Abbott Government launches Operation Sovereign Borders to stop the boats

September 18, 2018

On 18 September 2013, the Abbott Coalition government – on the same day it was sworn in – launched its Operation Sovereign Borders (OSB) policy to “Stop the Boats”. OSB fulfilled was a core election commitment to the Australian people at the 7 September 2013 Federal election campaign (which the Coalition won in a landslide).

OSB was a military-led, border integrity and national security policy – a clear pivot away from Labor’s failed globalist foreign policy. Labor had cringed and acquiesced to the UN in the face of emerging, determined mass migration from the third world seeking to gate-crash western lavish welfare states.

OSB was designed by the Abbott Coalition in Opposition under the hard-headed direction and leadership of then shadow immigration spokesman (later Australian Prime Minister), Scott Morrison, and former major general in the Australian Army (later Senator), Jim Molan. (See key aspects of OSB in Further Details below.)

The OSB policy responded to the disastrous six years of Rudd-Gillard-Rudd Labor governments which had proudly, but naively, prised open our borders again by dismantling the Howard-era Pacific Solution and temporary protection visas (TPVs) system.

Labor put “the sugar” back on the table for prospective illegal immigrants from the third world - and people smugglers - to have another crack at Australia by boat (predominantly from Indonesia but with networks extending well into, and beyond, the Indian Ocean rim). 

And come the boats did – 50,000 illegal maritime arrivals on 800 leaky boats with 1,200 dying at sea.

Since OSB was implemented in January 2014, less than a handful of boats have arrived. Even the ABC had to begrudgingly admit that the policy had worked – beyond all expectations and much to its globalist chagrin.

Due to OSB’s success, European countries (and most recently, Italy) adopted Australian-style border protection strategies and measures to prevent being over-run by opportunistic, mass migration from northern Africa and the Middle East.

On 13 September 2018, Senator Cory Bernardi moved a motion in the Senate affirming his Conservative Party’s strong support for the Coalition’s military-led OSB policy and its chief architects (now PM Morrison and Senator Molan) which, importantly, passed on the voices (ie with support from both the major parties).

Celebrate the anniversary of the Abbott Government’s timely launch of its Operation Sovereign Borders policy that “Stop(ped) the Boats” by:

Further details – key aspects of the OSB policy

Key policy aspects of OSB included:

  • a whole-of-government approach, through a joint (nearly 20) agency taskforce
  • led by a three-star general, responsible and reporting directly to the Immigration and Border Protection (now Home Affairs) Minister
  • three task groups within the OSB taskforce dealing with:
    • Disruption and Deterrence (led by the AFP)
    • Detection, Interception and Transfer (led by the Australian Border Force (ABF)), and
    • Regional Processing, Resettlement and Returns (or Detention and Removals, also led by ABF)
  • a “zero tolerance” posture towards illegal boat arrivals
  • turning back illegal boats (including transferring their human cargos onto orange life boats, now fake fishing-like boats, and returning them to Indonesian beaches)
  • increased engagement with source and transit countries from where the people, boats and smugglers come from
  • mandatory detention in regional processing centres (eg Nauru, which now has less than 200 detainees, and Manus Island, now closed), and
  • re-instatement of temporary protection visas (TPVs) – a successful Howard Government measure.



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