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The public has a right to know

If a politician uses their position and government resources to help a friend, or to attack an enemy, does the public have a right to know?

Apparently not.

Yesterday, in ruling on a freedom of information application into the circumstances surrounding Peter Dutton’s granting of special work visas to two au pairs who arrived in 2015, former Liberal Senator Chris Puplick ruled that it would be inappropriate to grant the request as it would reveal highly sensitive material about how Australian Border Force operates.

No doubt.

Because, from a couple of recent cases, it seems that Border Force operates on the whim of the Minister.

Recently, we had the case of a grateful father ringing Ray Hadley to express his thanks to Peter Dutton for interceding in the case of a man who was an accomplice to an assault that killed the man’s son.

Unhappy with the judge’s ruling, the father rang Peter Dutton’s office.  Dutton, who the father assures us “didn’t know me from a bar of soap”, quickly rang back and, within two hours, the man had been picked up by Border Force for deportation.

How on earth could they possibly have reviewed the case and the reasons behind the judge’s ruling in two hours?  On the basis of a phone call from a total stranger, Dutton mobilised Border Force to do his bidding.

In the cases of the au pairs, once again, a simple phone call to Dutton saw him immediately overrule immigration officials to grant a “public interest” visa even though one of the girls was a repeat offender.

Ironically, it was somehow in the public interest to give these “illegal immigrants” visas but not in the public interest to know why.  The burning question, and the one Peter Dutton refuses to answer, is who were these girls going to work for.  Obviously someone with a direct line to Dutton.

But Puplick feels releasing that information would be invading the girls’ privacy.

Think of the number of times that Dutton has publicly named people who, after investigation, have not been found to have done anything wrong.  Think of the delay in processing visas for genuine refugees.  Dutton, the overlord, determines who is worthy and who is not.

Interestingly, in 2003, Chris Puplick himself resigned from his position as president of the Anti-Discrimination Board amid allegations that he helped a friend win a payout for anti-gay victimisation at work.

And then we have Michaelia Cash who is claiming “public interest immunity” to avoid revealing her role in tipping off the media about raids on the offices of the AWU in regard to a donation from over a decade ago that was properly declared at the time.  Much worse, to my mind, is the blatant misuse of the AFP and the ROC for political purposes, and now tying up the courts trying to cover up her misdeeds.

In both instances, the government is spending a fortune fighting against the public’s right to question if Ministers are misusing their power.

As the Dalai Lama said, “A lack of transparency results in distrust and a deep sense of insecurity.”

With this lot in power, we have every reason to feel insecure.


19 comments

  1. tracieaylmer

    The section 198AE policy that the Home Affairs office must adhere to means that Dutton has overlord power over literally everything. He is drunk with power, and can’t seem to see that he’s actually shitfaced.

  2. Jaquix

    Dutton has way too much power.

  3. John Ricahrdson

    While I agree that some politicians are always ready to abuse their power & the public’s trust, I would also like to know why those public officials heading-up government agencies aren’t meeting their responsibilities by refusing to comply with improper or illegal directions?

  4. Wam

    The politician should be above suspicion. A simple publication of their daily work diiary will clear the air on their extra-ordinary workload plus list all contacts. QED transparency???
    Dutton and Cash are zealots who cannot see what they do before or after.

  5. Ricardo29

    Another killer column Kaye Lee. Puplick is a classic example of the often misplaced jobs-for-the – boys ( and occasional girl) process the LNPhas turned into an art form. Failed or defeated politicians, given well paid sinecures without necessarily having the skills or knowledge required to discharge their duties either knowledgably or fairly. Of course Dutton himself is a good example of a person promoted beyond his abilities and unable to act morally. The LNP and Dutton’s defeat will leave a Labor with a difficult task to unscramble the particular egg that is Border Farce, but it does need to be returned to its component parts. No matter who is in charge, it’s leader has too much power, a point Labor needs to be aware of.

  6. Zathras

    How convenient for somebody to ring Dutton and publicly thank him on air for using his power to intercede.

    I imagine there would have been many others who would like to tell listeners about the failures and misery of the Dutton regime but they will never be broadcast and it only takes a couple of positive examples to suggest Dutton has some sort of humanitarian compassion.

    Next they will be telling us he volunteers at a hospital for sick puppies and writes poetry in his spare time.

  7. Kaye Lee

    If anyone needed proof that Peter Dutton is out of control, they only need look at his own words.

    “Some of the crazy lefties at the ABC and on The Guardian, Huffington Post, express concern and draw mean cartoons about me and all the rest of it. They don’t realise how completely dead they are to me.”

    Thomas Jefferson once said he’d rather have a free press without a government than a government without a free press.

    “Openness, transparency – these are among the few weapons the citizenry has to protect itself from the powerful and the corrupt” – Michael Moore

  8. john ocallaghan

    Any one of us can now expect to hear the sound of jack boots on our driveway, and an order to get into the van to “assist” the authorities with their enquiries.
    Dutton has way too much power and is acting like the racist facist paranoid homophobic punch drunk dangerous vicious thug that he is!

  9. Matters Not

    Re:

    didn’t know me from a bar of soap

    Possible. Both are unappetizing – in all senses of the word. But only one can be associated with hygiene.

