Immigration and Border Protection

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January 17, 2019

Reports have revealed Peter Dutton’s Department of Home Affairs has spent $2.76 million in external legal services to fight their own departmental staff in a dispute over pay and conditions that has dragged on for over five years.

It is a disgrace that Peter Dutton has been spending millions of taxpayers’ dollars fighting the Department’s most important asset – dedicated and hard-working Australian Border Force (ABF) officers and staff in the Department of Home Affairs.

The extraordinarily high legal bill comes at the same time Scott Morrison and Peter Dutton have been inflicting cuts and chaos on the ABF including stopping maritime patrols to save money on fuel and slashing frontline ABF officers at airports over the busy holiday period.

It has also been reported that ABF officers who screen cargo and mail entering the country were pulled off the job to plug airport staffing gaps created by Dutton’s poor management of his portfolio – risking drugs, firearms, illicit tobacco, and other contraband slipping through our borders undetected.

ABF officers have a critically important job protecting Australia and Australians alike. They control our borders at airports, inspect cargo at our ports, ensure the integrity of the visa system, and patrol our seas to secure the country from serious transnational crime including people smuggling.

Why does the desperate and divided Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Government think it’s acceptable to spend millions upon millions of dollars on legal fees to fight thousands of hardworking Australian public servants?

It is clear Peter Dutton and the Liberals do not respect the hard work these public servants perform on a daily basis protecting our borders and ensuring Australia’s national security.

Only Labor truly appreciates the dedication and commitment of ABF officers and staff in the Department of Home Affairs.