Revelations that home affairs minister Peter Dutton intervened on an au pair’s visa case with which he had a personal connection, have put further scrutiny on the minister’s discretionary powers. While further details came to light around his intervention in French woman Alexandra Deuwel’s visa case in South Australia, it has been revealed that Dutton also stepped in to prevent the deportation of an Italian au pair who was to work for the family of a former police colleague.
Dutton ignored Australian Border Force advice when he intervened for Deuwel, calling her deportation a “bit rough” in an interview with Ray Hadley. In the same interview, before the Italian au pair story had broken, Mr Dutton said, “I made a judgement based on the merit of the case, not my knowledge of the person who had referred it.” Criticism has come over his treatment of these cases when he has ignored appeals for leniency on behalf of people fleeing persecution in their countries of birth. Despite a number of appeals to Dutton for the release of Biloela couple Priya and Nadez and their two Australian-born daughters from detention, including a petition with almost 120,000 signatures, the minister has not stepped in. An army veteran trying to obtain a visa for his friend and Afghan interpreter, whose life is now in danger, is also angry with Dutton’s decisions. “The Afghan interpreters that wore the Australian Army uniform in Afghanistan, assisting troops and facilitating our government’s mission in the war on terror, are actively being hunted by the Taliban,” Captain John Scanes told news.com.au. “Why are they not seen as a priority to process? Many have waited years to have their applications processed, only to be refused on the grounds of a character test. Many still have no answer.”
The Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting a drier than average spring, which is expected to be followed by drier than average autumn and winter. Swathes of New South Wales are on track for lowest recorded winter rainfall. This year has also been unusually warm, which means drought conditions could be exacerbated. Last summer was Australia’s second warmest in 108 years, and winter 2018 is tipped to be one of the five warmest on record. Low rainfall and high temperatures means some communities are facing water storage levels of as low at 10 per cent and an increased risks of bushfire.
The BBC is reporting on allegations that French actor Gérard Depardieu raped and assaulted a young actress. The report was filed with police on Monday by an unnamed, 22-year-old French actress, who claims the attack happened earlier this month at Depardieu’s Paris home. Her agent was quoted by French digital news service BFMTV as saying that she is “devastated”. Depardieu denies the accusations “absolutely”, his lawyer, Hervé Temime describing him as “shaken” and calling the allegations against “everything he is and respects”.
A new UN report says Myanmar’s military should be investigated for genocide and other crimes against humanity. Based on hundreds of interviews, the report details on violence against Rohingya Muslims and names six military leaders the UN believes should go on trial. It also criticised Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s de facto leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner, the report saying she should resign for not preventing the violence. The UN human rights high commissioner, Zeid Ra'ad al Hussein, has also publicly condemned her actions. In an interview with the BBC, Hussein said: "She was in a position to do something. She could have stayed quiet - or even better, she could have resigned."