ^ "'Artilleryman' given responsibility for Operation Sovereign Borders". ABC News. 12 December 2018. Retrieved 1 January 2019.
  4. ^ Brissenden, M.; Roberts, G. "Tony Abbott appoints Angus Campbell to lead Operation Sovereign Borders policy". ABC News. Australia. Retrieved 17 September 2013.
  5. ^ "Veil of silence descends on asylum boat arrivals". The Age. 20 September 2013.
  6. ^ Ireland, Judith (4 October 2013). "Coalition's resolve on asylum seekers 'stronger than ever before': Scott Morrison". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 6 October 2013.
  7. ^ "Operation Sovereign Borders – Transcripts of Weekly Press Conferences".
  8. ^ "Scott Morrison says he will stop holding weekly asylum seeker briefings". ABC News. Australia. 14 January 2014.
  9. ^ "No comment on operations: how Morrison's media strategy took shape". The Guardian. Australia. 10 July 2014.
  10. ^ Liberal Party of Australia & The Nationals. "The Coalition's Policy for a Regional Deterrence Framework to Combat People Smuggling" (PDF).
  11. ^ Ryan, Rosanna (23 August 2013). "Tony Abbott, Scott Morrison announce new 'regional deterrence framework' to stop asylum seekers". ABC News. Retrieved 29 November 2013.
  12. ^ "Scott Morrison defiant on 'crazy' boat buyback policy". The Sydney Morning Herald. 2 September 2013. Retrieved 29 November 2013.
  13. ^ "PolitiFact Australia". Retrieved 19 April 2016.
  14. ^ "Indonesia boat buy scheme 'ridiculous'". The Sydney Morning Herald. 2 September 2013. Retrieved 29 November 2013.
  15. ^ Griffiths, Emma (19 November 2013). "Angus Campbell reveals no boats have been purchased under Operation Sovereign Borders". ABC News. Australia. Retrieved 29 November 2013.
  16. ^ "Counter People Smuggling Communication". Retrieved 19 April 2016.
  17. ^ "Antisocial network: government targets Australians in asylum seeker ads". Crikey. Retrieved 19 April 2016.
  18. ^ "Operation Sovereign Borders". Department of Immigration and Border Protection. Retrieved 9 December 2016.
  19. ^ Ireland, Judith (21 October 2013). "Both sides claim credit for slowing boat arrivals". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  20. ^ Bolt, Andrew (29 November 2013). "Under Abbott, 207 boat people in November. Under Gillard, 2630 boat people last November". The Herald-Sun.
  21. ^ "Deterrents and punishments do not work to stop boats". Politifact. 9 September 2013.
  22. ^ "Operation Sovereign Borders: log of boat arrivals and other asylum seeker incidents". ABC News. Australia. 29 November 2013.
  23. ^ "Satisfied Australia marks six months with no boatpeople". SBS News. Australia. 19 June 2014. Retrieved 18 July 2014.
  24. ^ Gordon, Michael (8 July 2014). "High Court considers case of asylum seekers being returned to Sri Lanka". The Age. Retrieved 8 July 2014.
  25. ^ "United Nations High Commission for Refugees". Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. UNHCR. Retrieved 30 July 2016.
  26. ^ "Asylum seekers head to Australia". SBS News. Australia. 25 July 2014. Retrieved 1 August 2014.
  27. ^ "Australia sends asylum-seekers to Nauru, as India offer refused". Times of India. India. Retrieved 19 April 2016.
  28. ^ Marmo, Marinella; Giannacopoulos, Maria (11 October 2017). "Cycles of judicial and executive power in irregular migration". Comparative Migration Studies. 5 (16): 16. doi:10.1186/s40878-017-0059-x. PMC 5636859. PMID 29071213.
  29. ^ Swan, Jonathon (31 January 2014). "Asylum seeker transferred to Christmas Island, ending six-week period without any arrivals". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 1 February 2014.
  30. ^ Laughland, Oliver (31 July 2014). "Tamil asylum seekers: 80% reported showing signs of torture and trauma". The Guardian. Australia. Retrieved 1 August 2014.
  31. ^ Barlow, Karen (12 October 2013). "Australian Immigration Minister talks tough to asylum seekers". ABC News. Australia. Retrieved 12 February 2014.
  32. ^ Glenday, James (4 February 2014). "Asylum seekers: Releasing Operation Sovereign Borders details not in the national interest, Scott Morrison tells Senate committee". ABC News. Australia. Retrieved 12 February 2014.
  33. ^ Maley, Paul; Taylor, Paige (7 February 2014). "At least six boatloads of asylum-seekers have been turned back to Indonesia". The Australian. Retrieved 12 February 2014.
  34. ^ Toohey, Paul (7 February 2014). "Inside the Sovereign Borders Turn-back Lifeboat". news.com.au. Retrieved 12 February 2014.
  35. ^ "Second asylum lifeboat sent back to Indonesia under Operation Sovereign Borders". Daily Telegraph. Australia. 7 February 2014. Retrieved 12 February 2014.
