Peter Dutton and the au pairs
June – November 2018
Peter Dutton overturned the deportation of three young women working as au pairs. In the first case, an au pair whose visa was cancelled at Brisbane’s international airport in June 2015 made a phone call and within a few hours, Dutton approved a new visa using his ministerial discretion powers.
Dutton was accused of double standards in August 2018 after it emerged that he had refused over many months a request to meet Australian Army veteran Jason Scanes, who was trying to obtain a visa for his Afghan interpreter, whose life was in danger for helping coalition forces. Following media attention, Dutton’s department agreed to review the case but denied the appeal against its original decision.
In November 2015, Dutton granted a visitor’s visa to a second au pair even though his department had warned in writing that the au pair was “high risk” because she had previously been counselled about work restrictions. Media agency AAP fought for two years to access details about the au pairs’ employers. According to Guardian Australia, the case ended up in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, where on April 3, 2018, member Chris Puplick, a former Liberal Party senator, dismissed AAP’s case.
In the case of the third au pair, in November 2015 Dutton overturned a decision to deport a young Frenchwoman Alexandra Deuwel, just a few hours after receiving a phone call on a Sunday. Ms Deuwel had previously been employed by Callum MacLachlan, the joint managing director of the cattle and sheep company Jumbuck Pastoral. The family has donated $150,000 or so over the years to the Liberal party. Six months after Dutton’s intervention in the matter involving Ms Deuwel, Mr MacLachlan’s father Hugh donated $50,000 to the Liberal Party’s South Australian branch. Dutton’s decision followed lobbying by AFL boss Gillon McLachlan on behalf of his cousin Callum MacLachlan.