Showing posts with label Peter Dutton. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Peter Dutton. Show all posts

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Australian Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton makes a grab for even more surveillance powers



Crikey, 15 May 2020:

The government’s proposed scheme to enable foreign intelligence services to spy on Australians will enable Australia’s intelligence agencies to circumvent measures designed to protect journalists from unfettered pursuit of their sources.

Labor’s Mark Dreyfus yesterday exposed the loophole, with Home Affairs officials left unable and unwilling to explain why their minister Peter Dutton was proposing a runaround on existing procedures designed to protect journalists’ sources.

The Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (International Production Orders) Bill 2020 will to pave the way for agreements between Australia and the United States, and other “like-minded countries”, for the direct accessing of surveillance information, including real-time wiretapping, by intelligence agencies from both counterpart countries. In Australia, such requests would be signed off by members of the Security Division of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT), which is heavily stacked with former Coalition MPs and staffers.

In hearings before the intelligence and security committee yesterday, shadow attorney-general Dreyfus asked Dutton’s bureaucrats why existing protections around accessing the metadata of journalists were not part of the proposed process.

When the Abbott government introduced mass surveillance laws in 2015, the mainstream media belatedly realised that journalists’ phone and IT records would be easily accessed by intelligence and law enforcement agencies under “data retention” laws. In response, a “Journalist Information Warrant” (JIW) process was hastily put together that would require agencies to apply for a special warrant, with more stringent thresholds and procedural safeguards, like a Public Interest Advocate, if agencies wanted to obtain data relating to a journalist’s sources.

No such safeguard exists under the International Production Orders (IPO) process, meaning that if a journalist’s data was held by a US company — such as Google, Apple, Facebook or Microsoft — it could be obtained by ASIO or the Australian Federal Police (AFP) from those companies through an IPO without a Journalist Information Warrant, unlike information held by a local company such as Telstra.

Are you able to tell us why an Australian journalists whose telecoms data is held by a US carrier should have fewer protections than an Australian journalist whose telecoms data is held in Australia?” Dreyfus asked Home Affairs bureaucrats…..

Dreyfus pressed further. The Journalist Information Warrant process was not replicated in this bill, was it, he asked.

It is not replicated,” Warnes had to admit, before insisting an AAT authorisation was enough protection.

Dreyfus went further. “The Journalist Information Warrant process has a public interests monitor provided. There is no such public interest monitor provided in the authorisation process that is provided under this bill is there?”

That’s correct,” the bureaucrat admitted.

So it’s not the same level of protection for journalists whose data is held by a US carrier. It’s a lesser level of protection isn’t it?” said Dreyfus.

Different considerations at play, yes,” Warnes , humiliated, had to admit.

Dreyfus also pointed out that the Journalist Information Warrant process had additional criteria that had to be considered in granting warrants. They weren’t in the IPO scheme, were they?

That’s correct,” Warnes said.

So why should an Australian journalist whose telecoms data is held by a US carrier have fewer protections than an Australian journalist whose telecoms data is held in Australia?”

I don’t have anything further to add,” Warnes said.

Dreyfus told him to come back to the committee with a better explanation for why the loophole was being pursued by the government…..

Friday, 15 May 2020

Law Council of Australia is very concerned with some aspects of Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton's proposed amendments to the Australian Security and Intelligence Act 1975 (Cth) (ASIO Act)


"The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Amendment Bill 2020 will modernise ASIO's powers and, in doing so, improve ASIO's capacity to respond to these threats [by]....lowering the minimum age of a questioning subject in relation to a terrorism matter from 16 to 14...empowering the Attorney-General to issue warrants, including orally....allow non-intrusive tracking devices, such as a device placed on a vehicle, or in a person's bag, to be authorised internally...." [Minister for Home Affairs & Liberal MP for Dickson Peter Dutton in House of Representatives Hansard, 13 May 2020]

Law Council of Australia, media release, 13 May 2020:

Statement on proposed amendments to the ASIO Act by Law Council President, Pauline Wright


