Australian Border Force head Roman Quaedvlieg will on Friday clock up seven months of paid leave – funded by taxpayers – while under investigation for possible abuse of power.
Frustrations are mounting within the newly formed Home Affairs Department, as well as the corruption watchdog, about the length of time the investigation is taking.
Mr Quaedvlieg is one of the country’s most senior public servants and is paid $618,000 a year. If receiving his full salary, he has pocketed more than $360,000 while on leave to date.
A spokesman for Home Affairs, formerly the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, confirmed Mr Quaedvlieg remained on paid leave this week.
The secretary of the Department of Home Affairs, Michael Pezzullo, has put Mr Quaedvlieg on indefinite paid leave.
He has been out of the office since May 29, when he stepped aside pending an investigation by the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity into possible abuse of power.
The commission is investigating whether Mr Quaedvlieg acted improperly by allegedly helping his girlfriend – a younger woman in the ABF – secure a job at Sydney Airport. Mr Quaedvlieg denies any wrongdoing.
At a Senate estimates hearing in October, Home Affairs secretary Michael Pezzullo confirmed Mr Quaedvlieg was on leave, was still being paid and was subject to the ongoing integrity commission investigation. The department confirmed on Wednesday that none of those facts had changed.
Mr Pezzullo revealed he had personally approved paid “event leave” for Mr Quaedvlieg, which was similar to “miscellaneous leave”. According to the relevant enterprise agreements, paid “event leave” can be granted “where it is considered to be in the interest” of the department. Miscellaneous leave, by contrast, is usually unpaid except in certain emergencies.
Can someone enlighten me on what ‘Event Leave’ and 'Miscellaneous Leave" are?