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Dutton: pedophile hysteria and child protection

Dutton is the right politician for the post-QAnon age: in fact the radical right zeitgeist caught up with him. His decision to drum up (another) pedophilia crisis to stain the referendum on the Voice to parliament is both grotesque and on trend.

In the QAnon conspiracy everyone in power on the progressive side is a pedophile – or pedophile cannibal – running a massive child abduction and persecution ring. As it has diffused into radical right and religious right politics, the accusations have centred on anyone not-heterosexual being a groomer of small children.

It’s a rare politician that believes the QAnon conspiracy, but many have exploited the underlying ideas to co-opt its adherents. It is easy to draw in a wider “conservative” audience to believe in threats posed to children by, say, LGBTQI+ people. Disdain for people who allegedly hurt children is quick to muster.

Threatening people’s children is the most visceral threat that can be made and one likely to promote violence. The ludicrous Blood Libel (that Jewish people sacrificed children) was used to promote violence through the centuries. One would like to say culminating in the Holocaust, but the same tropes are linking Jewish people into the threatening “elites” demonised by the International radical right. The use of the Blood Libel remains in play with the QAnon conspiracy.

The threat to children in general is one of the most powerful that people can use. Harm to children is far more emotional than harm to adults; no retribution is excessive for people who harm children.

This is why, when children were being desperately harmed by our immigration policies, Australia’s contractors mostly executed it on small islands far out of sight. The Coalition government knew that if Australians saw what was truly happening on those distant places, there would be outrage. Instead complicit media was sent to take staged photographs and tell offensive fairy tales about island paradise.

Until arguably tortured children were finally dying of Resignation Syndrome, immigration minister Dutton’s immigration contested (almost) every evacuation case in court. The risk of too many children dying overwhelmed the commitment to reject mercy. Families were split during these terrifying illnesses with the intention to force the family to reunite again on Nauru after the child was “cured.”

When stories of abuse of adult refugees and asylum seekers made it into the press, immigration minister Dutton made vague allegations about the cohort containing pedophiles, rapists and murderers. Clearly any number of people seeking safety from genocide and persecution could be further harmed to keep out any individual cases of apparently identified criminals.

The video clip of Barrie Cassidy pressing Dutton on stories of asylum seekers causing a “disturbance” by tempting a Manus child into their compound is circulating once again on social media. It is clear from Cassidy’s fine interview technique that Dutton’s story bears no relation to the facts supplied by Manus’s police commander. It is also clear that the facts will not be allowed to get in the way of his narrative.

Dutton does not have a good record on First Nation’s children either.

In 2008, he boycotted the apology to the harmed children of the Stolen Generation and their descendants. He has now apologised for this.

Dutton was part of the Abbott Cabinet thatcut more than $500 million in funding to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander services, and another nearly $80 million to Aboriginal and Child Family Centres that supported our vulnerable children and families.”

The harmful Northern Territory intervention, was based on later debunked claims of pedophile rings operating in Indigenous communities. The government of which Dutton was a minister did little to fix the problems that underlay the hyperbolic propaganda that provoked it. The social cost outweighed the few benefits that it brought: the rates of youth suicide and self harm spiked by 500% under it. (Labor governments made small changes but did not overall improve the damaging Intervention.)

We continue taking Indigenous children from their parents rather than working hard to help solve the problems that cause family dysfunction. It is hard to imagine the pain of Indigenous parents in the Intervention, fully aware of the Stolen Generation past, watching their children over-policed and taken away in greater numbers again. This new colonial project aimed to integrate Indigenous Australians into the capitalist project or punish them for wanting self-determination.

Now Dutton has decided to oppose the Voice to parliament, a body supported by 80% of First Nations Australians. Given that it’s a rare policy indeed that has 100% support by a population, that’s a strong showing in its favour.

The Voice aims to bring together the advice of the accumulated groups representing and working with First Nations people around the country so that any policy or program that affects them is designed with them, not in their absence as the destructive Intervention was.

The problems of a community harmed by colonialism, poverty and marginalisation in Alice Springs are the very reason we need a Voice to make sure that the best possible ideas are brought to bear to help the young people in trouble and ease the crises that lead to problems.

It is appalling that Peter Dutton has chosen to drum up another pedophilia scandal, condemned widely by relevant authorities, to discredit the Voice to parliament. The Intervention showed how much more damage such “moral” panics inflict on young Indigenous Australians.

You should be the one to judge his record on protecting children.

This was first published at Pearls and Irritations as Grotesque Dutton drums up another pedophilia crisis


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  1. Michael Taylor

    There’s no barrel deep enough that this fiend won’t scrape.