The Law Council of Australia is very concerned with some aspects of the proposed amendments to the Australian Security and Intelligence Act 1975 (Cth) (ASIO Act) released today in parliament.
If adopted, the amendments would redesign the Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation’s (ASIO’s) compulsory questioning warrant regime and repeal its specific detention powers.
It would also make some significant changes to ASIO’s surveillance powers, including permitting warrantless (that is, internally authorised) surveillance in relation to the use of certain tracking devices.
The Law Council welcomes the repeal of the ASIO detention regime in relation to the investigation of terrorism, which is consistent with its longstanding policy position. However, the amendments propose a re-design of the use of questioning warrants and we are concerned that there may be very limited time to scrutinise the proposed laws, which are lengthy, complex and highly intrusive on individual rights.
The proposal to reduce the age of minors who may be subject to questioning from 16 to 14 years and the conferral of powers on police to apprehend and detain persons for the purpose of bringing them in for compulsory questioning also requires detailed scrutiny by the Law Council, amongst the many other amendments.
The Law Council is concerned that the government is now rushing the Bill, despite having had over two years to develop the re-designed questioning legislation since the PJCIS tabled its report in May 2018.
Now there is a sense of urgency given that ASIO’s current questioning powers are due to sunset in 7 September, and the amendments are set to commence by or before that date.
This is not a Bill to be hurried through.
The Law Council will need to carefully scrutinise the Bill and we look forward to providing a comprehensive submission to the inquiry. 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Amendment Bill 2020 can be found here.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 14 May 2020:

With Federal Parliament flat out dealing with the social and economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, now is hardly the right time for a government to introduce legislation giving ASIO the power to question 14-year-old children, interfere with the rights of legal advisers, and enable the tracking of individuals without the need for a warrant..... 

Dutton's law would allow ASIO to seek a warrant so it can question young people aged 14 to 18 if they are a target of an ASIO investigation into politically motivated violence: broad criteria to say the least. 

Then there is a serious attack on the fundamental right of a person, whether they be 14 or 40, to choose their own lawyer when they are subject to investigation by ASIO. The bill allows for a prescribed authority, which is a judge or Administrative Appeals member selected by the government, to stop a person ASIO is seeking to question from contacting their lawyer if "satisfied, based on circumstances relating to the lawyer, that, if the subject is permitted to contact the lawyer, a person involved in activity prejudicial to security may be alerted that the activity is being investigated, or that a record or other thing the subject may be requested to produce might be destroyed, damaged or altered". 

This power is sweeping and allows for hearsay "evidence" to be used. All ASIO would have to do is tell the judge or AAT member that it has heard from "sources" that the lawyer requested by the detainee is a security risk. 

But even if the lawyer passes muster and sits with his or her client, the ASIO officers doing the questioning can have the lawyer removed. The explanatory memorandum of the bill says that can happen, "if the lawyer's conduct is unduly disrupting questioning. This may be the case where, for example, a lawyer repeatedly interrupts questioning (other than to make reasonable requests for clarification or a break to provide advice), in a way that prevents or hinders questions being asked or answered." So if the ASIO officers are badgering or harassing a frightened 14-year-old, or asking questions that are completely irrelevant, they have carte blanche. 

As a lawyer, one hears and reads stories about colleagues in authoritarian states where such powers are given to and used by security agencies, but one never expected it in democratic Australia....

Friday, 24 April 2020

The fact that Minister for Home Affairs & Liberal MP for Dickson Peter Dutton is always lurking in the shadows during national crises continues to be a worry


"I’m going to keep going until I get the numbers. I’m not stopping" [Minister for Home Affairs & Liberal MP for Dickson Peter Dutton on the subject of his desire to be Australian prime minister, quoted in "The Bigger Picture", April 2020]

It has become notable that since September-August 2018 when Peter Dutton's bid to topple then prime minister Malcolm Turnbull succeeded but his bid to become Australian prime minister failed - primarily because he and Turnbull were both outfoxed by a duplicitous Scott Morrison - Dutton disappears into the shadows during the worst phases of national crises or major political scandal.

One suspects he does so as he doesn't want voters to negatively associate him with either crises or scandal, because he hasn't given up his ambition to be prime minister after the next federal election.

As Dutton's worldview is as much a threat to democratic processes as is the worldview of current prime minister Scott Morrison, voters would do well to keep in mind what Dutton would like to impose on Australian society.