  36. ^ Farrell, Paul (6 May 2014). "Report of extra asylum seekers put on turn-back boat a 'serious development'". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 May 2014.
  37. ^ "Australia confirms 15 boats carrying 429 asylum seekers have been turned back". The Guardian. Australia. 28 January 2015. Retrieved 28 January 2015.
  38. ^ Marles, Richard (22 July 2015). "Why Labor will turn back asylum seeker boats". Herald-Sun. Retrieved 23 July 2015.
  39. ^ "Promise check: We will stop the boats". ABC News. Australia. 14 May 2015. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  40. ^ Hasham, Nicole (6 August 2015). "In a rare disclosure, Abbott government admits turning back 633 asylum seekers". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 6 August 2015.
  41. ^ Anderson, Stephanie (17 March 2016). "Fewer than 30 refugees resettled since November as part of 12,000 agreed in Syria, Iraq deal". ABC News. Australia. Retrieved 17 March 2016.
  42. ^ "Nauru and PNG begin granting refugee status for asylum seekers – Pacific Beat". Radio Australia.
  43. ^ "Asylum seeker returns not our job: govt". Yahoo!7. 28 January 2015.
  44. ^ Bachelard, Michael. "Tony Abbott's asylum seeker policies 'offensive', says senior Indonesian politician". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 19 September 2013.
  45. ^ Wroe, David. "We will reject Abbott's policy on asylum seekers: Indonesia Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa". Brisbane Times. Retrieved 17 September 2013.
  46. ^ Sihite, Ezra. "Golkar Latest Critic of Abbott's Asylum Line". Jakarta Globe. Retrieved 28 September 2013.
  47. ^ Silby, Murray. "Advocates hope for asylum policy adjustment". SBS News. Australia. Retrieved 17 September 2013.
  48. ^ Roberts, George (26 September 2013). "Indonesia's foreign minister Marty Natalegawa divulges contents of talks with Julie Bishop". ABC News. Australia. Retrieved 28 September 2013.
  49. ^ Norman, Jane (27 September 2013). "Indonesia says email about talks between Marty Natalegawa and Julie Bishop sent to media by mistake". ABC News. Australia. Retrieved 9 October 2013.
  50. ^ "Indonesia condemns Australian navy waters violations". BBC News. 17 January 2014. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  51. ^ Wroe, David (15 January 2014). "Navy sailors now on 'war footing' to turn back boats". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  52. ^ Murphy, Katharine (22 January 2014). "Naval incursions: customs and defence issue terms of reference for inquiry". The Guardian. Australia. Retrieved 23 January 2014.
  53. ^ McPhedran, Ian (20 February 2014). "Review finds Australian Navy and Customs vessels breached Indonesian waters six times". The Herald-Sun. Retrieved 20 February 2014.
  54. ^ Griffiths, Emma (18 April 2014). "Senior Navy officer loses command over incursions into Indonesian waters during Operation Sovereign Borders". ABC News. Australia. Retrieved 27 April 2014.
  55. ^ "Indonesia warship deployment ensures 'border properly protected' – minister". The Guardian. Australia. Australian Associated Press. 23 January 2014. Retrieved 23 January 2014.
  56. ^ Alford, Peter (29 January 2014). "Jakarta's warships to target refugees". The Australian. Retrieved 30 January 2014.
  57. ^ "Stopping the quotes" (transcript). Media Watch. ABC TV. Retrieved 20 November 2013.
  58. ^ Knott, Matthew (5 February 2014). "ABC admits errors in navy burns report on asylum seeker claims". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 7 February 2014.
  59. ^ Jabour, Bridie; Murphy, Katharine (21 January 2014). "Scott Morrison says burns allegations amount to 'sledging' of Australian navy". The Guardian. Australia. Retrieved 21 January 2014.
  60. ^ "Truth, trust and treachery" (transcript). Media Watch. 3 February 2014. Retrieved 7 February 2014.
  61. ^ Knott, Matthew (4 February 2014). "ABC head Mark Scott admits mistakes over report claiming navy inflicted asylum seeker burns". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 7 February 2014.
  62. ^ Bachelard, Michael (7 February 2014). "Investigation: 'burned hands' on the high seas". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 7 February 2014.
  63. ^ Crock, Mary; Ghezelbash, Daniel (15 February 2019). "It's high time we stopped playing politics with migration laws (Opinion)". Australian Broadcasting Corporation news. Retrieved 21 March 2019.
  64. ^ Collins, Jock (21 March 2019). "Six facts that tell a different immigration story than we hear from politicians(Opinion)". Australian Broadcasting Corporation news. Retrieved 21 March 2019.

