Dutton sticks the boots in harder

Caption: Question Time in the Australian parliament gets a bit rowdy.

Never mess with a Queensland copper, even a former one with a fancy suit and parliamentary entitlements. Once Labor picked a fight over the ?Au Pair Affair?, Dutton rolled up his sleeves. Now, he?s down in the cells, with a good, thick phone book at the ready. Quote:

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has launched a dramatic attack on Roman Quaedvlieg, accusing the former Border Force commissioner of “grooming” a younger woman.

In a blistering attack under the cover of parliamentary privilege, Mr Dutton also said Mr Quaedvlieg – a key figure in the brawl over the minister’s controversial decisions to allow two detained foreign au pairs into the country – was Labor’s Godwin Grech. End of quote.

A bit of history, here, for Whaleoil readers who might be a bit puzzled by all that.

Firstly, Godwin Grech was the whacker public servant who lead an over-eager opposition leader named Malcolm Turnbull up the garden path, and, eventually, into his first dumping from the Liberal party leadership. Quote:

Mr Grech famously provided Mr Turnbull with an email that formed the basis of damaging allegations against former prime minister Kevin Rudd. But Mr Grech, who was struggling with poor health and pursuing a personal agenda, was found to have faked the correspondence. The scandal contributed to Mr Turnbull’s downfall as leader in 2009. End of quote.

Turnbull was fatally humiliated by the Grech affair. For the Liberal party, it should also have been a standing warning about Turnbull?s leadership ability. Instead, they came back for seconds, and now they?ve paid the price.

The juicier allegation, about ?grooming?, stems from the scandal that lead to Roman Quaedvlieg being sacked as Commissioner of Border Force, the task force put together by the Abbott government to stop the flow of illegal immigrant boats to Australia. The then-50-year-old Quaedvlieg had dumped his wife and three kids, to shack up with a woman in her early 20s, whom some sources alleged was his god-daughter. He was alleged to have then interfered to win his new girlfriend a job at Sydney Airport, as well as concealing his relationship. Quote:

Fairfax Media has been told Mr Quaedvlieg sought a severance payout of $250,000 when he was negotiating his exit from the job. He allegedly threatened to retaliate against the government after the request was refused. Mr Quaedvlieg denied the claims. End of quote.

But Quaedvlieg is another old Queensland copper. So now the fight is getting really rough. Quaedvlieg posted on Twitter that the investigation into Dutton was ?a hoot?.

It smells like there?s a lot of score-settling going on, here. Quote:

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. End of quote.

What must have seemed to Labor like a slam-dunk chance to take out Dutton isn?t going quite as they planned. Labor frontbencher Tony Burke was forced into a humiliating apology, after accusing Dutton of misleading parliament. Burke has also been hit with revelations about his own interference in immigration matters when it emerged that he had personally lobbied to overturn a ban on an extremist Islamic preacher.

And so the biffo goes on. Quote:

Mr Quaedvlieg downplayed his role in the visa saga and called Mr Dutton’s attack “disgusting and offensive”. The former Border Force chief said Mr Dutton had accused him of “the criminal offence of sexual grooming”. End of quote.

Australian politics: it?s rarely boring.