Peter Dutton says he has records of 'quirky' visa requests from Labor MPs

The Home Affairs minister is still under pressure over his decisions to spare two au pairs from deportation in 2015.

Home Affairs minister Peter Dutton has hit back at critics of his decision to stop the Australian Border Force deporting two au pairs in 2015, saying he has a “list of Labor MPs” who asked him to intervene in “quirky cases”.

The minister says he has exercised his powers to override visa decision hundreds of times, including in cases referred by opposition members.

“I have kept a list of Labor MPs who have come to me with quirky cases. There are some people who have been very quiet in this debate,” Mr Dutton told reporters on Monday.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says Peter Dutton was within his powers to grant visas for au pairs.
Source: AAP

“Labor can ask me 10 questions every day when we go back if they want to do that, but they'll get a whack back.”

He said a recent series of damaging leaked emails, which revealed his interventions came after requests from AFL boss Gill McLachlan and a former Queensland Police colleague of Mr Dutton’s, could be coming from a “disaffected” member of the Border Force.

The emails were leaked to Labor senator Kimberley Kitching, who sits on a Senate committee that will soon investigate the two interventions.

One of the two au pairs spared from deportation in 2015 was coming to Australia to work for a couple that was known to the minister from his time as a Queensland police officer, the emails reveal.

The young Italian woman who had her visa cancelled when she arrived at Brisbane’s international airport in June 2015, but was later granted a visa after Mr Dutton intervened.

The second case relates to a 27-year-old French woman, who was detained at Adelaide airport after she admitted she was planning to work in breach of her tourist visa.

French au pair Alexandra Deuwel - Mr Dutton intervened to help the woman stay in Australia.
Source: SBS News

She was planning to babysit for pastoralist Callum MacLachlan.

Mr MacLachlan raised the issue with his second-cousin Gillon McLachlan, who is the chief executive of the AFL, who then lobbied Mr Dutton’s office to secure the young woman’s release. Callum’s father is also a donor to the Liberal party.

Published 3 September 2018 at 12:59pm, updated 3 September 2018 at 2:44pm
By James Elton-Pym