External links

2014 in Indonesia

The following lists events that happened during 2014 in Indonesia.

Abbott Government

The Abbott Government was the federal executive government of Australia led by the 28th Prime Minister Tony Abbott. The government was made up of members of the Liberal–National Coalition. The Leader of The Nationals, Warren Truss, served as Deputy Prime Minister. Following the 2013 Australian federal election held on 7 September, the Coalition defeated the second Rudd Government, ending six years of Labor Government. The Abbott Government was sworn into office on 18 September 2013. Less than two years later on 14 September 2015, Malcolm Turnbull defeated Abbott in a leadership ballot, 54 votes to 44 and the Turnbull Government became the executive government of Australia.

In economic policy, the Abbott Government aimed to rein in a budget deficit that reached A$48.5 billion by June 2014. It concluded free trade agreements with China, Japan and South Korea. It removed the Rudd-Gillard era Resource Super Profits Tax and carbon pricing. It established the National Commission of Audit to advise on restoring the Budget to surplus; instituted the Royal Commission into trade union governance and corruption; founded the Medical Research Future Fund; and produced White Papers on Developing Northern Australia and the Agricultural Competitiveness. Treasurer Joe Hockey delivered two Budgets, the first focused on expenditure reduction measures, but faced a hostile reception in the Senate and media. Partial deregulation of universities, and a $7 contribution to doctor visits were proposed, but blocked by the Senate. The second Budget emphasised stimulus for the small business sector.

Abbott campaigned in opposition and in office to halt the people smuggling trade, and unauthorised maritime arrivals ceased during his term of office under Operation Sovereign Borders. In foreign policy, Australia continued its military engagement in the Mid-East, amid the worsening Syrian conflict. In 2015, The Abbott Government agreed to resettle an additional 12,000 refugees from the region. Abbott and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop challenged Russia at the United Nations over the shooting down of Malaysian Flight MH17 in Ukraine. The Government launched the New Colombo Plan to encourage educational exchange with the Indo-Pacific region.

