Embattled Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton is facing renewed scrutiny over suggestions he pressured a senior customs official secure a job for a friend in a border force agency he was setting up.
Mr Dutton is already under pressure in parliament over his decision to intervene in the visas of two European au pairs, and constitutional questions over his personal links to publicly-funded childcare centres.
The new claims allege the then-immigration minister lobbied former Australian Border Force chief Roman Quaedvlieg to get jobs for two Queensland policemen.
One of the policemen is a good friend of Mr Dutton and another is the son of a disgraced former Queensland police commissioner, Fairfax Media reported on Tuesday.
The minister allegedly raised the cases with Mr Quaedvlieg in 2014 after being lobbied by a member of a member of a prominent Queensland family with links to the Coalition.
Mr Quaedvlieg said records would show he met with both men during his time as ABF commissioner.
“The circumstances surrounding how I came to meet them, and the contents of those discussions, are not something I intend to comment on in the media at this time,” he told Fairfax.
Mr Dutton did not deny the intervention but denied any misbehaviour.
“Any suggestion that the minister has acted inappropriately is ridiculous … Mr Quaedvlieg is a disenchanted individual who is bitter about his termination from the role of ABF commissioner,” the minister’s spokesperson said.
Meanwhile, Mr Quaedvlieg claims there could be a third case where the minister intervened to help an au pair caught up in immigration detention.
The Home Affairs Minister has vehemently denied Mr Quaedvlieg’s allegation.
“Mr Quaedvlieg has lost his credibility and his statement today has no more validity than his fabricated statement from last week,” a spokeswoman said on Monday night.
Mr Dutton in parliament on Monday tabled an email received in June 2015 from former Queensland police colleague Russell Keag.
Mr Dutton says he did not have a relationship with Mr Keag, who he had not spoken to since they worked together 20 years earlier.
“Peter. Long-time between calls,” the email starts.
“I need advice on a matter that has occurred today. An Italian student, Michela Marchisio is being held after her visa has been cancelled.
“She was due to stay with my family. There has been a mixup in the visa details.”
Ms Marchisio was detained after officials discovered evidence she planned to work, but she was given a tourist visa after Mr Dutton intervened.
Mr Dutton said he also intervened in a similar 2015 case after AFL boss Gillon McLachlan’s staff contacted his office.