Secrecy surrounding the circumstances in which Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton granted visas to two au pairs in 2015 is set to continue after a federal tribunal ordered documents must continue to be suppressed for privacy reasons.
In the first case, an au pair whose visa was cancelled at Brisbane's international airport in June 2015 was able to make a phone call and within a couple of hours Mr Dutton approved a new visa using his ministerial discretion powers.
In November the same year, Mr Dutton defied written warnings from his department that granting a visitors visa to a second au pair was of "high risk" because she had been previously counselled about work restrictions.
Over the past two years, Mr Dutton's department had been trying to suppress key details of the cases and the reasons underpinning the decisions.
Mr Dutton insists he doesn't know the two individuals involved and that they didn't work for his family, but said it would have been inappropriate for them to be deported.
The minister's office still refuses to answer specific questions about the identity of the au pairs' employers.
Australian Associated Press sought access to details surrounding the cases under freedom of information laws, but documents supplied in 2016 were heavily blacked out because of privacy provisions.
The case went to Administrative Appeals Tribunal last month and member, Chris Puplick, a former Liberal senator, on Tuesday afternoon dismissed AAP's case.
"There is no basis for any suggestion of improper or irregular behaviour on the part of the Minister of the department," Mr Puplick said, adding that it was mere speculation and no basis for the case to succeed on public interest grounds.
AAP's lawyer Surya Palaniappan had argued the minister's "broad and largely unfettered" ministerial discretion under migration laws only served to increase the public interest.
Mr Puplick said releasing the full documents would be granting access to "personal information" in a way that makes the individuals "reasonably identifiable".
"The visa grantees are most likely to have left Australia by this stage, although they are still entitled to protection of their privacy," he said.
Mr Puplick did not agree with AAP's argument that the au pairs' employers should be named on public interest grounds.
He said the information would contain highly sensitive material about the individuals and how Australian Border Force operates.
"I give no weight to the argument that there is some overriding or overwhelming public interest to be served by releasing further information," he said.
"Exactly how far this slippery concept of 'public interest' extends is a matter of endless and ongoing debate."