Prime Minister Scott Morrison has defended Home Affairs minister Peter Dutton’s decision to stop the deportation of three au pairs, saying they were “human beings”.
Mr Dutton is facing multiple claims he exercised his ministerial intervention power to stop the deportation of au pairs.
Mr Morrison defended Mr Dutton’s decision to intervene and invited people to “look at my record”.
“I made hundreds of decisions on ministerial intervention and I considered every single one of them very carefully and I looked at the human circumstances in every case,” he said at a press conference on Sunday.
“It’s not a file – it’s a human being. These are human beings, and their lives are affected by these decisions.”
In one of the cases, Mr Dutton saved an au pair from deportation after AFL’s chief executive Gillian McLachlan raised the woman’s case.
In another case, the au pair was employed by the wife of Mr Dutton’s colleague from his time in the Queensland police force. Mr Dutton said he had not spoken to the former colleague in nearly 20 years.
Mr Morrison dismissed as a “furphy” Greens MP Adam Bandt’s allegation Mr Dutton may have misled the Parliament when Mr Dutton ruled out having any personal connection to the au pair’s employer.
“If people want to say that every person that they may have worked with 20 years ago is now, all of a sudden their best mate and they talk to each other every other day, well everyone knows that’s rubbish,” he said.
Offshore detention centres different
He said he expects the the same level of compassion from the new Immigration Minister David Coleman when exercising the ministerial power to intervene.
“I’m sure he’ll exercise the same care and the same compassion and ensure that the system provides the flexibility that is needed. That’s why that power is there,” he said.
However, he said the same approach will not apply to asylum seekers in offshore detention centres.
“The government’s border protection policy is absolutely well known, and I’m not about to compromise our borders any day of the week and people understand that,” he said.
He said the compassion in that case was about preventing asylum seekers drowning.
“I stopped the boats because I was sick of seeing people and kids dying at sea. That’s why I did that,” he said.
When asked about the suitability of Stuart Robert as Assistant Treasurer, Mr Morrison said on Sunday: “Those matters were raised at the time have been fully addressed since.”
Mr Robert excluded himself for consideration for a cabinet position 2016 following an allegation he used his ministerial prestige to help a private business interest.
The comment comes after Labor shadow minister for financial services, Clare O’Neil on ABC accused Mr Morrison of not appointing a financial services minister because he supported the big banks.
“He voted against the [banking] royal commission. And he spent the last two years of his life as Treasurer trying to give the big banks a $17 billion tax cut and now there’s no spokesperson on financial services in his government, and I think that it shows that Scott Morrison has backed the big banks every time,” Ms O’Neil said.