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Thursday, 06 September 2018
Media release

Statement on fabricated evidence to Senate Inquiry

Over recent weeks the Labor Party has conducted a spurious and baseless campaign against me in relation to the use of my Ministerial intervention power.

Today, Fairfax media's David Crowe published an article which alleges involvement of my Chief of Staff on my behalf, in a visa matter in June 2015. The claims in Mr Crowe's article are reported to be evidenced by a letter from Mr Roman Quaedvlieg to Labor Senator Louise Pratt. I note that Mr Crowe published detail of Mr Quaedvlieg's letter at 10.58am, well before it was made public by the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee at about 3.00pm today.  I do not believe the Committee was responsible for leaking the letter or its contents to Mr Crowe.

I want to be clear that the assertions and allegations in Mr Quaedvlieg's letter are entirely false and indeed fabricated.

In Mr Quaedvlieg's letter he claims that:

"In mid-June 2015 I received a call from the Chief of Staff for the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Craig MacLachlan (sic). He told me that he was ringing me on behalf of Minister Dutton, whom he referred to as 'the boss'. He told me that the Minister's friend, whom he referred to as 'the boss's mate in Brisbane', had encountered a problem with his prospective au pair who had been detained at Brisbane Airport by immigration officials due to an anomaly with her visa."

It is a fabrication and it is impossible for this conversation to have occurred.

Mr Maclachlan was not employed by me at that time and didn't join my staff until 7 October 2015.

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.

Moreover, I did not instruct any member of my staff to call Mr Quaedvlieg in relation to this matter. Nor did any member of my staff speak to Mr Quaedvlieg about it.

Mr Crowe's article and Mr Quaedvlieg's claims are false, misleading and clearly defamatory. The article was posted without Mr Crowe contacting my office for comment.

Mr Quaedvlieg is bitter about the loss of his job and it is has been concerning to hear allegations about Mr Quaedvlieg's engagement with the media and Labor over a long period of time. But the fabrication of evidence to a Senate committee takes his behaviour to a disturbing level.

The fact is Mr Quaedvlieg has been under enormous pressure since the commencement of the investigation by the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity (ACLEI) which resulted in his termination as the Australian Border Force (ABF) Commissioner for misconduct. As is a matter of public record, Mr Quaedvlieg remains under criminal investigation by ACLEI and another person related to this matter is subject to charges.

I can only assume that the pressure and personal toll of these investigations have resulted in Mr Quaedvlieg making an enormous error in judgment by submitting false evidence to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee.

It is for these reasons, I have asked ABF Commissioner Mr Michael Outram to offer Mr Quaedvlieg any support to address his personal or mental health issues.

It will remain an issue for the Senate whether Mr Quaedvlieg has breached any rules by providing false evidence to a Senate Committee.

These and the other false and preposterous claims have been a complete violation of the privacy of the individuals involved.

The hysteria and antics of the Labor Senators involved in the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee process, as well as the antics of Bill Shorten and Shayne Neumann, have demonstrated once more their lack of judgement and integrity to all Australians.

Mr Shorten and Mr Neumann should detail any contact they have had with Mr Quaedvlieg.