AFP raids Dutton’s department
A HUNT is on to find the person who leaked secret emails about Peter Dutton’s involvement in granting visas to foreign nannies.
Australian Federal Police officers this morning raided the Canberra headquarters of the Department of Home Affairs.
They swooped on the office building at 10.45am as part of an official investigation into the release of documents against Mr Dutton, in relation to the au pairs saga.
An AFP spokesman said it received a referral from Mr Dutton’s department on August 30 regarding “an unauthorised disclosure of information”.
“The matter has been accepted for investigation. The AFP has undertaken inquiries and conducted a number of activities in relation to this investigation.”
According to the Herald Sun, a warrant executed covered a workspace in the Home Affairs building, while the Guardian reported police were looking at personal devices.
“My assessment is that the department did an internal IT audit and found some information … the AFP is executing a cooperative warrant to get the evidence to continue its investigation and prosecution,” the Guardian quoted a source as saying.
Labor and the Greens launched a probe around Mr Dutton intervening to allow two European women to enter the country, despite being at risk of working in breach of their tourist visas.
An Italian woman who benefited from Mr Dutton’s assistance was to be employed as a nanny by a former Queensland Police colleague of Mr Dutton.
In the second case, a French woman was the au pair of a wealthy Adelaide family who are donors of the Liberal Party, and Mr Dutton became involved after lobbying by AFL boss Gillon McLachlan.
A series of leaked documents, including emails from senior Border Force officials warning Mr
Dutton not to intervene, were obtained by Labor and media before and during the inquiry.
In one email, his former police colleague Russell Keag asked Mr Dutton for help after his au pair was detained at Brisbane Airport.
“Peter. Long-time between calls,” the email read
“I need advice on a matter that has occurred today. An Italian student, Michela Marchisio is being held after her visa has been cancelled.”
Another leaked email regarding French woman Alexandra Deuwel detailed the contact made by Mr McLachlan on behalf of his cousin, her apparent employer, as well as correspondence from senior immigration officials.
Some of the revelations cast further doubt on his conduct in the matters and created a storm of controversy for the government.
Those leaks were referred to the AFP and Mr Dutton at the time said they had been orchestrated to damage his reputation.
Mr Dutton has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing in the matters and was highly critical of the operation and findings of the inquiry.
Mr Dutton’s office declined to comment on the raids. The AFP declined to comment further as its investigation is ongoing.