Questions asked as $500k paid to ABF boss while on leave

Roman Quaedvlieg under fire
Roman Quaedvlieg was the topic of dicussion at Parliament House, Canberra. Photo: By Thennicke - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

People are starting to ask questions with the salary of the Australian Border Force boss still being paid to Roman Quaedvlieg whilst he is on leave following the inquiry into his conduct.

The ABF Commissioner has been on leave since May last year after an inquiry was launched into his behaviour regarding the acquisition of a job for a junior staffer with which he had a relationship. The allegations say that Mr Quaedvlieg helped the junior employee to attain a job at Sydney airport.

Quaedvlieg has denied the claims and has since been paid almost $500,000 since being on leave.

The investigation, being conducted by the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity said that they passed the investigation on to the immigration department in the “third quarter” of last year. This was supposedly then further handed on to Martin Parkinson, the head of the public service.

Following a Senate inquiry on Monday, Stephanie Foster, a secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, said that Mr Pezzullo had asked Mr Parkinson to conduct an investigation and ultimately report on “whether grounds existed for the termination …of the ABF Commissioner”.

She continued to say that under normal circumstances the investigation would be conducted by a secretary of the department but goven the close relationship between Mr Pezzullo and Mr Quaedvlieg, Mr Parkinson had been asked to complete it.

Martin Parkinson completed the report in December and is said to have given it to Mr Quaedvlieg just before Christmas. He responded in January before the report was handed to the Attorney-General, Christian Porter on February 5.

Mr Quaedvlieg has expressed his frustration with the slow pace at which the investigation has been conducted and many MP’s share his frustration with Derryn Hinch saying that a “competent cop” woul be able to wrap up a murder investigation in a year in highlighting the length of the investigation.

Mr Pezzullo defended himself saying that the investigation needed to be conducted in a well thought through and conscientious manner.

Peter Dutton, the Minister for Home Affairs said that much of the delays would be due to the fact that lawyers of Parliament tend to err on the side of caution. He said that this will always be a contributing factor in government issues.

He went on to say that the act Commissioner for the ABF, Michael Outram, was doing a great job.