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Benched Border Force boss Roman Quaedvlieg desperate to know his fate

The erstwhile Australian Border Force commissioner Roman Quaedvlieg has no compunction about commenting publicly on an investigation by the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity, even one where he is the subject.

In what seems like an unusual break with the standard refusal to comment on active investigations, Quaedvlieg has told of his frustration with how long the secretive process has taken, describing it as an “administrative inquiry” in a second exclusive interview with The Australian.

The ACLEI itself, on the other hand, has refused to even confirm or deny the existence of any documents related to the reported investigation into allegations of nepotism related to a romantic partner’s appointment, in response to a freedom-of-information request from a different newspaper.

Department of Home Affairs secretary Michael Pezzullo, who made the referral to ACLEI, according to the report, has likewise refused to comment beyond basic details even when asked about the matter in Senate Estimates.

In a public nudge to whoever is holding up the final verdict, Quaedvlieg told the newspaper his “expectation was that the inquiry would only take several weeks” and that he had been “consistently” complaining about the length of time it had taken and that his “concern” had grown with each passing month.

He told the same journalist last July that he was confident of “an early exoneration” and defended himself publicly, denying he had “acted inappropriately” — at the same time as saying it was “important for the process to be allowed to run its course without further public speculation, which only detracts from the propriety and conduct of the process” and asking for his family’s privacy to be respected.

The new article suggests the investigation is actually finished and the hold-up is somewhere in cabinet-level discussions.

“I stand ready to return to my role at [this] crucial point in the establishment of the Department of Home Affairs and when border security is as important as it’s ever been to our national security,” added the benched commissioner in the unusual interview.

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The Mandarin

The Mandarin staff journalists.