Visa crackdown worries multicultural groups

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has revealed he received calls and text messages from distressed leaders of multicultural groups prior to the cancellation of last week’s planned ‘Operation Fortitude’ in Melbourne.The operation proposed by the Australian Border Force in conjunction with Victoria Police was a targeted visa-checking exercise in the city’s CBD aimed at individuals “crossing any official’s path”. Premier Andrews was critical of the blitz, which was cancelled following a public backlash. “You saw a very, very Victorian response as people literally took to the streets to protest against something that was ill-conceived and not something supported by my government, not something supported by Victoria Police and indeed not something supported by the Victorian community,” he said.The premier was made aware of the operation following a press release by the Australian Border Force last Friday. “We were very clear that Victoria Police and the Victorian government do not and never will support an operation like this,” he said.Labor’s immigration spokesperson Richard Marles was quick to criticise the government and Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Peter Dutton, after the minister admitted he had not read a brief about the operation.“Peter Dutton needs to take responsibility and explain to the Australian people what was intended with Operation Fortitude and who made the decision to abandon this operation and what other material is there in his office which he has not read,” Marles said. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop described the incident as a “poorly-worded press release” and reiterated that it was not government policy to randomly stop the public to undertake visa checks. Bishop accused Labor of a “complete and utterly over the top” response. Opposition Leader Bill Shorten was quick to respond. “Labor couldn’t have dreamed up this scheme to attack the government,” he said. “Now what we see is this Abbott government is so cowardly when it comes to owning their own bad ideas that now they’re going to throw some middle-level bureaucrat in a uniform under the bus and say it’s their fault.”last_img read more