Dutton stops au pair deportation after high profile request

HOME Affairs Minister Peter Dutton personally intervened to save a French au pair from deportation at the request of AFL boss Gillon McLachlan.

The Herald Sun understands then 27-year-old Alexandra Deuwel was detained at Adelaide's international airport in October 2015 when her tourist visa was cancelled at the border because there were suspicions she intended to work.

A source said Ms Deuwel had previously worked for Mr McLachlan's relatives, Callum and Skye MacLachlan, who run a cattle and sheep farm in South Australia.

 

Peter Dutton released French au pair Alexandra Deuwel after lobbying from AFL boss Gillon McLachlan. Source: Facebook
Peter Dutton released French au pair Alexandra Deuwel after lobbying from AFL boss Gillon McLachlan. Source: Facebook

It is understood the AFL chief - a nephew of former Defence minister Ian MacLachlan - lobbied Mr Dutton's office on his cousin's behalf for her to remain in the country.

Mr Dutton then used his ministerial discretionary powers to grant Ms Deuwel a tourist visa on public interest grounds within 24 hours of her arrival on the condition she undertake no paid work.

According to her social media pages, Ms Deuwel came to Australia in 2012 and studied at TAFE SA with a Diploma of International Business in November 2014

She returned to France in 2015 before returning to Adelaide later that year where she ran afoul of immigration officials later that year.

It is understood she left Australia in early 2016 and has not returned.

 

Federal Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton intervened to stop the deportation of a French au pair. Picture: AAP
Federal Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton intervened to stop the deportation of a French au pair. Picture: AAP

 

A Senate inquiry has already been established into Mr Dutton's use of the discretionary powers in similar circumstances during his time in the portfolio.

Mr Dutton confirmed he had intervened in two au pair cases when asked in parliament earlier this year.

"There were two young tourists who had come in on a tourist visa and declared in an interview with the Border Force officers at the airport - I was advised - they were here on a tourist visa but intended to perform babysitting duties while here," he said.

"The decision that was taken, I was advised, was that the tourist visas would be cancelled, that those two young tourists would be detained and that they would be deported.

 

It is understood AFL boss Gillon McLachlan lobbied Mr Dutton’s office on his cousin’s behalf for the au pair to remain in the country. Picture: LUKE BOWDEN
It is understood AFL boss Gillon McLachlan lobbied Mr Dutton’s office on his cousin’s behalf for the au pair to remain in the country. Picture: LUKE BOWDEN

"I looked into the circumstances of those two cases and I thought that inappropriate.

"I thought if they gave an undertaking they wouldn't work while they were here, I would grant the tourist visas and they would stay, which they did. They didn't overstay; they returned back home."

Mr Dutton's office has been contacted for comment.

AFL spokeswoman Liz Lukin has not returned calls.

The Herald Sun has contacted Ms Deuwel.



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