What's The Go With The Au Pairs, Explained In GIFs From "The Bachelor"
I don't even watch the show.
The au pairs saga currently erupting into a massive fight between Peter Dutton and the man he picked to lead Australian Border Force three years ago is the biggest political story since Dutton's failed attempt to become prime minister.
It's a whole big mess, so what better way to try and unpack it than with a bunch of GIFs from The Bachelor Australia?
As home affairs minister, Dutton holds what some describe as "god power" to overrule decisions his department makes about who can get a visa to visit, work or live in Australia. It's not reviewable, and unlike other decisions, the reasons and justifications are never made public.
Australian newswire service AAP had been in a long fight with the Department of Home Affairs over freedom of information requests regarding Dutton granting tourism visas to two au pairs using his god power in 2015.
Not much detail was known about the cases, except that somehow, these au pairs were able to make calls from airports before being deported, and that within hours Dutton had come through with a visa for each. The department, which had rejected AAP's FOI requests, spent over $10,000 fighting against AAP's appeal in those cases.
It's all been a bit of a mystery, leading to a meme on Auspol Twitter the past few months for people wanting to know what's the go with the au pairs?
Dutton was asked about the au pairs in Question Time a few months ago, but claimed to have no personal connection to the cases at all.
But then, while all the leadership stuff was happening and Dutton was trying to become Australia's 30th prime minister (spoiler alert: he did not become Australia's 30th prime minister) it came to light that the au pair was given a visa by Dutton's office after a request was made by AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan.
The request wasn't for the au pair to work for the CEO, but for his second cousin, who happens to be a polo player, among other things.
And it turned out that Dutton managed to get the French woman a visa in a matter of hours, as she was waiting to be deported.
Migration agents, who sometimes spend months waiting for a decision on their own cases (not to mention the asylum seekers stuck for years on Manus and Nauru) were like:
The Senate then launched an inquiry into the whole au pair mess.
And it was revealed that one of the au pairs Dutton gave a visa to in 2015 was an Italian who was set to work for someone the minister used to work with in the Queensland Police Service 20 years ago.
And at the same time, the former head of Australian Border Force, Roman Quaedvlieg, revealed he was "closely examining the Hansard" of what Dutton said to make sure it aligned with what he remembered. Quaedvlieg was fired earlier this year by the government over allegations related to a staffer hired in Customs he was reportedly in a relationship with.
And everyone was asking: come on Roman, go off. Tell us what is the go with the au pairs?
Earlier this week, the Senate committee held its first hearing, and the Department of Home Affairs didn't have too much to say about the cases, stating it was all personal information and not for airing publicly.
Department secretary Michael Pezzullo did confirm, though, that Dutton had used this power to grant visas over 4,000 times since he became the minister in 2015, with just 25 of those cases for tourist visas.
McLachlan also confirmed that he had someone at the AFL ask the office of then prime minister Tony Abbott for help in another visa case, this time for a polo player, of all people.
There was no career-ending evidence for Dutton at the hearing, but the Greens party is still pushing for Dutton to be censured for misleading the parliament over claims he had no personal connection in the au pairs cases when he did know who one of the au pairs was going to work for.
Then, Quadvlieg went off. In a letter to the Senate committee on Thursday, the former border force chief claimed that in June 2015, Dutton's chief of staff, Craig Maclachlan had called him up and asked for help for "the boss's mate", the mate being a former Queensland cop.
But then Dutton clapped back.
He claimed that Quadvlieg's evidence was "entirely false" and "fabricated".
"Mr Maclachlan was not employed by me at that time and didn't join my staff until 7 October 2015," he said in a statement. "Equally, it is impossible for Mr Maclachlan to have had any knowledge of the matter, at that time, because he was not even employed by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection."