Peter Dutton faces another political headache over claims that he lobbied a senior customs official to help two Queensland policemen get jobs at a new border force agency he was establishing.
The interior minister is already under pressure on the issue of the European au pair and on constitutional issues about his personal ties to child care centers financed by public funds.
Now, Mr. Dutton is again in trouble over allegations that he pressured the former head of the Australian Border Force, Roman Quaedvlieg, to get work for two policemen.
One of the cops is a good friend of Mr. Dutton and another is the son of a former corrupt police commissioner, Fairfax Media reported Tuesday.
The minister allegedly raised the cases with Mr. Quaedvlieg in 2014 after a member of a prominent Queensland family pressured him with links to the coalition.
Quaedvlieg said the records would show that he met with both men during his time as an ABF commissioner.
"The circumstances surrounding how I got to know them, and the content of those discussions, is not something I intend to comment on in the media at this time," he told Fairfax.
Mr. Dutton did not deny the intervention, but denied any misconduct.
"Any suggestion that the minister has acted inappropriately is ridiculous … Quaedvlieg is a disenchanted individual who resents his dismissal from the position of commissioner of ABF," said his spokesman.
Meanwhile, Mr. Quaedvlieg states that there could be a third case where the minister intervened to help an au pair caught in immigration detention.
But the Minister of the Interior says that Quaedvlieg is wrong.
"Mr. Quaedvlieg has lost his credibility and his statement today has no more validity than his fabricated statement from last week," a spokeswoman said Monday night.
Mr. Dutton is already under fire for two au pair visa decisions.
On Monday, he submitted an email received in June 2015 from former Queensland police colleague Russell Keag.
Dutton says he did not have a relationship with Mr. Keag, with whom he had not spoken since they worked together 20 years earlier.
"Peter, long duration between calls", begins the email.
"I need advice on an issue that has happened today: an Italian student, Michela Marchisio, is detained after her visa was canceled.
"I had to stay with my family, there was confusion in the details of the visa."
Ms. Marchisio was arrested after officials discovered evidence that she planned to work, but was granted a tourist visa after Mr. Dutton intervened.
Dutton said he also intervened in a similar case in 2015 after the staff of the AFL chief, Gillon McLachlan, contacted his office.