Domestically, Abbott campaigned for recognition of Indigenous Australians in the Australian Constitution, flagging a referendum for 2017, and promised a plebiscite on the issue of same-sex marriage. Air and road infrastructure was prioritised. Abbott had to negotiate a hostile Senate. The Palmer United Party had emerged at the 2013 election, but fractured soon after. The Liberal Party faced Cabinet leaks and early leadership instability, after a poorly received first Budget and amid media criticism. Abbott became the shortest-serving Australian Prime Minister since William McMahon, when his government was succeeded by the Turnbull Government. Turnbull cited Newspoll results and "economic leadership" as reasons for mounting his challenge against Abbott.

Angus Campbell (general)

General Angus John Campbell, is a senior officer in the Australian Army, serving as the Chief of the Defence Force since 6 July 2018. He was previously posted as Commander Operation Sovereign Borders from September 2013 until he was appointed Chief of Army in May 2015.

Armidale-class patrol boat

The Armidale class is a class of patrol boats built for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). Planning for a class of vessels to replace the fifteen Fremantle-class patrol boats began in 1993 as a joint project with the Royal Malaysian Navy, but was cancelled when Malaysia pulled out of the process. The project was reopened in 1999 under the designation SEA 1444, with the RAN as the sole participant. Of the seven proposals tendered, the Austal Ships/Defence Maritime Services (DMS) proposal for twelve vessels based on an enlarged Bay-class patrol boat was selected. Two additional patrol boats were ordered in 2005 to provide a dedicated patrol force for the North West Shelf Venture.

All fourteen vessels were constructed by Austal Ships at Henderson, Western Australia. The first vessel, HMAS Armidale, was commissioned into the RAN in June 2005, and the last, HMAS Glenelg, entered service in February 2008. The Armidale-class ships are operated by the Australian Patrol Boat Group, and based in Cairns and Darwin. They are primarily tasked with border protection, fisheries patrols, and the interception of unauthorised arrivals by sea. The Armidales are longer and heavier than their Fremantle-class predecessors, with improved seakeeping ability and increased range, allowing them to reach Australia's offshore territories. The ships are multi-crewed, with three ship's companies available for every two vessels, allowing the patrol boats to spend more time at sea without cutting into sailors' rest or training time.

During their early service life, there were problems with the fuel systems across the class, and a 20-bunk auxiliary accommodation compartment has been banned from use after toxic fumes were found in the compartment on multiple occasions. The high operational tempo from the Operation Resolute and Operation Sovereign Borders border protection and asylum seeker interception operations, combined with design flaws and poor maintenance, resulted in the ships suffering from hull fracturing around the engineering spaces, mechanical defects, and corrosion issues. DMS's contract to provide in-service support will be terminated in 2017, and the patrol boats are undergoing a major refit in Singapore to reinforce the hull. Two Cape-class patrol boats have been chartered to supplement naval patrol boat availability during the refit cycle, and plans to replace the Armidales with an enlarged class of offshore combatant vessel have been accelerated to bring them into service by the early 2020s.

After extensive damage from an onboard fire, HMAS Bundaberg was decommissioned at the end of 2014. A fictional Armidale-class boat, HMAS Hammersley, appears in the Australian military drama series Sea Patrol from the second season onwards, with filming occurring aboard multiple ships of the class.

Asylum in Australia

Refugees are governed by statutes and Government policies which seek to implement Australia's obligations under the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, to which Australia is a party. Thousands of refugees have sought asylum in Australia over the past decade, with the main forces driving movement being war, civil unrest and persecution. The annual refugee quota is currently 20,000 people. From 1945 to the early 1990s, more than half a million refugees and other displaced persons were accepted into Australia.Historically, most asylum seekers arrived by plane. However, there was an increasing number of asylum seekers arriving by boat in the late 2000s and early 2010s, which was met with some public disapproval. In 2011-2012, asylum seekers arriving by boat outnumbered those arriving by plane for the first time. Three waves of asylum seekers arriving by boat have been identified: Vietnamese between 1976 and 1981; Indochinese asylum seekers from 1989 to 1998; and people of Middle East origin from 1999.The visa policy of the current government is to detain persons entering or being in Australia without a valid visa until those persons can be returned to their home country. Australia is the only country in the world with a policy of mandatory detention and offshore processing of asylum seekers who arrive without a valid visa.Asylum policy is a contentious wedge issue in Australian politics, with the two major political parties in Australia arguing that the issue is a border control problem and one concerning the safety of those attempting to come to Australia by boat.