Sydney Criminal Lawyers, 20 April 2020:

Peter Dutton Proposes Prison for Refusing to Provide Passwords

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has been absent from the media spotlight in recent times, ever since he contracted coronavirus.

And many are asking where the man at the helm of curtailing civil liberties on a federal level has been in the midst of the current pandemic.

The man at the helm of the surveillance state

Mr Dutton has been credited with proposing a wide range of laws designed to increase the power of authorities at the expense of individual liberties.

Perhaps most recently, Mr Dutton proposed laws which would result in prison time for those who fail or refuse to hand over their passwords or PINs when requested to do so by authorities.

Peter Dutton has said the laws are needed to help police catch criminals who are hiding behind encryption technology – a line we have heard many times before as the country’s law makers put in place draconian measures to grant police and other authorities surveillance powers that encroach upon our privacy.

Under the proposals, which is currently on hold, people who are not even suspected of a crime, could face a fine of up to $50,000 and up to five years’ imprisonment for declining to provide a password to their smartphone, computer or other electronic devices.

Furthermore, anyone (an IT professional, for example) who refuses to help the authorities crack a computer system when ordered will face up to five years in prison. If the crime being investigated is terrorism-related then the penalty for non-compliance increases to 10 years in prison and/or a $126,000 fine.

Tech companies who refuse to assist authorities to crack encryption when asked to do so, will face up to $10 million in fines. What’s more, if any employee of the company tells anyone else they have been told to do this, they will face up to five years in gaol.

Under the legislation, foreign countries can also ask Australia’s Attorney General for police to access data in your computer to help them investigate law-breaking overseas.

Australia’s hyper-legislative response to September 11

Since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States, the Australian parliament has responded to the threat of terrorism here and overseas by enacting more than 80 new laws and amending existing laws – many of them with wide-reaching consequences, such as the terrorism laws used to conduct raids on journalist Annika Smethurst’s home and the ABC’s head offices, as well as charge former military lawyer and whistleblower David Mc Bride with offences that could see him spending the rest of his life in gaol.

Controversial metadata laws too, introduced in 2015, seriously impact our personal privacy requiring telecommunications companies to retain metadata including information on who you call or text, where you make calls from, and who you send emails to.

The problem is that once these kinds of extraordinarily heavy-handed powers are legislated, they are very seldom retracted or rescinded. In many cases, over time, they are expanded. Australia’s oversight body the Australian Law Reform Commission can review laws that are already in place, but it has limited powers which only enable the commission to make recommendations for change, not to actually change the laws themselves.

Police already have the power to seize a phone or laptop if you have been arrested.

Border Force has even more extensive seize and search powers.

The extensive powers of border force

In 2018, Border Force made headlines after intercepting an British-Australian citizen travelling through Sydney airport seizing his devices.

Nathan Hague, a software developer was not told what would be done with his devices, why they were being inspected or whether his digital data was being copied and stored. He believes his laptop password was cracked.

Australian Border Forces have extensive powers to search people’s baggage at Australian airports. These are contained in section 186 of Customs Act 1901 (Cth). These include opening baggage, reading documents, and using an X-ray or detection dog to search baggage.

The Customs Act allows officers to retain an electronic device for up to 14 days if there is no content on the device which renders it subject to seizure. And if it is subject to seizure, the device may be withheld for a longer period.

ABF officers have the power to copy a document if they’re satisfied it may contain information relevant to prohibited goods, to certain security matters or an offence against the Customs Act. A document includes information on phones, SIM cards, laptops, recording devices and computers.

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Australian Home Affairs Minister calls for welfare payments to be stopped for climate change protesters


The six-person protest in Creek Street, Brisbane
Image: Daily Mail
According to an interview with 2GB radio shock jock Ray Hadley, Australian Minister for Home Affairs & Liberal MP for Dickson Peter Dutton is not happy with six climate change protesters belonging to Extinction Rebellion blocking Creek Street, Brisbane, for one hour and forty minutes on Wednesday 2 October 2019.

He also took exception to the fact that the magistrate they appeared before did not record convictions after all six entered guilty pleas.

