Roman Quaedvlieg has been sacked as commissioner of the Australian Border Force (ABF) over his “misbehaviour” involving a younger female staffer who he helped to find employment at Sydney airport.
Governor-General Peter Cosgrove sacked Quaedvlieg today based on advice from the federal government about alleged misconduct with the female staffer after a lengthy nine-month review, reported The Australian.
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The review found that Quaedvlieg had abused his power — amounting to misbehaviour— when he helped his partner secure a job scanning passports at the airport, according to a statement released today.
His conduct was also found to be inconsistent with his affirmation he had taken when he was appointed as ABF’s commissioner and he failed to disclose details of a personal interest he had that related to the affairs of the ABF.
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“Mr Quaedvlieg acted at particular times to modify policies relevant to the recruitment processes so as to advantage, at least in substantive part, a particular candidate for ABF employment,” the statement said.
“Additionally, he engaged in acts, and made omissions, which materially advantaged that candidate over other comparable candidates for ABF employment, and on that basis his conduct also amounted to misbehaviour and was inconsistent with his affirmation.
“Further, Mr Quaedvlieg engaged in misbehaviour and conduct inconsistent with his affirmation by failing to disclose to the Australian Government Security Vetting Agency, within a reasonable time, a significant change in his personal life, and by making a wilfully or recklessly false statement to the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection in relation to the status of his personal relationships.
“Needless to say it is extremely unfortunate that it was necessary to terminate Mr Quaedvlieg’s appointment. He has provided long and conspicuous public service in the critically important areas of law enforcement and national security. However, the relevant conduct went beyond an isolated error of judgment and ultimately undermined his capacity to continue in the office of ABF Commissioner.”
Quaedvlieg took voluntary paid leave in May last year amid allegations of his failure to disclose his relationship with a new partner. He was reportedly earning more than $500,000 while on leave, reported the Australian Financial Review.
The length of the inquiry into Quaedvlieg, who normally earns about $619,905 a year, has attracted a great deal of public criticism for the high cost associated with keeping a senior public servant on indefinite leave.
In a statement today, Quaedvlieg said he was considering his options after his appointment was terminated.
Statement from Roman Quaedvlieg following his sacking as Border Force Commissioner pic.twitter.com/4d7tgzfOr5
— Andrew Greene (@AndrewBGreene) March 15, 2018
“I was notified at 2.55pm today of my termination as the ABF Commissioner,” he said in the statement released today.
“I note a statement of grounds that has been tabled in parliament a short time ago relating to this matter. I had not been provided an opportunity to see that statement before it’s tabling however I have consistently maintained my strong denial of those particularised grounds over the lengthy duration of this inquiry, and I continue to maintain those denials.
“I had been given a short opportunity to resign prior to termination however I chose not to do that as it is tantamount to a concession of culpability, which I strenuously deny. I also have previously made a number of observations in relation to the inquiry processes and I intend to pursue these more formally in the relevant forums. I will now take some time to fully consider my options.”
Quaedvlieg has consistently denied allegations of wrongdoing and has previously expressed frustration about the length of the investigation, reported The Australian.
“I’ve been on the record consistently registering my concern about the length of time this inquiry has taken and that concern is compounding as the inquiry approaches its nine-month mark,’” Quaedvlieg told news outlets in February.
“My expectation was that the inquiry would only take several weeks,” he added.