The former SAS commander and deputy National Security Adviser has emerged as Defence’s choice to head up the 16 departments and agencies under the Coalition’s Operation Sovereign Borders policy, which effectively militarises border protection.
Major-General Campbell’s task will include finding a way to meet Mr Abbott’s controversial pledge to turn back asylum-seeker boats where it is safe to do so. He will answer directly to Immigration Minister Scott Morrison.
Mr Abbott branded border protection a “national emergency” that needed to be tackled with the clout of a senior military commander when he unveiled Operation Sovereign Borders in late July.
General Campbell’s job will be to co-ordinate a joint taskforce made up of government agencies ranging from ASIO to the Immigration Department, as well as the Australian Defence Force and the Federal Police.
It is understood he was regarded as right for the job in part because of his experience working inside government as a civilian in national security, which involved co-ordinating national security policy across the government.
The Chief of the Defence Force, General David Hurley, will recommend his appointment to the government, which is due to be sworn in on Wednesday morning. Mr Abbott is expected to announce the appointment in the coming days.
He has previously been the commander of Australia’s military operations in the Middle East, which includes Afghanistan and Iraq. He has also served in East Timor.
Currently a two-star rank, he will be promoted to the three-star rank of Lieutenant-General.
About 475 asylum-seekers have arrived on seven boats in the 10 days since Mr Abbott led the Coalition to victory.
As opposition leader he repeatedly promised that one of his top priorities would be to “stop the boats”.
On Monday, he called it a “stand-or-fall issue” for the new government.Source: Sydney Morning Herald – Two-star veteran Angus Campbell promoted to run border protection
- Australian opposition plans to relegate asylum seekers to military, keep numbers secret (craighill.net)
- Australian opposition leader refuses legal aid for asylum seekers (craighill.net)
- Indonesia invites Australia for controversial “turn back the boats” asylum-seeker talks (craighill.net)
- Indonesia rejects Australian people-smuggler plan (craighill.net)
- Angus Campbell to head boat operation (sbs.com.au)
- Two-star veteran Campbell to lead fight against people smugglers (sbs.com.au)
- Angus Campbell to head boat operation (news.theage.com.au)
- Tony Abbott appoints Angus Campbell to lead Operation Sovereign Borders policy (abc.net.au)
- Abbott’s asylum plan at odds with ADF purpose (abc.net.au)
- Operation Sovereign Borders begins on Wednesday (theguardian.com)