Of course in the end Dutton sheeted home the blame for this incident to Queensland Labor governments appointing magistrates who were too tolerant of civil disobedience – just as he did in 2016 after Magistrate Trevor Morgan said he would probably be proud if it were his daughter taking part in protest action.

It seems Dutton hasn’t forgotten those protesters who climbed on his electoral office roof in 2016.

The New Daily, 3 October 2019: 

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has called for climate change protesters to be “named and shamed”, jailed and have their welfare payments stopped. 

Warning protesters in Queensland are “putting lives at risk”, Mr Dutton said the fines are not good enough after the activist group Extinction Rebellion caused traffic chaos in Brisbane. 

“The community expectation is that these people are fined or jailed and they should be jailed until their behaviour changes because they are putting lives at risks. They are diverting police and emergency service resources from tasks they should be undertaking otherwise,” Mr Dutton said. 

Speaking on radio 2GB, Mr Dutton was then asked by host Ray Hadley if the protesters should have their welfare payments stopped because they are “bludgers sticking themselves to roads”. 

“Well, I agree, Ray,” he said….. 

Mr Dutton urged people to surveil the protesters and distribute their images. 

“People should take these names and the photos of these people and distribute them as far and wide as they can, so that we shame these people,” Mr Dutton said. 

“They are acting outside of the law. Let their families know what you think of their behaviour.” 

“They keep turning up week after week because a slap on the wrist is just not working.” 

Mr Dutton also called for mandatory sentencing of protesters disrupting traffic and shutting down cities….. 

“But you know raiding farms, climbing on to the roof of my electoral office and then get told by the magistrate he would be proud of her if it his daughter had done it.

The Saturday Paper, 4 October 2019:

A number of Liberal National Party MPs have supported Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton’s call to strip welfare payments from climate protesters and jail them. Employment Minister Michaelia Cash told The Australian ($): “Taxpayers should not be ­expected to subsidise the protests of others.” Other supporters include ($) Scott Buchholz, the assistant minister for road safety. Their backing comes after Dutton agreed with the 2GB radio host Ray Hadley that welfare payments of climate protesters should be cut and added: “they should be jailed until their behaviour changes”.  The Greens leader, Richard Di Natale, told the ABC that Dutton was starting to “sound more like a dictator than he is an elected politician. Because somebody says something that he doesn’t like, that he doesn’t support, he’s saying we’re going to strip away income support.” Some activists have taken leave from their jobs to protest against government inaction on climate change. The Morrison government is also seeking to require Newstart recipients who fail drug tests to use cashless welfare cards.

Thursday, 1 August 2019

Every journalist,political commentator, blogger & tweeter who has ever been critical of government - be afraid, be very afraid


The Mercury, 29 July 2019: 

Last week the rise of authoritarian government was confirmed with the Morrison Government, aided by the as usual spineless Labor Party, passing legislation which would allow the Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton to block any Australian from returning to this country for up to two years on the grounds they are associated with terrorism, even in the most tangential way. And as Crikey, a news site, revealed last week, the Morrison Government revealed its complete contempt for the rule of law and independent scrutiny of the power Mr Dutton now has vested in him. 

While the Counter-Terrorism (Temporary Exclusion Orders) Act, to give the law its formal name, is designed to stop Australians who have fought in Syria, Iraq or elsewhere for organisations deemed to be terrorist, from returning to this country, one section in the Act appears so broadly drafted it could be used to prevent whistleblowers, journalists and others who reveal the secrets of the US, Australia and other allies in the so-called war on terror from re-entering Australia. 

Section 10 of the Act gives Mr Dutton the power to prevent a person, aged 14 or over, from coming back to Australia for up to two years at a time on a number of grounds. 

One of those grounds is that “the person has been assessed by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation to be directly or indirectly a risk to security … for reasons related to politically motivated violence.” This provision is extraordinarily broad. How might ASIO think that a person is “directly or indirectly a risk to security” because of some link to terrorism, which is what politically motivated violence means. 

Does it include a whistleblower who reveals US and Australian misconduct in the context of the ongoing military operations in Afghanistan or Iraq? 

Or what about a journalist and publisher who lets the world see cables, emails and other forms of communication to and from Australian security and defence agencies and which relate to terrorist activity? 

