AFL boss Gillon McLachlan will give evidence to an inquiry into Home Affairs Peter Dutton’s decision to grant two European au pairs visas, despite the reservations of border authorities.
The Senate legal affairs committee will on Wednesday begin hearing whether Mr Dutton misused his ministerial power by intervening in visa cases on Wednesday.
Labor senator and committee member Kimberley Kitching said Mr Dutton had been invited to give evidence to the inquiry but was yet to respond.
“I think that until he does give a full explanation, there will be people questioning his integrity,” she told the ABC.
But Prime Minister Scott Morrison has defended the minister’s expected absence at the public hearing in Canberra.
“House members don’t appear at Senate inquiries – that’s been a rule as long as the parliament has been in practice,” he told Nine Network.
Mr McLachlan will appear via teleconference to explain his involvement in lobbying Mr Dutton to overturn a border authority decision to turn away a French au pair.
Alexandra Deuwel was detained at Adelaide airport in October 2015 after admitting she intended to work in breach of her tourist visa for grazier Callum MacLachlan, the AFL boss’ second cousin.
Leaked documents show Mr MacLachlan contacted Gillon McLachlan, who directed the AFL head of government relations and former Liberal staffer Jude Donnelly to forward an email from his cousin to Mr Dutton’s chief-of-staff.
Ms Donnelly will give evidence at the same time as her boss.
Home Affairs secretary Michael Pezzullo and Australian Border Force Commissioner Michael Outram are also listed to appear before the committee on Wednesday.
Mr Dutton is also facing questions over a second au pair he saved from deportation – an Italian woman who was apparently planning to work for a former Queensland police colleague.
He has consistently denied any wrongdoing in both cases, saying he had no personal link to anyone involved.
Mr Dutton faces a Greens attempt to move a no-confidence motion against him when federal parliament resumes next week.