The Minister of Internal Affairs, Peter Dutton, harshly criticized the former head of the Australian Border Force, Roman Quaedvlieg, and described the current au pair scandal as a politically motivated "game".
In an interview with Sky News on Friday, Mr. Dutton said that Quaedvlieg was "a completely unreliable person … He clearly has an ax for grind."
It arose when Mr. Quaedvlieg sent additional information to the Senate committee, which is investigating Mr. Dutton's use of his ministerial powers to uproot two au pairs from immigrant detention.
Mr. Quaedvlieg sent a letter to the Senate committee alleging that Craig Maclachlan, Mr. Dutton's chief of staff, requested help in June 2015.
"I have not done anything wrong, I am pleased to stand up and be responsible for the decisions and actions I have taken," Dutton told Sky News.
"I think that for political purposes some people are playing games in these two cases, but I think we have to go back to the basics of what the Australian public wants from our migration program," he said.
"It's all a distraction."
It's all a distraction
Minister of the Interior Peter Dutton
Earlier on Friday, Dutton called the letter "totally false and even fabricated" and said Mr. Maclachlan did not work for him until October 2015.
In a statement, Mr. Quaedvlieg said: "I will not make public comments in the media about the details of my supplementary presentation, except to state unequivocally that the actual content of my original communication is valid."
Also on Friday, in an explosive rebuttal of Mr. Quaedvlieg's evidence, Mr. Dutton questioned the mental health of the former head of the border in question and said he was bitter about losing his job for misconduct.
Mr. Quaedvlieg was dismissed from his post after helping his girlfriend get a job at the Sydney airport.
"I urge Dutton to desist from personal attacks and cast doubt on my actions, motivation, integrity, reputation and mental health," Quaedvlieg said in response.
With a report due on Tuesday, Labor Senator Murray Watt believes that another public hearing is needed to get to the bottom of the saga.
"These latest revelations and contradictory evidence mean we need to have another audience," he told ABC radio.
"It's very typical of Peter Dutton, when he's under pressure, to start throwing mud at other people."
The minister of the cabinet, Mathias Cormann, said that the allegations of the former head of ABF contained inaccuracies of facts.
"Mr. Quaedvlieg is obviously not a credible witness," Senator Cormann told Sky News.
Mr. Dutton voided his department's decision to deport a woman in June 2015 and was granted a visa to remain in the country, despite his original plans to work for a former colleague of the Queensland Police of Mr. Dutton.
Dutton faces questions about whether he cheated on parliament by saying there was no personal connection between him and his former police colleague.
He has said that he had not spoken to his former police colleague for 20 years, but the man called his office for help with the au pair case.