Au pair re­prieve ig­nored ad­vice

Warwick Daily News - - NATION -

PETER Dut­ton de­fied ad­vice from the Aus­tralian Bor­der Force when he in­ter­vened to stop a French au pair be­ing de­ported af­ter be­ing lob­bied by AFL boss Gill McLach­lan.

Mr Dut­ton says he saved the nanny be­cause he thought it was a “bit rough” for a young woman with no crim­i­nal his­tory to get kicked out.

How­ever, in do­ing so, he over­ruled ad­vice from a se­nior ABF of­fi­cer, who warned that de­tails pro­vided by the young woman did not sup­port the min­is­ter step­ping in.

Mr Dut­ton was also told there would be a “fi­nan­cial li­a­bil­ity” in al­low­ing the woman to stay, as her re­turn air­fares were al­ready booked.

Alexan­dra Deuwel, 27, ar­rived at Ade­laide air­port on Oc­to­ber 31, 2015. She was ar­rested by ABF of­fi­cers af­ter ad­mit­ting she in­tended to work, in breach of her tourist visa, for Ade­laide-based farmer Cal­lum Ma­cLach­lan, who is Gill McLach­lan’s sec­ond cousin.

Of­fi­cers can­celled her visa and Ms Deuwel was placed in im­mi­gra­tion de­ten­tion, pend­ing her de­por­ta­tion.

How­ever, the AFL boss lob­bied the min­is­ter’s of­fice on be­half of his rel­a­tives, urg­ing Mr Dut­ton to let her stay.

Mr Dut­ton’s chief of staff was for­warded an email – since leaked to sev­eral me­dia out­lets – writ­ten by Cal­lum Ma­cLach­lan and his wife Skye. “There has clearly been a misun­der­stand­ing that she was in­tend­ing to work for us when is here to spend time with our fam­ily, as we con­sider her to be fam­ily,” the cou­ple wrote.

The min­is­ter used his dis­cre­tionary pow­ers to grant her a three-month tourist visa, on the con­di­tion she did not work.

Mr Dut­ton, who is now Home Af­fairs Min­is­ter, said he weighed up the case based on its mer­its, rather than the per­son who had re­ferred it.

He ar­gued that ref­er­ences to the woman be­ing an au pair were “flow­ery lan­guage” and “com­plete non­sense”.

“I looked at it and thought it’s a bit rough, there’s no crim­i­nal his­tory, she’s agreed that she wouldn’t work while she was here,” Mr Dut­ton (pic­tured) said yes­ter­day. “As I un­der­stand it, she never over­stayed the visa, hasn’t com­mit­ted any of­fences, and I thought it was an ap­pli­ca­tion of com­mon sense.”

Mr Dut­ton claimed “en­e­mies in the me­dia” were dredg­ing the case up to “get square” for his role in bring­ing down Mal­colm Turn­bull in a lead­er­ship coup last week. “I am a per­son of in­tegrity, I’ve never been com­pro­mised,” he said.

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