Sacked Border Force Commissioner Roman Quaedvlieg has defended his use of text messages amid claims he sent 14,000 to his girlfriend in a year.
In an unprecedented move, he was sacked on Thursday after helping his girlfriend get a job in Border Force.
But Mr Quaedvlieg continues to defend his position, hitting back today over the media report about extraordinary use of text messages with his girlfriend.
“Most senior public servants use messaging applications as an essential component of their job. I personally send and receive tens of thousands of messages across various platforms over any given year as part of my official duties,” he said in a statement on Friday.
“Officials are also entitled to use their official devices for reasonable private use in recognition that their public lives often consume significant portions of their time and they, like most people, have a need or want to communicate with loved ones, or to conduct minor private household transactions while engaged in work duties,” the statement said.
The amount of text messages roughly works out to 38 a day, or three every two hours for a year.
But Mr Quaedvlieg said he had never been given a “verified total number, or a breakdown of messages sent and/or received” as part of the investigation into his conduct.
And he argued the text message issue did not form any part of the reasons for his sacking that were tabled in Parliament on Thursday.
When the grounds for his dismissal were presented on Thursday, Mr Quaedvlieg issued a statement reiterating previous denials.
The Government’s statement of reasons for sacking him included that he failed to disclose a relationship with a woman who was seeking employment with the force when he was in a position to influence the recruitment decision.
It also found he made a false statement to the Immigration Minister about the relationship.
His sacking ends a drawn-out and expensive internal investigation that will trigger a restructure in Peter Dutton’s new super-ministry, Home Affairs.
Mr Quaedvlieg, a former chief police officer in the ACT, was the inaugural Border Force Commissioner.
As one of Australia’s highest-paid public servants, he earned more than $500,000 on leave while the PM&C and the Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity investigated his conduct.