Dutton Brought Actual Dirt Files Into Parliament, Slammed Quaedvlieg Again
Quaedvlieg called the claims "disgusting and offensive".
Home affairs minister Peter Dutton brought two 'dirt files' on Labor opponents into parliament and threw more mud at former border force boss Roman Quaedvlieg, as he faces more heat over the widening au pairs scandal.
Quaedvlieg has responded by saying he may "seek recourse through the parliamentary oversight mechanisms" and claiming Dutton "accuse[d] me of the criminal offence of sexual grooming."
Quaedvlieg's rapidly escalating public spat with home affairs minister Dutton took a dramatic turn on Monday, with more correspondence to the Senate's au pair inquiry being released and claims aired that Dutton had asked for jobs for his friends.
In response, Dutton brought two large folders into question time, prominently labelled CHRIS BOWEN and TONY BURKE, from which he extracted information to answer questions about his links to the au pairs.\
The large white folders are of a type not normally used by MPs to carry relevant documents or information into the chamber, and the spines of the folders were turned so the names could be clearly seen by the opposition and by journalists in the press gallery.
Dutton was asked by Bowen, Labor's shadow treasurer, to table the folders but he refused, claiming they contained confidential information. Dutton had previously criticised Bowen and Burke, Labor's former immigration minister, for their interventions in migration cases while Labor was in government.
But question time got more heated when Shayne Neumann, Labor's current immigration spokesperson, asked Dutton about claims aired in media overnight that Dutton had asked Quaedvlieg to find jobs for two men linked to Dutton.
Dutton called Quaedvlieg's involvement in the matter "dirty personal attacks" and "smears", before going on to attack the sacked border force chief.
"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," Dutton said, also claiming Quaedvlieg's former executive officer now works for Labor leader Bill Shorten.
Quaedvlieg was dismissed from his position earlier this year after a long investigation found he had helped his girlfriend get a job at Sydney airport.
"He is somebody the Labor Party should not rely on. And I think what has happened here is a lot has been promised to the Labor Party, but it's clear to me that Roman Quaedvlieg is your Godwin Grech," Dutton added.
Grech was a former treasury official who sparked the "utegate" scandal in 2009, alleging that then-PM Kevin Rudd had sought preferential treatment for a friend who was a car dealer. Opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull used Grech's claims to attack the government, but it was later found the documents Grech had relied on were fake.
Quaedvlieg soon responded to Dutton on Twitter, calling the claims "curious, stuttering, rambling comments."
He also raised the concept of parliamentary privilege, which protects politicians from civil action for comments they make in the chamber. Dutton would be immune to any defamation suit based on the comments he made.
In a statement to ten daily on Tuesday afternoon, Quaedvlieg said Dutton's "grooming" reference was "disgusting and offensive and I call on him to formally withdraw that comment."
"It is extraordinary behaviour from a Cabinet Minister to preemptively impugn the character and reputation of a witness attempting to engage properly in a parliamentary process," Quaedvlieg said.