Coalition Senators Dissenting Report
This inquiry has been a farcical and shambolic witch-hunt that, despite
the hyperbolic majority report, has come up with nothing except findings that
mirror the Labor Party's initial talking points which actually fall outside the
Terms of Reference of this inquiry.
Despite Labor Senators constant changing of the goal posts in order to
try and locate a smoking gun, the extensive hearings show that not only is
there no smoking gun, there is in fact no gun.
The undisputed evidence provided to the Committee was very clear:
- That of the 24 subclass 600 interventions signed by Minister
Dutton, only two (the already publicised Brisbane and Adelaide cases) related
to au pairs;
- In both of these cases, the Minister accepted the Department's
recommendation to grant a short-term visitor visa to the two individuals
- That neither the Minister nor his office had any contact with the
Department on either the Brisbane or Adelaide cases, other than through the
usual channel of the Departmental Liaison Officer;
- That no additional costs were incurred by the Department on the
two cases; and
- The Minister acted within Ministerial Intervention powers as
prescribed under the Migration Act 1958 and the Department's Guidelines
for Ministerial Intervention.
The evidence has disclosed no instances of inappropriate conduct by the
Minister for Home Affairs as has been so recklessly alleged by Labor and Green
Senators. The findings listed in the Committee Report are unsustainable.
It is long-standing practice in the Westminster System, including by
convention in Australia, that the two Houses of Parliament do not seek to sit
in review of each other. On that basis, it was highly strange for Labor
Senators to seek to call Minister Dutton as a Member of the House of
Representatives noting that Members of all persuasions have similarly followed
As a further example of the shambolic nature of this inquiry, it is
noted that the Chairs Draft of the Committee Report was provided to the
Committee an hour and a half after the Senate adjourned on the 18 September
2018, the day before the Report was scheduled to be tabled.
Further, it is of deep concern that material provided to the Committee
constantly found its way to the media ahead of it being provided to Committee
Members. This included correspondence from Mr Roman Quaedvlieg which was
seemingly published in Fairfax media well ahead of even the Secretariat
receiving a copy. Much material was also sent directly to the Chair of the
Committee, instead of the Committee Secretariat. This behaviour tainted the
It is also noted the Committee did not seek to call and cross-examine
Mr Roman Quaedvlieg after he made his allegations.
This inquiry was specifically established by Labor and Green Senators in
an effort to examine the provision of visas to 'au pairs' by the Minister for
Home Affairs. This follows several months of Labor Senators along with
supporters, including Mr Quaedvlieg, seeking to raise suspicion and hype
around the allegations now shown to be false. This has included the leaking of
internal emails from the Department of Home Affairs, something that has now
been referred to the Australian Federal Police for a potential criminal breach
of the law.
Despite the very comprehensive trawling from Labor Senators both in the
public hearing and with substantial correspondence back and forth with the
Department, there was no evidence to suggest that the Minister acted
Indeed, contrary to media reports, it is clear that only two visas
relating to 'au pairs' were considered by the Minister and in both cases the
Department of Home Affairs recommended to the Minister in their brief that the
Minister should intervene to provide a short-term tourist visa:
Senator ABETZ: Yes. Just so I fully understand and we can
clarify this absolutely: the minister signed a document which was produced by
the department which had: 'Recommendation that you agree to intervene'—
Mr Pezzullo : To grant the—
Senator ABETZ: Yes—to intervene to grant a tourist visa.
Mr Pezzullo : Yes.
Senator ABETZ: So, as you've indicated to us, your
departmental officials are professional. They would never put before the
minister a recommendation that was either inappropriate or illegal—
Mr Pezzullo : That's right.
Senator ABETZ: and the recommendation here was that the
minister agree to intervene for the granting of a tourist visa?
Mr Pezzullo : I think I've given that evidence already.
The unsustained assertions relied upon in the Majority Report relating
to the exercise of Ministerial Discretion from third parties is interesting but
a poor comparison. As was explored in the hearing, the concerns raised by these
Migration Agents mostly related to requests for Ministerial Intervention for
the purposes of permanent residency or citizenship requests, not a short term
visa as was the circumstance in both the Brisbane and Adelaide cases.
There is a significant material difference between a Minister
intervening to allow for permanent residency in Australia and allowing someone
to visit for three months, noting that in both cases there was not any previous
history of over-staying.
Submissions of Roman Quaedvlieg
It was patently clear that the evidence of the disgraced former
Australian Border Force Commissioner, Mr Quaedvlieg, was severely lacking in
credibility particularly given it was so easily disproven.
For example, in his 5 September correspondence to the Committee, he
In mid-June 2015 I received a call from the Chief of Staff
for the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Craig MacLachlan (sic).
He told me that he was ringing me on behalf of Minister Dutton, whom he
referred to as 'the boss'. He told me that the Minister's friend, whom he
referred to as 'the boss's mate in Brisbane', had encountered a problem with
his prospective au pair who had been detained at Brisbane Airport by
immigration officials due to an anomaly with her visa.
Contrary to this, the Minister in a public statement, noted that:
Mr Maclachlan was not employed by me at that time and didn't
join my staff until 7 October 2015.
Equally, it is impossible for Mr Maclachlan to have had any
knowledge of the matter, at that time, because he was not even employed by the
Department of Immigration and Border Protection.
This has not been disputed.
There are other false assertions in Mr Quaedvlieg’s 5 September letter,
- the assertion he was the ABF Commissioner. Mr Queadvleig which is
demonstrably false given that he was not appointed as ABF Commissioner until
July 2015; and
- the assertion he returned Mr Maclachlan’s phone call to advise
him of the outcome of inquiries he had made through a formal command structure.
There are no emails or other evidence to support Mr Quaedvlieg’s version of
Following this objective destruction of Mr Quaedvlieg’s claims, Mr
Quaedvlieg further wrote to the Committee seeking to recover from his earlier
patently false submission and desperately sought to create a new straw-man:
I concede that I may have been honestly mistaken in anchoring
that conversation to a date in June 2015 however in light of the remarkably
coincidental information I will provide to you below I contend that not only is
it an understandable error, but moreover renders the only logical conclusion
that a second Brisbane ministerial intervention case may merit the Committee’s
Following these further assertions, the Department of Home Affairs was
then asked to provide all intervention briefs signed by the Minister and
specifically whether the Minister or his office considered or intervened in any
further cases. The Department was very clear in its response in both providing
comprehensive evidence that the only two cases considered or intervened in by
the Minister relating to au pairs were the Brisbane and Adelaide cases and that
there were no additional cases involving a person being stopped at Brisbane
Having undertaken extensive searches of case files and
manually reviewing Departmental systems, the Department has not found any
evidence of another case between October 2015 and the end of 2016 involving a
young female from a Western or Southern European country who had been detained
at Brisbane airport due to evidence of an intention to work as an 'au pair'.
Coalition Senators have faith in this undisputed evidence provided by
the Secretary of the Department noting his long and distinguished career as a
public servant and the fact that the Secretary and the Department are well
accustomed to the requirements to be truthful with Senate Committees. As the
Department’s evidence disproves the already systematically discredited evidence
from Mr Quaedvleig's, not a single shred of objective evidence was proffered to
support his assertion of a third case.
Coalition Senators have also noted that Mr Quaedvlieg has seemingly long‑held
bitterness both towards the Minister for Home Affairs and the Government more
broadly following the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity investigation
which resulted in his termination as the Australian Border Force Commissioner.
It is noted that Mr Quaedvlieg remains under criminal investigation by ACLEI
and another person related to that matter is subject to charges.
It appears that Mr Quaedvlieg may have fabricated evidence in an effort
to avenge his termination from his former role. Worse still, Coalition Senators
are concerned at the source of the so-called ‘anonymously leaked’ emails
provided to Labor Senators and the media.
Contrary to the findings and comments in the Majority Report, Coalition
Senators note that the individual emailed the Minister’s public email account –
available to all members of the public on the internet – which operates, in
effect, like a switchboard and in his email made it clear that it had been some
time since they were last in contact by starting the email with 'Long-time
between calls'. Coalition Senators accept the statement by the Minister for Home Affairs that:
I tabled that email yesterday because it indicated that, as
I've said all along, there is not one statement that I've made that the Labor
Party can point to that is factually incorrect. That's the reality. I worked
with that individual in 1998-99. I haven't spoken to him in 20 years. There
were 5,500 police in the Queensland Police Force when I left in July of '99. He
doesn't have my personal mobile number. He doesn't have my personal email
address. He sent an email to my generic, publicly available email account. My
staffer came to me and said, 'I have this email.' My response was: 'Who? Who is
that?' That was my response to it.
The suggestion from Labor Senators that if a Minister has ever
interacted with an individual, no matter how long ago, there may be some bias
or even corruption is farcical. If this view is to be followed to its fullest
extent, Labor Senators should be requiring an individual examination of the
42,499 Ministerial Interventions undertaken by the former Labor Government to ensure Labor Ministers adhered to this newly created standard.
Recommendations – Coalition Senators recommend that:
- The Minister for Home Affairs be commended for his prudent and diligent
work as a Minister;
- Mr Quaedvlieg’s correspondence be referred to the Privileges Committee
and be considered as to whether Privilege should apply to these documents; and
- The Minister for Home Affairs ignore the Majority Report's findings.
Senator the Hon Ian Macdonald
Senator the Hon Eric Abetz
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