  2. New England Cocky

    Dutton has a racist track record going back at least to the event when three Aboriginal children were abducted while he wore the Queensland Police uniform, transported them across town away from their homes and dumped them shoeless with the instruction to ”
    walk home”. He ”resigned” soon after, leaving about two weeks before he was then eligible for superannuation.

    The sooner Boofhead Duddo is incarcerated for life on Manus or Nauru without any communications the better.

    It is time to release the legal refugees from their unAustralian captivity, provide protection visas and allow them to work in Australia.

    If Australia wants Julian Assange released then they must set the example of treating legal refugees with the necessary respect ….. and tell the USA (United States of Apartheid) that exposing alleged war criminals is the responsibility of every democratic citizen, even if the POTUS is himself a war criminal.

  3. Harry Lime

    Thanks for the article Lucy, and giving me the opportunity to unload on this unreconstructed bigot.Remember when he took the poisoned chalice of LOTO after the inimitable Liar burned both himself and his party down?We were assured of a”new and improved” version of the Spud..lovely bloke..great family man,in fact, universally loved,we just had to get to know him.Reverted to type in no time at all,and has been going downhill ever since.The outrageous and unsubstantiated claims he made in Alice,with his questionable accomplice,are merely a continuation of his appalling behaviour that was first publicly manifest in his Queensland copper days.Too bad he missed the boat on the crooked peanut farmer’s reign of corruption,he would have been in line for Assistant Commisioner at least.The ABC’s “Moonlight State” shot all the crooks down, in the light of the Fitzgerald inquiry.
    His mindset hasn’t altered since then,and he will obviously do or say anything to upset Albanese’s applecart,and chalk up a”win.”If the so called Liberal Party are not going to disappear off the face of the earth,then it’s people like him that have to be given the bum’s rush.

  4. Lucy Hamilton

    Thanks all. Great points. Cocky: it looks like Dutton was only friends with the Pinkenba 6 who dumped 3 boys aged 12-14 in the bush at night without shoes. The 5 male and 1 female officers were named in contemporaneous reports.

    There remain rumours that Dutton had dogfood left on his desk when he departed the police, but no sources have emerged to confirm or deny. I have long said that if his colleagues emerge to tell the tales of his police career after his political career finishes, I won’t be answerable for my actions (rhetorical flourish, ASIO).

    In theory the era when Dutton policed was the cleaner moment of QLD policing after the Midnight State corruption. It seems strange that the QLD police would have been less bigoted then than they are now. Maybe there was a virtuous interregnum where police offices treated all people equally?

    As a friend in the networks to be affected by his various roles said recently, colonialism dies hard.

  5. Michael Taylor

    Terry, back in the late 90s they were called ‘The night patrol’: matriarchs of the Indigenous community patrolling (mainly) the dry riverbed of the Todd River next to Alice Springs in search of parties of drunken youth.

    The youth weren’t afraid of the cops, but they were scared shitless of the matriarchs.

    They got results where the cops couldn’t.

  6. Cool Pete

    Dutton is despicable. That is all.

  7. Fred

    LH: As always, nice work! Really appreciate. The arrogance of Duddon to ignore the mood of the nation and misrepresent the child abuse situation at the Alice, just to politicise the Voice is so pathetic it leaves me shaking my head. If the Libs think he is a deserving party leader, then goes to show how out-of-touch they really are.

  8. Terence Mills


    I remember the ‘night patrols’, my son and daughter-in-law were living in Alice Springs at that time. I congratulate these folk for reinstating the patrols and I understand that this is now permanently funded by the federal government.

    They were also providing a ‘sausage sizzle’ at the state schools each morning at eight am to encourage the kids to catch the bus and come to school – it worked wonders.

    But then John Howard decided on the NT intervention in 2007 and these social programs fell by the wayside.

    Would Mr Dutton care to comment ?

  9. New England Cocky

    @ Michael Taylor: At our local high school there was an Aboriginal lady Support Person known as Auntie Carol. Rare altercations between Aboriginal boys (or girls) were rectified with the comment, “”should we have a little talk with Auntie Carol”?

    Never scared of the Principal, but ”terrified” of four foot eleven inch Auntie Carol.

  10. Clakka

    Did Spud have an Auntie? Maybe any semblance of the matriarchy abandoned him as a lost cause. Or was he dug up with a fork, or maybe just emerged like a fester from the primordial slime?

    I am disappointed in myself for not being able to reconcile his banality and insouciant brutality.

    But answer maybe from within this page / comments …. From dog food arises dog sh-t.

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