Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton says he had a dirt file that would damage Labor. Picture: AAP
Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton says he had a dirt file that would damage Labor. Picture: AAP

‘I have a list’: Dutton's explosive dirt file threat

ANGER has erupted over embattled Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton's threat to release a dirt file targeting Labor.

Questions are mounting about Mr Dutton's intervention in three visa cases involving foreign au pairs, one who worked for a former Queensland police officer and another employed by a Liberal Party donor.

The saga, which has been an ongoing distraction for Scott Morrison's new government, intensified today when Mr Dutton said he had a "list" that would hurt the Opposition.

"I've got a series of cases that have been put to me by Labor members - and I've kept a very good list actually of MPs who have come to me with quirky cases," Mr Dutton told reporters.

 

Peter Dutton said he has a “list” that would hurt the Labor Party, as the au pair visa saga intensifies. Picture: AAP
Peter Dutton said he has a “list” that would hurt the Labor Party, as the au pair visa saga intensifies. Picture: AAP

"I will be happy to go into some matters in question time, potentially. I'm gathering some of that information at the moment - because I've been quite gobsmacked by the hypocrisy from some of those within the Greens and Labor."

He also singled out Chris Bowen as someone who asked his assistance with "quirky" immigration matters.

"Chris Bowen has written to me hundreds of times asking me to intervene in matters. Now, has he got a personal connection with any of those people? You would need to ask him that," Mr Dutton said.

Mr Bowen slammed the suggestion made by Mr Dutton, as well as his threat of a damaging list.

"Of course I have made representations on behalf of my constituents," Mr Bowen said.

"That is my job. I can confirm that at no stage have I made any representations on behalf of au pairs at airports who are pretty clearly in breach of the rules. And neither did I, during my three years as immigration minister, approve any."

 

Alexandra Deuwel, an au pair employed by a wealthy family who have donated to the Liberal Party, was saved from deportation by Peter Dutton. Picture: Facebook
Alexandra Deuwel, an au pair employed by a wealthy family who have donated to the Liberal Party, was saved from deportation by Peter Dutton. Picture: Facebook

Mr Dutton doubled down on his insistence that he had acted appropriately and said he will defend the decisions when parliament resumes next week.

"To say I had some personal link or that I was acting on behalf of, you know, somebody that I was personally associated with is complete nonsense," he said.

He claimed the controversy, which he labelled a distraction, was the work of a disgruntled figure in Australian Border Force eager to throw mud.

 

Chris Bowen has hit back at Peter Dutton’s threat of a “list”. Picture: AAP
Chris Bowen has hit back at Peter Dutton’s threat of a “list”. Picture: AAP

Greens MP Adam Bandt described the list threat as an attempted distraction and said Mr Dutton had questions to answer over whether he misled parliament.

It was a question by Mr Bandt that has the minister in hot water. Mr Dutton was asked whether he had any personal connection to the au pair visa cases and he said no.

"It's not just whether you intervened on immigration decisions, Dutton. It's whether you've been honest to (parliament) about it," Mr Bandt said.

If he misled parliament and failed to correct it - a breach of ministerial standards - he must resign, Mr Bandt said.

 

Peter Dutton has rejected claims he mislead parliament over the au pair visa saga. Picture: AAP
Peter Dutton has rejected claims he mislead parliament over the au pair visa saga. Picture: AAP

Mr Dutton denied misleading parliament and said he stood by statements he has made.

He is set to be the subject of a Senate Inquiry into two ministerial interventions involving au pairs.


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