Border security has become one of the key means by which the sovereignty and security of powerful nation-states is projected. This paper offers a set of observations of the Australian Commonwealth’s descriptions and instructions for its embrace of border security. Border security is legible here as a geopolitics that transforms the rights and responsibilities of maritime jurisdictions into a space of security that projects national sovereignty through the interdiction of boat arrivals. Its intensification as Operation Sovereign Borders is read as a further variation within national sovereignty, one that elevates the decisionist prerogative into total deterrence. Operation Sovereign Borders pushes the limits of sovereignty’s existence in the state toward a total domination of space, perception and human life in Australia’s maritime jurisdictions, in the name of the nation. This necessitates the development, defence and reinforcement of a regionally engaged materiality that is embodied, extended, enacted, and distributed. The intended effect of this coordinated effort is to secure the nation’s sovereignty as a unity, but the broader effect has been to devalue offshore life to secure onshore interests, in a way that now necessitates indefinite offshore detention.
13 April 2015
'The Embrace of Border Security: Maritime Jurisdiction, National Sovereignty, and the Geopolitics of Operation Sovereign Borders' by Peter Chambers in (2015) Geo Politics 1-34 argues