Australian Border Force

The Australian Border Force (ABF) is a law enforcement agency, part of the Department of Home Affairs, responsible for offshore and onshore border control enforcement, investigations, compliance and detention operations in Australia. The Force was established on 1 July 2015 merging the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service with the immigration detention and compliance functions of the then Department of Immigration and Border Protection.

The ABF is a operates under the Australian Border Force Act 2015 with broadened legislative powers including the introduction of sworn officers. A new uniform was introduced and following the transition there was an increase in the number of officers authorised to carry firearms. As of 2016, approximately 15% of the Force is firearms trained which will increase by 2020 to no less than 25%.Immigration and Border Protection Minister Scott Morrison announced the establishment of the Force on 9 May 2014 to be based on a hybrid of the United Kingdom Border Force model.

Australian immigration detention facilities

Australian immigration detention facilities comprise a number of different facilities throughout Australia (including one on the Australian territory of Christmas Island). They are currently used to detain people who are under Australia's policy of mandatory immigration detention. Asylum seekers detected in boats in Australian waters have been detained in facilities on the offshore islands of Nauru and Manus Island, previously under the now defunct Pacific Solution and (since 2013 and as of March 2019) under Operation Sovereign Borders.

The facilities' existence has been condemned on human rights grounds and have even been likened to concentration camps by some critics.

Boat arrivals in Australia since 1976

Statistics retrieved from Department of Parliamentary Services research paper, 'Boat arrivals in Australia since 1976', p. 22.

For arrivals since July 2013, see limited figures released since Operation Sovereign Borders.

Illegal immigration to Australia

Illegal immigration to Australia is defined by the Migration Act 1958, which distinguishes between "lawful non-citizens" (those in Australia holding a valid visa) and "unlawful non-citizens" (those without a valid visa).Immigration to Australia is administered by the Department of Home Affairs, formerly the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP), and before that the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC).

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), the majority of people in Australia illegally are visa overstayers, who enter the country legally but remain there after the expiry or revocation of their visa. DIAC estimated that in the period from 1 July 2009 to 30 June 2010, approximately 15,800 people overstayed their visas out of 4.5 million temporary entrants during that period (about 0.35 per cent). As of 30 June 2010, DIAC estimated that the number of visa overstayers in Australia was around 53,900, or 0.2 per cent of the Australian population.

Jim Molan

Andrew James Molan, (born 11 April 1950) is an Australian politician and former major general in the Australian Army. He was a Senator for New South Wales from December 2017 to June 2019, representing the Liberal Party.

During his military career, Molan was commanding officer of the 6th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, commander of the 1st Brigade, commander of the 1st Division and its Deployable Joint Force Headquarters, and commander of the Australian Defence College. In April 2004, he deployed for a year to Iraq to serve as Chief of Operations for the new Headquarters Multinational Force in Iraq. He has been awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, as well as the Legion of Merit by the U.S. government. He retired from the Australian Army in 2008, and later that year released his first book, Running the War in Iraq.

Following his retirement from the Australian Army, Molan was appointed by the Abbott Government as a special envoy for Operation Sovereign Borders and was subsequently credited with being an architect of the coalition's Stop the Boats Australian border protection and asylum-seeker policies. In 2016, Molan unsuccessfully stood as a Liberal Party candidate for the Senate in New South Wales at the 2016 federal election. In December 2017, during the parliamentary eligibility crisis, the High Court declared him elected in place of Fiona Nash, who was ineligible to stand.