  10. Terry2

    I’m just guessing here but I’m assuming that the au pairs were white and European : Dutton would not go out on a limb for Asian au-pairs !

  11. Kaye Lee

    Terry2,

    They may have been white South African au pairs…or au pairs for white South Africans in Peter’s electorate? We can only speculate cause shhhhhh…it’s a secwet!

  12. townsvilleblog

    It seems that the rules do not apply to certain Ministers in this terrible government. Cash, the screeching banshee and Dutton who is also full of himself actually run this government. Turnbull is merely a figurehead who makes announcements from time to time and wears the title Prime Minister of Australia. This is precisely the time we need to hear from the Shadow Ministers explaining what they would do if they were in power, for the Australian people.

  13. townsvilleblog

    Personally I don’t have much time for kaffir kicking “South African farmers” they tend to be an arrogant bunch, and as tory as one could possibly expect. How else could they be in six million whites who used to rule twenty million black people or there abouts?

  14. Pete

    In the case of Mr Potato Head and the au pairs I do not see that anyone asked for names or any personal information. The public just wants to know why and on what grounds they were given special treatment and I don’t think any normal person would find that unreasonable.

  15. diannaart

    John Ricahrdson April 4, 2018 at 10:04 am

    While I agree that some politicians are always ready to abuse their power & the public’s trust, I would also like to know why those public officials heading-up government agencies aren’t meeting their responsibilities by refusing to comply with improper or illegal directions?

    Have you been paying attention to the changes to our once independent public service? – the ABC being an obvious case in point with the installation of “conservative” friendlies, also, the ongoing axing of public servants, their budgets, the fact that the LNP does not deign to listen to facts – the shredding of Gillian Triggs’ reputation, the imposition of IPA drones… and you wonder why there is no accountability?

  16. Kyran

    Soooo, wait a minute.

    “What we know so far is airport officials stopped the young lady at passport control and later uncovered evidence on her phone that she intended to work as an au pair while in Australia.
    Her eVisitor visa was cancelled which rendered her in detention and an “unlawful non-citizen” under migration laws.
    She made a phone call to a contact – whose identity is unknown – and within a couple of hours Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton came to her rescue.
    Dutton used his ministerial discretion powers under migration laws to grant her a new tourist visa (subclass 600), claiming it was in the “public interest” to do so.”

    If Dutton over-rode the decision and granted tourist visas, doesn’t that mandate their employment be scrutinised? You know, working on a tourist visa?
    Invoking the Cash defence, he went on to huff and puff in Parliament and on Sky;

    “They’re not employed by me, they never have been, they’re not employed by my wife, never have been. They’re not employed by my extended family, anyone that I know.”

    https://www.perthnow.com.au/news/social/au-pair-saga-stranger-than-reality-tv-ng-s-1844446

    Cash was specific she did not know about the leaks, which was a cute way of avoiding reference to her office, which was leaking like a sieve. Dutton was vewy vewy careful to state no personal entities he was associated with knew of where the girls worked.
    What about his companies?

    “IMMIGRATION Minister Peter Dutton and wife Kirilly have added to their property portfolio with the purchase of a retail complex in Wulguru.
    After more than 500 days on the market, Edison Plaza sold for $760,000 to RHT Investments — a property holding owned by Mrs Dutton.”

    “Mrs Dutton said the retail complex ticked all the right boxes.
    “I’ve been up there a few times to meet with business owners and have had discussions with Townsville City Council about my plans for the site,” she said.”

    https://www.realestate.com.au/news/ministers-wife-adds-townsville-to-property-portfolio/

    Naturally, they’d be aware of the expense of child care workers.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-03-25/childcare-workers-frustrated-over-low-wages/9575176

    Naturally, they’d be aware of the pitfalls of running a child care business.

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/apr/03/funding-stripped-from-dozens-of-family-daycare-centres-in-crackdown

    It’s funny how that same news was listed two years ago, when the government cracked down to get rid of the rorters once and for all.

    https://www.sbs.com.au/yourlanguage/hindi/en/article/2016/10/10/family-day-care-systematically-rorting-system-says-government

    That’s before we start on the 500 odd investigations by the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity (ACLEI) into his department relating to immigration scams.
    Ah well, the AFP will be all over it. Oops, wait a minute. They are busy with raids again, some pesky whistleblower and a journalist don’t know their place yet.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-04-04/afp-raids-four-corners-whistleblower/9617698

    That’s not a blatant misuse of the AFP, is it?
    We’d better go easy on Dutton. He’s trying to stop the cheating scandal in South Africa. No, not the sports one. The one where he, the Foreign Minister and the Prime Minister can’t work out what they’re saying to each other, let alone the South Africans.

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/apr/04/julie-bishop-advised-south-africa-to-ignore-duttons-comments-pretoria-says

    It really is getting tiresome keeping up with these fools, isn’t it? There can be no doubt the public has a right to know. The ‘story’ you will be provided with is likely to change by the second though.
    Thank you Ms Lee and commenters. Take care

  17. paul walter

    Thanks, Kyran.

  18. David Evans

    So, the visa was issued in the “Public Interest”? But it’s not in the “Public Interest” to know why it’s in the “Public Interest”? Sounds about right for Australia at this time! What have we become? “There Has Never Been A More Shameful Time To Be An Australian”

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