Australia's former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull (L) and Peter Dutton.  Picture:  AFP
Australia's former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull (L) and Peter Dutton. Picture: AFP

Malcolm Turnbull fires late-night shot at Libs

MALCOLM Turnbull has posted a late-night tweet, saying Peter Dutton's eligibility to sit in Parliament should be decided by the High Court.

Mr Turnbull's comments put him in line with Labor, which has been demanding that Mr Dutton send himself to the High Court.

Mr Turnbull said, like with Barnaby Joyce's citizenship issue, the High Court was the appropriate body to decide Mr Dutton's fate.

"The point I have made to @ScottMorrisonMP and other colleagues is that given the uncertainty around Peter Dutton's eligibility, acknowledged by the Solicitor General, he should be referred to the High Court, as Barnaby was, to clarify the matter," Mr Turnbull tweeted.

Peter Dutton and former PM Malcolm Turnbull.  Picture Kym Smith
Peter Dutton and former PM Malcolm Turnbull. Picture Kym Smith

Labor's advice says Mr Dutton is a beneficiary of the RHT Family Trust, which operates the Camelia Avenue childcare centre and receives childcare subsidies from the department of education and training.

There is no suggestion the businesses received preferential treatment of any kind but the High Court would decide if the federal subsidies paid to childcare centres could put Mr Dutton in breach.

"I have always complied with the cabinet rules, I have declared any interests that I've had in any discussion," Mr Dutton told Parliament. "I have recused myself from discussions where that's been deemed appropriate."

It came as Mr Dutton used parliamentary privilege to accuse former Australian Border Force chief Roman Quaedvlieg of grooming a woman 30 years younger than him while in the role.

"Talk to anyone in the community & put together the words 'groomed' & 'girl' & see where their mind goes, let alone an ex-police officer, let alone one who has investigated offences against children," Mr Quaedvlieg tweeted on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison rejected suggestions the comment made Mr Quaedvlieg look like a paedophile.

"He has not done that. He has not done that at all," Mr Morrison said on Wednesday.

"What he has expressed, I think, is a great frustration at the false and repeatedly false claims that have been put forward."

 

Peter Dutton (right) and Australian Border Force commissioner Roman Quaedvlieg in 2015.  Picture:  AAP
Peter Dutton (right) and Australian Border Force commissioner Roman Quaedvlieg in 2015. Picture: AAP

 

Mr Dutton verbally attacked the 53-year-old ex-ABF boss in parliament after Labor quizzed the MP over claims he pushed for two Queensland police officers to secure jobs at the agency.

"(Mr Quaedvlieg) was, as commissioner, sacked from his position. He was a man who had groomed a girl 30 years younger than himself," Mr Dutton told parliament on Tuesday.

Mr Quaedvlieg, who was fired from his role after helping his girlfriend get a job, said Mr Morrison ignored his efforts to contact him.

"I politely expressed my dissatisfaction to the PM … he read my message but didn't respond to me," Mr Quaedvlieg said.

The stoush between the two former Queensland police officers originally erupted over Mr Dutton's decision to grant visas to two au pairs held in immigration detention.

The Home Affairs department on Wednesday released more information about the au pair cases, revealing they received two of the 24 tourism visas Mr Dutton intervened to grant.

Mr Dutton was also accused of lobbying Mr Quaedvlieg to secure jobs at the ABF for two other former police officers, including one who is now an adviser in his ministerial office.

Mr Morrison is now also checking whether Mr Dutton recused himself from cabinet when childcare funding changes were decided.


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