- The Border Force Act 2015 (Cth) provides the legislative basis for the establishment of the Australian Border Force within the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.
- The focus on enforcement is likely to result in greater numbers of visa refusals and cancellations.
- There are strict secrecy provisions that prevent the disclosure of information by an employee. It is unclear to what extent whistleblower disclosures would be protected by the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013 (Cth).
On Wednesday 1 July, the Australian Border Force Act 2015 (Cth) (‘the Act’) came into force. It provides the legislative basis for an Australian Border Force (ABF) to be established within the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP). The creation of the ABF ushers in a new era for the immigration portfolio, which has historically been focused on nation-building and ensuring economic prosperity, by shifting the focus towards enforcement of immigration-related matters.
This article considers two issues arising from the creation of the ABF. First, it considers how an increased focus on enforcement might affect visa decision-making. Second, it highlights the controversy surrounding the secrecy provisions in the Act and analyses how they interact with whistleblower protections under the Public Interest Disclosures Act 2013 (Cth).