Peter Dutton has defended the decision to grant au pair Alexandra Deuwel, saying he acted appropriately and received hundreds of similar requests a year. Picture: AP
Peter Dutton has defended the decision to grant au pair Alexandra Deuwel, saying he acted appropriately and received hundreds of similar requests a year. Picture: AP

Au pair tracked down in southern France

THE former au pair freed from detention by Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has refused to explain how she received ministerial approval for her visa.

Alexandra Deuwel, who is now a yoga teacher in the south of France, was approached by News Corp as she left a gymnasium after teaching a class in the village of Sollies-Pont, near the city of Toulon.

She refused to answer questions and asked to be left alone before throwing her yoga gear in the boot of her car and driving off.

Alexandra Deuwel had taken an evening yoga class gymnasium and fitness centre in Sollies-Pont, south of France.
Alexandra Deuwel had taken an evening yoga class gymnasium and fitness centre in Sollies-Pont, south of France.
Ms Deuwel refused to explain how she received ministerial approval for her visa.
Ms Deuwel refused to explain how she received ministerial approval for her visa.

She had taken an evening class at the Magic Form gymnasium and fitness centre in a commercial centre in Sollies-Pont, off a main road and sharing a driveway with a McDonald's outlet.

The French national, now aged about 30, was controversially released from immigration detention in 2015 after Mr Dutton intervened at the request of AFL boss Gillon McLachlan.

Ms Deuwel was flying back into Australia when she was detained at Adelaide Airport by border force officials who declined to grant her a tourist's visa because they believed she was returning to resume a job she had previously held working for Skye and Callum MacLachlan.

AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan and his wife Laura McLachlan. Picture: Getty Images
AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan and his wife Laura McLachlan. Picture: Getty Images
Ms Deuwel worked as a live-in babysitter for relatives of the McLachlans. Picture: Supplied
Ms Deuwel worked as a live-in babysitter for relatives of the McLachlans. Picture: Supplied

The MacLachlans are relatives of Gillon McLachlan, and Ms Deuwel had worked as a live-in babysitter for them on their farm in South Australia's Barossa Valley.

Freedom of Information documents have revealed Mr Dutton used his ministerial discretion to save Ms Deuwel from deportation, overruling border officials who believed she was intending to work, despite entering Australia on a tourist visa.

His intervention came after he was approached by Mr McLachlan to assist.

Mr Dutton has defended the decision, saying he acted appropriately and received hundreds of similar requests a year.

Mr McLachlan asked Peter Dutton to intervene when Ms Deuwel was detained in 2015. Picture: AP
Mr McLachlan asked Peter Dutton to intervene when Ms Deuwel was detained in 2015. Picture: AP

 

He said donations made by the MacLachlans to the Liberal Party in South Australia had not influenced his decision in any way.

Ms Deuwel, who appears to have gone back to France in about 2016, now teaches yoga in areas including Hyeres, Sollies-Pont and La Crau, teaching adults and children, and leading sunrise yoga retreats on Hyeres beach, facing the Mediterranean.

The villages are in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region in southeastern France, but off the major tourist routes.

 

 

Ms Deuwel is believed to have returned to France in 2016, and now teaches yoga to both adults and children. Picture: Supplied
Ms Deuwel is believed to have returned to France in 2016, and now teaches yoga to both adults and children. Picture: Supplied