Army vet’s meet­ing with Min­is­ter Dut­ton

Dubbo Photo News - - Front page - By JOHN RYAN

AF­TER years of fight­ing, Forsaken Fighters’ founder Ja­son Scanes fi­nally got a meet­ing with home af­fairs min­is­ter Peter Dut­ton at the end of last week to dis­cuss why the Min­is­ter wouldn’t grant a visa to an Afghani in­ter­preter who served with the Aus­tralian Army when Cap­tain Scanes was de­ployed in Afghanistan.

Re­ports in Dubbo Photo News over the past two months have de­tailed the former Dubbo army man’s on­go­ing ef­forts to se­cure the visa, cul­mi­nat­ing in the is­sue be­ing raised in fed­eral par­lia­ment last month by Op­po­si­tion Leader Bill Shorten.

AF­TER years of fight­ing, Forsaken Fighters’ Ja­son Scanes fi­nally got a meet­ing with home af­fairs min­is­ter Peter Dut­ton at the end of last week to dis­cuss why the Min­is­ter won’t grant a visa to an Afghani in­ter­preter who served with the Aus­tralian Army when the former Cap­tain Scanes was de­ployed in Afghanistan.

The former Dubbo res­i­dent who is now liv­ing in Queens­land had spent days out­side Mr Dut­ton’s elec­torate of­fice as well as his par­lia­men­tary digs in Can­berra, to no avail.

As re­ported last Thurs­day in Dubbo Photo News, op­po­si­tion leader Bill Shorten raised the case in fed­eral par­lia­ment on Septem­ber 20, as Ja­son Scanes sat in the gallery above. Min­is­ter Dut­ton re­sponded by promis­ing to meet with Cap­tain Scanes but at the time of our re­port last week Scanes was still wait­ing.

So it was a re­lieved Cap­tain Scanes who re­ported last Fri­day that he had fi­nally had his meet­ing with the Min­is­ter.

“Pro­duc­tive dis­cus­sion re­gard­ing FFSA work­ing with the Govern­ment, look­ing at ways to im­prove the visa process for all Mis­sion Es­sen­tial Per­son­nel (MEP),” Mr Scanes said af­ter­wards.

“Whilst it has been a long road to meet with the Min­is­ter he was not rushed, he was open to pos­si­ble ways we might be able to value add and im­prove the visa path­way for our MEP and he, along with the many other MPS, in­clud­ing the Hon Bill Shorten MP, have all ac­knowl­edged the ser­vice of both our vet­er­ans and those that have as­sisted us dur­ing times of con­flict.

“I ap­pre­ci­ate the time and con­sid­er­a­tion from all MPS on this im­por­tant is­sue and look for­ward to ways to work with them in the fu­ture,” Cap­tain Scanes said.

Mr Dut­ton has been un­der im­mense pres­sure on this is­sue af­ter rev­e­la­tions he dis­re­garded de­part­men­tal ad­vice in two sep­a­rate in­stances, in both cases al­low­ing at­trac­tive Euro­pean au pairs to be granted visas to stay ei­ther with peo­ple known to him, or who have in­flu­ence within the Lib­eral Party.

The so­cial me­dia com­ments came thick, fast and scathing in the wake of the meet­ing. Caro­line Jeffs said there “must be an elec­tion loom­ing”, Fran Yule be­lieved Dut­ton was try­ing to look like a “fair dinkum bloke get­ting points”.

Paul Rawl­ings said, “Don’t hold your breath – Dut­ton’s play­ing for time hop­ing you’ll go away – leop­ards don’t change their spots, nei­ther do politi­cians.” Mr Rawl­ings went on to say that “Dut­ton could have de­cided to al­low the in­ter­preter in then and there, as he did with the au pairs, (but) in­stead he kicked it back down the line to gain more time.”

Peter Dut­ton (left) with Cap­tain Ja­son Scanes last week.

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