List of Australian immigration detention facilities

This is a list of current and former Australian immigration detention facilities. Immigration detention facilities are used to house people in immigration detention, and people detained under the Pacific Solution, and Operation Sovereign Borders.

Most facilities were operated by Australasian Correctional Management (a subsidiary of G4S) under contract from the Department of Immigration until 2003, when ACM exited the market. Between 2003 and 2009, G4S was appointed as the contractor to manage a large number of facilities. Its contract was not renewed and in 2009 Serco Australia was awarded a five-year contract. The offshore processing centres on Nauru and Manus were operated by Broadspectrum (formerly known as Transfield Services), with security sub-contracted to Wilson Security, and later by Canstruct International. The new centres in Lorengau have security by Paladin Group.

Maritime Border Command (Australia)

The Maritime Border Command (MBC) is the principal civil maritime security authority and de facto coast guard of Australia. It is a multi-agency command within the Department of Home Affairs comprising both Australian Border Force and Australian Defence Force personnel led by a Royal Australian Navy rear admiral.The command was established in 2005 and originally named the Joint Offshore Protection Command. In October 2006 it was renamed to Border Protection Command and was again retitled to its current name in July 2015 to coincide with the establishment of the Australian Border Force.

Nauru Regional Processing Centre

The Nauru Regional Processing Centre is an offshore Australian immigration detention facility, located on the South Pacific island nation of Nauru. The use of immigration detention facilities is part of a policy of mandatory detention in Australia.

The Nauru facility was opened in 2001 as part of the Howard Government's Pacific Solution. The centre was suspended in 2008 to fulfil an election promise by the Rudd Government, but was reopened in August 2012 by the Gillard government after a large increase in the number of maritime arrivals by asylum seekers and pressure from the Abbott opposition. Current Coalition and Labor Party policy states that because all detainees attempted to reach Australia by boat, they will never be settled in Australia.Many detainees have since been returned to their countries of origin, including Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Afghanistan and "unknown" destinations. Asylum-seekers found to be genuine refugees have been detained on the island since mid-2013.The highest population at the centre was 1,233 detainees in August 2014.

In February 2019, the last four children (of an original 200 in detention on Nauru in 2013) were resettled in United States with their families.As at 31 March 2019, there were no people held in the detention centre.


OSB may refer to:

OSB, Amtrak station code for the Old Saybrook (Amtrak station), Connecticut, United States

OneSavings Bank plc, a UK registered bank.

Operation Smiling Buddha, India's first test explosion of a nuclear device (1974)

Operation Sovereign Borders, Australian border security operation

Oracle Service Bus, enterprise service bus implementation (software networking)

Oregon State Bar, public body regulating the legal profession in Oregon, United States

Oriented strand board, engineered-wood product

Orquestra Sinfônica Brasileira, the Brazilian Symphony Orchestra, based at the Cidade da Música in Rio de Janeiro

Operation Relex

Operation Relex is the name given to the Australian Defence Force (ADF) border protection operation in the country's northern approaches conducted between 2001 and 2006. The operation was instigated following the Tampa affair in September 2001 and the Australian government's resultant Pacific Solution. The focus of Operation Relex was illegal immigration, with assets from all three services of the ADF deployed to prevent the arrival of Suspected Illegal Entry Vessels (SIEV) in the Australian migration zone.

The primary period of activity of Operation Relex was between October and December 2001 when ten SIEV were intercepted by HMA Ships Warramunga, Arunta, and Leeuwin, assisted by several Fremantle-class patrol boats.

Operation Relex was folded into the broader border protection activity named Operation Resolute which commenced in July 2006. In 2013, the Abbott Government implemented Operation Sovereign Borders.

