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Sandi Logan @SandiHLogan
, 11 tweets, 2 min read Read on Twitter
THREAD. An ex-senior public servant opines that now that Peter Dutton’s about to strike back in terms that are patently irrelevant to his own apparent transgressions, it's time for some facts about MPs' representations to Immigration ministers.
2. Ex-public servant says they know nothing about the MIs for the au pairs other than what has been reported. But I do know a thing or two about MPs and others making representations to a Minister for Immigration (whatever his or her portfolio title for the time being).
3. MPs make representations on behalf of their constituents for all sorts of things. Typically the sending MP’s (electoral office) staff draft and handle the letter addressed to the relevant minister; oftentimes the putative author MP barely reads and does not seriously examine..
4. ...the merits of their constituent’s case. That’s because voters expect their elected representative will, when requested, put the constituent’s case or complaint to the relevant minister.
5. The author MP is hardly going to say to their constituent 'I care nothing about you and your concern so I’m not going to even write to the relevant minister about it'. To do so would mean one less vote for them at the next election.
6. The onus is on the (electorate, ministerial or departmental staff of the) minister receiving the representation to consider whether the circumstances presented warrant a positive outcome. Typically someone (other than the minister) signs the reply on behalf of the minister.
7. So the number and nature of reps made by an MP (or even a minister) to another is not an objective indicator of their view of the merits of the cases they are making reps about. The only signal that would be insightful to this discussion is the response.
8. That is, the response to the representations from the minister who is empowered, or whose department is empowered, to make a more favourable decision for the relevant constituent if they consider it is both warranted in all the circumstances and lawful.
9. So Peter Dutton can spend all the time and energy he likes digging up all the reps he ever received from Opposition MPs, and all the MI requests he received from Opposition MPs. It signals nothing.
10. If Dutton is serious he ought to be digging up all the MI requests he and previous Ministers of Immigration received and the (very small) subset of these in which he and previous Ministers of Immigration did intervene to bring about a different outcome.
11. It’s the examination of that subset that will reveal whether he and/or previous ministers who decided to exercise their personal MI power did so for reasons that betray an improper motivation -- such as for a mate or a campaign donor or to indulge a prejudice.
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