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Dutton narrowly escapes no-confidence motion

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Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has avoided facing a no-confidence motion against him in parliament by the skin of his teeth.

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Australian Greens MP Adam Bandt moved a motion to suspend standing orders today for a no-confidence vote, in the wake of a Senate inquiry which found Dutton misled parliament over the au pair scandal.

The chamber narrowly voted down the motion 68-67.

Labor supported the motion.

Dutton has said he followed the rules in using his ministerial powers to approve visas for two au pairs in 2015 and had no personal connection with the people who sought the approval.

Bandt said Dutton lied in parliament about knowing who made a request to his office to save an Italian nanny from deportation, when it was later found to be a former Queensland Police colleague.

“He stood up in this chamber with full knowledge of who I was referring to and said, ‘No. I do not know them’,” Bandt told parliament.

“Can ministers in this government be trusted to tell the truth to this house?

“The best the minister has come up with is a Bill Clinton-style defence, where personal connection apparently doesn’t mean personal connection.”

Independent MP Andrew Wilkie was furious at the Home Affairs Minister for saying he intervened for the au pairs on humanitarian grounds.

Wilkie cited numerous times when the Federal Court intervened to grant refugees in offshore detention access medical treatment in Australia.

“It wasn’t okay for him to intervene for the transfer of a 10-year-old boy who attempted suicide three times and needed surgery,” he said in parliament.

“There is no integrity for claiming humanitarian reasons for bringing nannies into the country for his mates once or twice removed.”

Leader of the House Christopher Pyne defended Dutton, praising him for his “world-class approach” to stopping terrorism in Australia.

“There has not been one shred of evidence presented by the Labor Party or the Greens as to why this motion of no confidence should be carried.”

Labor frontbencher Tony Burke said the key principle was ministers should not mislead the parliament.

-AAP

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