Operation Resolute

Operation Resolute is the Australian Defence Force's contribution to patrolling Australia's Exclusive Economic Zone. Operation Resolute began on 17 July 2006 and consolidated a number of previous ADF operations, including Operation Relex.

Operation Resolute is commanded by the joint civilian-military Border Protection Command and the ADF contributes Royal Australian Navy ships, Royal Australian Air Force aircraft and patrols from the Australian Army's Regional Force Surveillance Units as required.

Defence personnel and civilians deployed may be eligible for the Operational Service Medal for Border Protection.

Pacific Solution

The Pacific Solution is the name given to the Government of Australia policy of transporting asylum seekers to detention centres on island nations in the Pacific Ocean, rather than allowing them to land on the Australian mainland. Implemented from 2001 to 2007, it had bipartisan support from the Coalition and Labor opposition at the time. The Pacific Solution consisted of three central strategies: thousands of islands were excised from Australia's migration zone or Australian territory, the Australian Defence Force commenced Operation Relex to intercept vessels carrying asylum seekers and the asylum seekers were removed to detention centres in Nauru and Papua New Guinea while their refugee status was determined (although the Papua New Guinea centre closed in November 2017).

A number of pieces of legislation enabled this policy. The policy was developed by the Howard Government in response to the Tampa affair in August 2001, and was implemented by then Australian Immigration Minister Philip Ruddock on 28 September before the 2001 federal election of 24 November. The policy was largely dismantled in 2008 by the Rudd Government following the election of the Labor Party; Chris Evans, the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship described it as "a cynical, costly and ultimately unsuccessful exercise".In August 2012, the succeeding Gillard Government (Labor) introduced a similar policy, reopening Nauru Regional Processing Centre and Manus Regional Processing Centre for offshore processing, and on 19 July 2013, newly returned Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced, "asylum seekers who come here by boat without a visa will never be settled in Australia", striking a Regional Resettlement Arrangement between Australia and Papua New Guinea, to divert all "unauthorised maritime arrivals" to mandatory detention on Manus Island with no possibility of attaining Australian residency.

Philip Freier

Philip Leslie Freier (born 9 February 1954) is an Australian Anglican bishop. He has been the 13th Archbishop of Melbourne since 16 December 2006. He was elected Primate of Australia on 28 June 2014, being installed by Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, on 13 August 2014.

Scott Morrison

Scott John Morrison (born 13 May 1968) is an Australian politician who has been Prime Minister of Australia and Leader of the Liberal Party since August 2018. He previously served in the Cabinet from 2013 to 2018, including as Treasurer of Australia. Morrison was first elected Member of Parliament (MP) for Cook in 2007. Ideologically, he identifies himself as a pragmatic conservative.Morrison was born in Sydney and studied economic geography at the University of New South Wales. He worked as Director of the New Zealand Office of Tourism and Sport from 1998 to 2000 and was Managing Director of Tourism Australia from 2004 to 2006. Morrison was also State Director of the New South Wales Liberal Party from 2000 to 2004. He was later elected to the House of Representatives at the 2007 election, representing the Division of Cook in New South Wales.

Quickly appointed to opposition frontbench, after the Coalition's victory at the 2013 election, Morrison was appointed Minister for Immigration and Border Protection in the Abbott Government. In that capacity he was responsible for implementing Operation Sovereign Borders. In a reshuffle the following year, Morrison was made Minister for Social Services. He was later promoted to the role of Treasurer in September 2015, after Malcolm Turnbull replaced Abbott as Prime Minister.In August 2018, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton unsuccessfully challenged Turnbull for the leadership of the Liberal Party. Leadership tension continued to build, and the party voted to hold a second ballot on 24 August, with Turnbull choosing not to stand. In that ballot, Morrison positioned himself as a compromise candidate, defeating both Dutton and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop to become Leader of the Liberal Party. He was sworn in as Prime Minister by the Governor-General later that day. Morrison went on to lead the Coalition to an upset victory in the 2019 election.

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