The answer is yes, it could apply in both cases. When whistleblowers, media organisations and journalists have published material such as in the case of WikiLeaks, the Iraq War Logs, or the trove of materials that former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden smuggled out in 2013 such exercises have been labelled as irresponsible and assisting terrorism…... 

If ASIO answers yes, and of course its reasons for the assessment cannot be challenged because they are secret, then the loose wording of section 10 suggests that Mr Dutton would be prepared to issue an order preventing those individuals from entering Australia for up to two years. 

To give a minister such enormous power to interfere with the right to freedom of speech and free movement is indicative of a mindset that cares nothing for the rule of law or democracy. 

Even the parliamentary committee which looks at security legislation, and which is chaired by a Liberal MP Andrew Hastie and includes Tasmanian Liberal senator Eric Abetz, was ignored by the Morrison Government in this case. 

The committee in question, the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security, is a highly regarded bipartisan committee that routinely looks at security legislation and whose recommendations are adopted by government because of its expertise. 

Bernard Keane writing in Crikey last Thursday revealed that the committee had recommended that an independent person be given the role of considering banning returning citizens. 

But Mr Dutton justified ignoring the committee’s recommendation in what can only be described as an exercise in gross manipulation of the facts….. 

The Morrison Government would only accept the bipartisan committee’s recommendation if “it was in the national interest” to do so. 

In other words, Mr Dutton and the Morrison Government generally do not believe in a fundamental premise of the rule of law. It is anathema to democracy for ministers to have unbridled power when it comes to dealing with people’s lives. 

Another bad week for Australian democracy. [my yellow highlighting]


Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Morrison goes full Trump and democracy begins to suffer



Channel 9 News online, 22 November 2018:

Scott Morrison insists police need immediate access to encrypted messages to stop future terror attacks.

The prime minister says new laws giving police access to the messages must pass federal parliament in the final sitting fortnight of the year, after three men charged with plotting a terror attack in Melbourne were accused of using encrypted communications.

"Our police, our agencies need these powers now," Mr Morrison told reporters in Sydney on Thursday.

"I would insist on seeing them passed before the end of the next sitting fortnight."
He said the foiled Melbourne plot showed it was incredibly important for authorities to have powers to intercept encrypted messages on apps like WhatsApp.

Mr Morrison urged the committee examining the laws to wind-up its review as soon as possible so the laws can be passed.

The Liberal-chaired committee has scheduled three public hearings on the bill, with the final one set for December 4 - two days before parliament rises for the year.
To pass the encryption legislation before then, the Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security would likely have to bring forward or abandon the hearings.

The next Encryption Bill public hearings are scheduled for 27 November, 30 November and 4 December 2018. In addition to evidence from the full five hearings there are 87 submissions the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security needs to evaluate before writing its report to Parliament.

Both Prime Minster Scott Morrison and Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton are reportedly applying pressure to the Joint Committee to throw out standard parliamentary practice and deliver its report no later than 3 December.

It appears that both theses hard-right politicians are determined to kill off democratic processes whenever they see an opportunity to do so.

Monday, 17 September 2018

Will Dutton face the High Court?


On 23 August 2018 sixty-nine members of the Turnbull Coalition Government voted down a Labor motion to refer the Minister for Home Affairs and MP for Dickson, Peter Dutton, to the Court of Disputed Returns.

Included in this sixty-nine was Peter Dutton himself and most of the forty-five MPs who a day later refused to support Dutton's second leadership bid, as well as some reported to now be keeping their options open concerning referral to the Court. 

It seems that another motion is being prepared and there is no guarantee that the vote would go Dutton's way in a Morrison Coalition Government

News.com.au, 15 September 2018:

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has been dealt another legal blow as constitutional law expert Anne Twomey says her advice for his referral to the High Court is "stronger" than ever.

Professor Twomey told The Australian the Solicitor-General's opinion brings up information about funding for the child care centres owned by Mr Dutton's family trust which "raised considerably the risk of disqualification" under section 44 of the constitution.

This new assessment comes after Julie Bishop called for "clarity" over Mr Dutton's eligibility and backed former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull's calls for his referral.
Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen told reporters in Sydney on Saturday that it was "very important" that Mr Dutton be referred.

