Dutton Says Au Pair 'Mate' Claims Are False
Peter Dutton says claims his chief of staff called the head of Border Force to help a detained au pair for a "mate" are fabricated and baseless.
Former Australian Border Force boss Roman Quaedvlieg has given evidence to a Senate committee alleging Dutton's chief of staff Craig Maclachlan called him asking for help in June 2015.
"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 in a letter to a Senate committee on Wednesday night.
But the Home Affairs Minister said Maclachlan didn't even work for him until October 2015.
"The assertions and allegations in Quaedvlieg's letter are entirely false and indeed fabricated," Dutton said in a statement.
"I did not instruct any member of my staff to call Quaedvlieg in relation to this matter. Nor did any member of my staff speak to Quaedvlieg about it."
The woman was on a tourist visa when she was detained at Brisbane airport in June 2015, until the family she was meant to work for contacted the then-immigration minister's office.
Quaedvlieg said he was asked "What needs to be done to fix this? Can the boss overturn it?" and he told the staffer to look at a possible ministerial intervention.
Dutton overturned his department's decision to deport the woman and she was given a visa to stay in the country, despite her original plans to work for a former Queensland police colleague of Dutton's.
Dutton has said he had not spoken to his former police colleague for 20 years but the man did call his office seeking help with the au pair's case.
Quaedvlieg, who was once close to Dutton, was sacked from his role after he helped his girlfriend get a job at Sydney Airport.
" Quaedvlieg is bitter about the loss of his job," Dutton said.
"But the fabrication of evidence to a Senate committee takes his behaviour to a disturbing level."
Dutton told parliament earlier this year he did not know the people the au pairs were working for.
In a statement, Quaedvlieg said he stood firmly behind his version of events, rejecting claims he fabricated evidence.
He said he would attempt to reconcile the "anomaly" in dates identified by Dutton with the committee.
Labor immigration spokesman Shayne Neumann said Dutton had misled parliament.
"There is a personal connection. Peter Dutton said in federal parliament there is no personal connection," Neumann told reporters.
In November 2015, French au pair was given a tourist visa by Dutton after AFL boss Gillon McLachlan, whose cousin employed the nanny, asked a member of his staff to speak to the minister's office.