Ex-Border Force Commissioner Reveals Peter Dutton’s Office Asked For Help ‘For A Friend’
Roman Quaedvlieg has revealed the details of a phone call from the office of the Home Affairs Minister.
The former head of the Australian Border Force says he was contacted about helping a "mate" of Peter Dutton to get an au pair out of immigration detention.
Roman Quaedvlieg revealed this in a letter on Wednesday night to a Senate committee looking into Mr Dutton's use of his ministerial intervention powers to release two au pairs from detention.
Quaedvlieg said he received a phone call in June 2015 from Dutton's chief of staff, who said he was calling on behalf of the immigration minister.
"He told me that the minister's friend, who he referred to as 'the boss' mate in Brisbane', had encountered a problem with his prospective au pair who had been detained," Quaedvlieg wrote.
He was asked "what needs to be done to fix this? Can the boss overturn it?", and told the staffer to speak to immigration advisers within Dutton's office.
Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, who was immigration minister at the time, told parliament earlier this year he did not know the people the au pairs were working for.
He backed this up during an interview on Sydney radio 2GB on Thursday.
"They're looking for a smoking gun which doesn't exist. It is a waste of taxpayers' money," Dutton said.
"There's a disaffected former senior Australian Border Force officer who leaks this information out."
But Labor shadow attorney-general Mark Dreyfus said Dutton still had not explained why it was in the public interest to give the au pairs visas against departmental advice.
The Italian au pair arrived in June 2015 to work for a former Queensland police colleague of Dutton and was given a tourist visa after he intervened to get her out of immigration detention.
READ MORE: What's The Go With The Au Pairs?
Dutton and the former colleague had not spoken for 20 years, but he did call Dutton's office seeking help with the au pair's case.
In November 2015, French au pair Alexandra Deuwel was detained in Adelaide and Mr Dutton gave her a tourist visa despite his department saying there was a high risk she would breach her visa conditions.
He intervened after AFL boss Gillon McLachlan got his office to speak to Mr Dutton's office.
When Ms Deuwel was detained in October 2015, the AFL boss said his second cousin Callum MacLachlan was "agitated" because it was a Sunday and he couldn't get in touch with Dutton's office.
The AFL boss told his relative to put the reasons he opposed her deportation in an email, which was forwarded to Mr Dutton's chief-of-staff.
Deuwel was allowed to stay in the country after Dutton intervened.