Home Affairs releases visa privatisation details right before election

The multimillion-dollar plan has just two bidders. One is called Australia Visa Processing Consortium and is led by Scott Briggs, who has connections to both Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Immigration Minister David Coleman. They have recused themselves from the process, which includes a second bid from Accenture and Australia Post in a joint venture.

In the letter to Mr Neumann, Mr Pezzullo said the process was continuing as had been previously set out.

“The department has chosen to include specific provisions in the RFT documents addressing the impact of the caretaker period and caretaker guidelines,” Mr Pezzullo said.

“The RFT phase-two process does not bind an incoming government including because the decision to proceed is explicitly subject to further departmental and Australian government decision making after RFT phase two.”

According to the first phase of documents released in December last year, phase-two documentation was set to be released by the end of March “subject to decision making and the outcome of Phase One”.

The main public sector union has described the timing of the document release, which falls both after the end of a sitting week and after Home Affairs bosses appeared at Senate estimates on Thursday, as “sneaky”.

“The government is doing everything it possibly can to make sure the public doesn’t find out about their plans, and that the parliament isn’t able to properly scrutinise them,” Community and Public Sector Union assistant national secretary Michael Tull said.

“Putting out the second phase of this process on a Friday afternoon, immediately after Home Affairs has appeared before estimates and possibly hours before a federal election is called, isn’t just sneaky. It shows the government is only interested in doing backroom deals that benefit their mates in the private sector, and has nothing but contempt for voters.”

Home Affairs was contacted for comment.