"I see one of Australia's most eminent constitutional lawyers, Anne Twomey, suggesting today that the case for the reference to the High Court has been increased, is now stronger," he said.

Mr Bowen wouldn't say if and when Labor would make a second attempt to move a motion to refer Mr Dutton to the High Court, only that "we'll keep our options open."

A Labor motion for a referral was defeated by just one vote on August 23.

Ms Bishop hasn't ruled out crossing the floor to support the motion, saying if a vote was called: "I will make up my mind at that time".

Crossbenchers Cathy McGowan and Rebekha Sharkie told The Conversation on Wednesday that they would vote for a referral.

Ms McGowan said, "it should be done quickly and efficiently and effectively and sorted out."

"I think it's taking up a huge amount of space in parliament at the moment," she said."

According to The Saturday Paper, Mr Dutton only absented from one cabinet discussion on child care, despite having regularly declared his family investments.

A spokesperson for Mr Dutton said: "The minister has complied with the Statement of Ministerial Standards and the Cabinet Handbook. Suggestions to the contrary are false".

News.com.au, 15 September 2018:

The Greens are preparing a vote in parliament to check Home Affairs minister's eligibility over questions about his family financial interest in two childcare centres.
A similar motion failed by just one vote on Malcolm Turnbull's second last day as prime minister.

"I have taken advice in relation to my position, which put the question beyond doubt," Mr Dutton told parliament on Thursday.

Section 44 of the constitution disqualifies anyone who has a "direct or indirect pecuniary interest" in any agreement with the Commonwealth.

Childcare centres now get direct funding from the Commonwealth, which is then passed through to parents.

"Every day he continues on in this place there's going to be a huge cloud over him and over the government," Greens leader Richard Di Natale told reporters on Friday.

Greens MP Adam Bandt has been speaking to Liberal MPs about voting to refer Mr Dutton to the High Court, and the Greens believe support is rising.....

At the height of the Liberal leadership crisis, Solicitor General Stephen Donaghue advised he could not categorically determine Mr Dutton's status and only the High Court could.

However Mr Donaghue found on balance Mr Dutton was "not incapable" of sitting as an MP.....

A News Corp report on Friday claimed two government MPs are considering voting with Labor in forcing Mr Dutton to the High Court.

The report understands the rogue MPs are planning to use the threat of crossing the floor to force Mr Morrison to refer Mr Dutton to the High Court.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says he won't act on Mr Turnbull's advice.

He's also checking whether Mr Dutton stepped out of cabinet when the childcare funding changes were discussed.

Sunday, 16 September 2018

A sign of increasing desperation on Australian Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton's part?


After threatening to bring into the House of Representatives files he kept on members of parliament when he Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Minister for Home Affairs and Liberal MP for Dickson Peter Dutton made sure two particular files were very visible on 11 September 2018.



Images found on Twitter

After he quoted from these files the Opposition requested that they be tabled. A request Dutton refused.



Watching these files deployed prior to and during Question Time, in what looked suspiciously like a form of visual intimidation, did little to enhance Dutton's defence of his own actions as immigration minister in 2015.

Friday, 14 September 2018

Dutton doubles down in a very public fight


“Grooming is when someone builds an emotional connection with a child to gain their trust for the purposes of sexual abuse, sexual exploitation or trafficking. Children and young people can be groomed online or face-to-face, by a stranger or by someone they know - for example a family member, friend or professional.”  [National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, 2018]

The Canberra Times, 11 September 2018:

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has dramatically escalated his attack on Roman Quaedvlieg, claiming the former Border Force commissioner "groomed" a woman 30 years his junior.

Mr Dutton also said Mr Quaedvlieg – who has emerged as a key figure in the high-profile saga surrounding the Minister's interventions in visa matters – was Labor's Godwin Grech, a reference to the former Treasury official whose misleading evidence in the "Utegate" scandal helped destroy Malcolm Turnbull's first stint as Liberal leader.

On Tuesday, amid ongoing scrutiny of Mr Dutton's conduct, Fairfax Media reported he pressed Mr Quaedvlieg in 2014 to help two Queensland policemen get jobs in the newly formed Border Force.

In response to questions from Labor in question time, the Home Affairs Minister said Mr Quaedvlieg was spreading lies.

