Dutton Misled Parliament Over Au Pairs, Senate Committee Says
Peter Dutton should be censured by parliament over his dealings with several foreign au pairs who were given visas despite immigration department recommendations, a Labor-led Senate committee has recommended.
The committee, with a majority of members from Labor and the Greens, alleged Dutton had misled parliament regarding his answers about his links to the employers of the au pairs.
As expected, considering the partisan numbers on the investigation, the committee recommended Dutton should be censured by parliament, when it handed down its report on Wednesday afternoon.
It has been revealed Dutton intervened in cases after personal lobbying from a former police service colleague and a former Coalition staffer who later went to work for the AFL. However, he had earlier claimed to not know those involved.
"The committee recommends that the Senate consider censuring the Minister for Home Affairs (the Hon Peter Dutton MP) for the actions examined in this report, when he was the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, for failing to observe fairness in making official decisions as required by the Statement of Ministerial Standards," the committee report said.
"It is the view of the committee that Minister Dutton had a clear personal connection and existing relationship with the intended employer of the au pair in the Brisbane case. Given his definitive answer in the House of Representatives, it is the view of the committee the minister misled Parliament in relation to this matter."
However, a dissenting report from Coalition members of the committee recommended Dutton ignore the report, and that the minister "be commended for his prudent and diligent work".
Liberal Senator Jim Molan claimed the committee had been a "witch hunt" and "damp squib".
Minutes after the report was released, Greens MP Adam Bandt said he would move a no confidence motion in Dutton on Thursday.
The federal senate's Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee opened its inquiry into claims of an "inappropriate exercise of ministerial powers" when home affairs minister Dutton -- then immigration minister -- personally intervened to grant visas to three separate au pairs who ran into various immigration troubles when attempting to enter Australia in 2015.
It has been revealed one of the women was to be employed by a former police force colleague of Dutton's, while another had been previously employed by a relative of AFL boss Gillon McLachlan. Dutton intervened in both cases after being lobbied by those involved.
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The Guardian reported last month that the case linked to McLachlan, that of a French au pair named Alexandra Deuwel, had been resolved quickly on a Sunday, according to emails allegedly between Dutton's office, Border Force and the AFL.
The Strategic Border Command Centre said in leaked emails his office would be “providing detail which does not support the minister intervening” in Deuwel's case. However, Dutton intervened anyway, granting her a tourist visa.
The leaking of those emails has been referred to the federal police.
Earlier, Dutton had pre-empted the recommendations and said he expected the committee's report to be negative against him.
More to come.