Former Canberra ASIO operative who says he was sacked by the spy agency for falling in love with the wrong woman, pictured here at their wedding. Photo: Supplied
A former ASIO agent who says he was sacked because he fell in love with the wrong woman has failed in another bid to get his job back.
And in the latest legal decision in the saga, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal has made it clear it cannot help employees of Australia's security agencies who fall foul of their bosses.
The former agent, who cannot be identified because of ASIO's strict official secrecy provisions, says he is running out of options in his battle against what he says was his unfair dismissal.
Private citizens can appeal to the tribunal against an adverse security appraisal by the secretive organisation, but the AAT has found that ASIO operatives and members of the nation's other spy agencies, who have been stripped of their secret clearance, must rely on internal processes to address perceived injustices.
ASIO rejects its former officer's claims of unfairness, saying anyone sacked by the agency has several avenues of appeal and will be treated with procedural fairness. The agent was four years into his career at ASIO in 2011 when he met and fell in love with a woman from overseas.
When he became aware the woman, who is now his wife, was lodging in Canberra with her nation's military attache, he made a ''contact report'' to his superiors, according to ASIO rules.
But when it became clear the foreign diplomat had discovered the agent's identity as an operative, ASIO bosses began the process for revoking their man's ''top secret positive vetting'', accusing him of breaching the ''protective security framework
policy'' by revealing his secret job too early in the romance. Despite the agent's insistence that he and his fiancee had done nothing wrong, he was told his top-secret status, without which he could not work at ASIO, was to be withdrawn.
He was sacked in late 2011.
An appeal to the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security, who can examine only procedures and not the merits of the case, found ASIO's procedures were sound.
An unfair dismissal claim to Fair Work Australia was knocked out by a challenge by the Australian government solicitor, who successfully argued the sacked operative had failed to lodge his claim within the mandated 14 days of his dismissal.
The Administrative Appeals Tribunal told him the ASIO Act prevented it from hearing his case, which the former operative blames on legislative changes from 2011 that remain mostly unknown to his colleagues.
Now the tribunal has refused to reinstate the case, finding the reasons for its original decision were sound.