"This smear is coming from the former Australian Border Force commissioner, a man who was, as commissioner, sacked from his position. He was a man who had groomed a girl 30 years younger than himself. He is discredited and disgraced," Mr Dutton said.

Mr Quaedvlieg, 53, was sacked from Border Force earlier this year after he was found to have helped his younger girlfriend, Sarah Rogers, reportedly 22 years old, get a job within the agency.

"He is somebody that the Labor Party should not rely on. A lot has been promised to the Labor Party  but it's clear to me that Roman Quaedvlieg is your Godwin Grech."
Mr Quaedvlieg immediately responded to the attack, saying they were "curious, stuttering, rambling comments". He noted Mr Dutton was making the comments under parliamentary privilege, protecting him from legal action.

"Grooming? Are you serious? That has a legislative meaning. Is that what he meant?" he said on Twitter.

Quaedvlieg has since written to the Speaker of the House of Representatives complaining that Dutton has abused parliamentary privilege.

The Dutton allegations......

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QhPorZ3tWoo

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Australian Minister for Home Affairs & Liberal MP for Dickson still has questions to answer


Peter Dutton. Image credit The Chronicle
In six days time the Senate Standing Committee Legal and Constitutional Affairs will deliver its report on an investigation into then Immigration Minister Peter Dutton's alleged improper use of ministerial powers.

Meanwhile the list of potentially questionable situations appears to be growing........

The Guardian, 30 August 2018:

One of the foreign au pairs Peter Dutton saved from deportation came to Australia to work for the family of a former police force colleague, Guardian Australia understands.

Dutton used his ministerial powers under the Migration Act in June 2015 to grant a visa to an Italian au pair who was intending to work for a Brisbane family.

The couple have worked for the Queensland police service and have two young children. The Guardian has decided not to name them.

The matter is one of at least two au pair visa cases which are now the subject of a Senate inquiry.

Guardian Australia revealed on Tuesday that Dutton had saved another au pair from deportation, intervening after the AFL chief executive officer, Gillon McLachlan, raised the young woman’s case on behalf of his relatives.

An email chain was leaked on Thursday featuring the correspondence of immigration officials, Peter Dutton’s office, an AFL staffer, McLachlan and his second cousin. The emails run over 14 pages and indicate that Dutton overruled border security advice and allowed entry to Australia for the French woman, Alexandra Deuwel, on 1 November 2015.

In the Queensland case, the Italian au pair had her visa cancelled upon arrival at Brisbane’s international airport on 17 June 2015. She was able to make a phone call and soon afterwards Dutton approved a new visa.

There are pictures on her Facebook profile showing she ate Tim Tams and Caramello Koalas on her first night in Australia, after the visa dramas were resolved. “First night in Australia.. FINALLY!” she wrote.

She later visited Surfers Paradise, Brisbane’s agricultural show the Ekka, Australia Zoo, Melbourne, and posed for pictures by the Brisbane River.

The au pair’s case file names the Brisbane family as her hosts, a source told Guardian Australia.

Dutton was a police officer from 1990 until 1999 before being elected to federal parliament in 2001. In 1997 Dutton and the family’s father completed a surveillance course together and were pictured in a group photograph.

Asked if the au pair was intending to work for his family, the policeman told Guardian Australia: “Not confirming, not denying. Just talk to Peter Dutton’s office. It’s well above my call as to what to say.”

The visa status of two au pairs have been in the spotlight since March, when it was revealed Dutton granted them visas on public interest grounds.

Crime and Corruption Commission (Queensland), excerpt from media release, 14 August 2018:

The Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) has tabled a report in State Parliament this afternoon following the completion of its investigation into Ipswich City Council.
The CCC commenced Operation Windage in October 2016 to investigate allegations of corrupt conduct relating to the then Mayor, Chief Executive Officer and a Chief Operating Officer.

The investigation has resulted in 15 people being charged with 86 criminal offences. Of the 15 people charged, seven are either current or former council employees or councillors. This includes two mayors, two CEOs and one Chief Operating Officer.

Queensland Parliament, tabled papers, 8 August 2017:

Since this issue became public Dutton has begun to publicly threaten his critics. 

