Peter Dutton Will Help Au Pairs, But Not These People Who Need Help
Massive public outcry isn't enough for a young family to avoid deportation, but just one phone call from an au pair is.
Home Affairs minister Peter Dutton personally intervened to save three young au pairs from deportation, using his ministerial powers to quickly grant them visas.
Meanwhile, hundreds of asylum seekers remain on Manus Island and Nauru with no hope of resettlement, the most prominent victims of Australia's hardline immigration policy -- a policy that has repeatedly ignored other pleas to save asylum seekers from deportation.
Seriously, what's the go with the au pairs?
It had previously been reported that Dutton, then-Immigration Minister -- a role he lost in Prime Minister Scott Morrison's recent ministry reshuffle -- stepped in twice in 2015 to grant visas to au pairs who had traveled to Australia without appropriate visas.
In the first case in June 2015, the au pair reportedly made a phone call and had a new visa approved within hours; in November that year, Dutton ignored warnings from his department that granting a visa to a second au pair would be of "high risk" as she had been warned about work restrictions before.
READ MORE: What's The Go With The Au Pairs?
On Tuesday, The Guardian revealed Dutton had intervened on a third au pair case in October 2015 after AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan lobbied his office. The au pair had previously worked for a relative of McLachlan.
The first two cases, revealed earlier this year, sparked huge intrigue at the time and resurfaced as Dutton made a tilt at the Liberal leadership last week.
With news of the third au pair coming this week, many have started comparing the apparent special attention to au pairs to how others arriving without the right visas are treated.
The several hundred refugees still in detention on Nauru or stuck on Manus, for example.
Countless refugees and asylum seekers have needed complex health care not available on the islands they inhabit, and had lobbied to come to Australia to receive medical assistance for conditions from cancer to severe mental health conditions.
Dutton's department has consistently opposed many of these medical transfers however, and in some cases only relented after huge public outcry and lobbying from Australian doctors.
So, what's the go with the au pairs?
Or there's the case of Hassan, an interpreter who assisted Australian soldiers in Afghanistan, who has been continually refused a visa despite the best lobbying efforts of decorated army captain Jason Scanes.
Hassan assisted Australian troops, and his decision to do so has made him a target for the Taliban. However, despite Dutton's office promising a review of Hassan's case, the interpreter is still waiting for news.
Or the group that arrived on a Vietnamese fishing boat near Port Douglas, who escaped into the Daintree rainforest. They were rounded up and immediately transferred to the Christmas Island detention centre.
Or a young Sri Lankan family, who were forcibly taken from their Queensland home with 10 minutes notice to pack, then placed in detention ahead of deportation. The family have had legal bids to avoid deportation stymied, despite nearly 120,000 people signing a petition to keep them in Australia.
While a massive public outcry isn't enough to avoid deportation for some, apparently just one phone call is enough for others.
According to documents obtained by the ABC, Dutton ruled "it would be in the public interest to grant this person a visa" in the latest au pair case.
"I have decided, that as a discretionary and humanitarian act to an individual with ongoing needs, it is in the interests of Australia as a humane and generous society to grant this person a visitor visa (subclass 600) for a period of three months," he wrote by way of explanation.
If only we could apply this previously unknown capacity for humanitarian acts to some of the other vulnerable people Australia consistently ignores.
But really though, what's the go with the au pairs?