Army vet’s meeting with Minister Dutton
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.