Revealing he kept files on Opposition members of parliament (and presumably other individuals) who approached him as Minister for Immigration and Border Protection and, that he fully intends to use the contents of these files against his critics if he feels the need.



When parliament resumes sitting next week Greens MP for Melbourne Adam Bandt, seconded by Independent MP for Denison Andrew Wilkie and supported by Labor MPs, will move a motion of no confidence in the Minister for Home Affairs over the visa for au pairs affair.

It will likely fail by a slim margin, as MP for Page Kevin Hogan's faux change from Nationals MP to an independent member sitting on the cross benches (in order to save his seat at the next federal election) will still see him support the dysfunctional Morrison Government and an ethically challenged Peter Dutton.

The Standing Committee Legal and Constitutional Affairs public hearing re allegations concerning the inappropriate exercise of ministerial powers, with respect to the
visa status of au pairs, and related matters commences at 9am today 5 September 2016.

BACKGROUND

House of Representatives Hansard, 26 March 2018:

Shayne Neumann (Blair):  
I refer to concerns raised in the media today relating to the minister's use of his ministerial discretion to grant a tourist visa to an au pair. Was his decision based on departmental advice? If not, what prompted the minister to intervene? And will the minister undertake to provide the opposition with a departmental briefing at the earliest opportunity so the facts can be made clear?
Peter Dutton (Dickson): I thank the honourable member for his question. At last a question from the member for Blair! Well done! Fighting away on tactics each day—finally, you've risen to the top of the pile. It is six past three. You have missed out on television but, nonetheless, it's throw the dog a bone, I guess. There are media reports around today which talk about a decision that I made in relation to a visa. There are defamatory parts of that which I'm going to address with the journalist. Our family does not employ an au pair. My wife takes very good care in my absence of our three children. We have never employed an au pair. I have instructed before that that story is completely false and yet it still continues to be published.

In relation to the matter otherwise, I will release more detail which I'm putting together at the moment. As I say, it is defamatory. I won't tolerate it being printed again. I make decisions—

I won't! I won't have my family—

I won't have false details, as the Leader of the Opposition would appreciate as well, about my wife and my children printed. I won't stand for it. That's the reality.
I make hundreds of decisions each year in relation to ministerial discretion under the Migration Act, as has been the case with many ministers passed. There are cases brought to me by members on the frontbench and members of this parliament on a regular basis. I look at the individual circumstances around each matter. If I determine that there is an interest in me intervening in those cases, I do. In many cases I look at the particular facts. For example, the honourable shadow Treasurer—nodding away—writes to me regularly in relation to matters. If I deem the circumstances to be appropriate, I intervene. In this particular matter—again I'm happy to release further detail—I was advised at the time there were two matters, only one to which you are referring at the moment.
There were two young tourists who had come in on a tourist visa and declared in an interview with the Border Force officers at the airport—I was advised—they were here on a tourist visa but intended to perform babysitting duties while here. The decision that was taken, I was advised, was that the tourist visas would be cancelled, that those two young tourists would be detained and that they would be deported. I looked into the circumstances of those two cases and I thought that inappropriate. I thought if they gave an undertaking they wouldn't work while they were here, I would grant the tourist visas and they would stay, which they did. They didn't overstay; they returned back home. Now if there are facts there you dispute or you think there is another scurrilous point you want to put, put it outside of this chamber.

House of Representatives, Hansard, 27 March 2018:

Mr BANDT (Melbourne): My question is to the Minister for Home Affairs. Minister, I note your recent statements in relation to your personal intervention to prevent the deportation of two foreign intended au pairs. Can you categorically rule out any personal connection or any other relationship between you and the intended employer of either of the au pairs?

Mr DUTTON (Dickson—Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Immigration and Border Protection): The answer is yes. I haven't received any personal benefit. I don't know these people. They haven't worked for me. They haven't worked for my wife. I repeated all of that yesterday, and I repeat it again today. I point the honourable member to the facts in relation to ministerial intervention. The member for McMahon—we were just talking about his successful record when he was last in government. Remember, he was the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship. At one point in 2012, there were 218 cases referred for consideration. In 2013, the honourable member for McMahon was there, along with the member for Watson. There were 228 cases in the year 2013; in 2014, 193 cases.