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Dutton plays politics but he doesn’t have what it takes to play God

Back in 2004, a Senate Select Committee on Ministerial Discretion in Migration Matters made the following finding:

In assessing the appropriateness of the ministerial discretion powers, the Committee is concerned that vesting a non-delegable, non-reviewable and non-compellable discretion with the immigration minister without an adequate accountability mechanism creates both the possibility and perception of corruption.

The inquiry was sparked by concerns that the previous Immigration Minister, Phillip Ruddock, appeared to be using his discretionary powers to grant visas in return for donations to the Liberal party.

The new Immigration Minister, Amanda Vanstone, refused to release the files and department notes that may have given Ruddock’s reasons for intervening in a record number of cases causing the Committee to state that the “lack of transparency and accountability of the minister’s decision making process is a serious deficiency in need of urgent attention.”

Since that time, the Minister’s discretionary powers have increased enormously, legal rights of appeal have been curtailed, and, under this government, oversight has completely disappeared.

We now have a Minister who blatantly lies for political purposes and uses his power to stop anyone from speaking out about his lies and from bearing witness to the tragedy we are inflicting on the victims of our offshore detention program. Staff are forced to adopt a political bias in favour of government policies under threat of prosecution for any dissent.

Dutton absolves Australia from any responsibility for the safety of the people we have unjustly incarcerated, supposedly placing the duty of care with the PNG and Nauruan governments yet interceding to prevent other politicians or journalists from investigating the conditions in these hell holes. He deliberately rejected the offer from New Zealand to resettle refugees because he wants these people who sought our help to be sentenced to a lifetime exile.

There are two new pieces of legislation before the Parliament which will extend Dutton’s powers even further.

The first is the “visa ban bill”, formally the Migration Legislation Amendment (Regional Processing Cohort) Bill 2016 – a proposed law that would prevent any adult taken to Nauru or Manus Island after 19 July 2013 from ever making a valid Australian visa application.

The second bill, currently before the Senate, is the Migration Amendment (Visa Revalidation and Other Measures) Bill 2016. This bill allows the minister to personally issue a revalidation requirement for entire specified cohorts of visa holders, immediately preventing them from being able to enter Australia until their visa is revalidated.

As the Guardian noted, “This expansion would increase his power, decrease government accountability and all but write out the courts’ review powers. They would allow the immigration minister to play God; to make significant decisions that would affect the lives of vulnerable people, and to do so unchecked.”

Numerous reports over the years have expressed concern about this rapidly growing power of one individual to make such crucial decisions which determine the course of others’ lives. When that power is placed in the hands of scheming political hacks like Dutton, abuse of power is irresistible and inevitable.

If you are going to give “non-delegable, non-reviewable and non-compellable discretion” to someone, Spud Duddy would be the last person you would choose. He has shown himself to be totally devoid of compassion, humanity, ethics and credibility. His department has been lambasted for their incompetence and his narrative of conditions and events on both Manus and Nauru totally discredited.

Dutton plays politics but he doesn’t have what it takes to play God.



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  1. Ricardo29

    You have to believe that somehow, somewhere, some time Mr Potato head will get his comeuppance. I hope it is at the hands of those in his electorate. But sooner would be preferable.

  2. MichaelW

    Dutton alleges refugees led a five year old boy into their compound for unspeakable reasons, resulting in shots being fired.
    Refugees want CCTV footage released to clear their names. (or should that be numbers?)
    Dutton refuses to release CCTV footage. Why?

    What an absolute piece of garbage this man is, and to think the far right talk about him being a future PM.

  3. Kaye Lee

    Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has been ordered by a court to revisit the refugee application of a man he wanted to deport to war-torn Syria.

    Justice North wrote that had Mr Dutton properly understood the consequence of his refusal, protection may have been granted to “avoid the consequence that the applicant would be returned to Syria in contravention of Australia’s non- refoulement obligations”.


    He hasn’t a clue what he is doing

  4. billshaw2013

    I think Dutton knows exactly what he is doing. He is implementing with impunity the view of the right wing that refugees are not wanted in Australia. The fact we take some each year salves their conscience. I just hope that in due course Australia overcomes these right wingers who utilize the bogans intellectual incapacities.

  5. Kronomex

    Dutton has become the epitome of the oaf and thug with absolute power corrupting…well we know the rest.

  6. Kaye Lee

    billshaw, sadly I think you are right.

    In 2011, “Scott Morrison urged the shadow cabinet to capitalise on the electorate’s growing concerns about “Muslim immigration”, “Muslims in Australia” and the “inability” of Muslim migrants to integrate.

    Mr Morrison’s suggestion was made at a meeting in December at which shadow ministers were asked to bring three ideas for issues on which the Coalition should concentrate its political attack during this parliamentary term.

    Several colleagues, including Julie Bishop, strongly disagreed with the suggestion, pointing out that the Coalition had long supported a non-discriminatory immigration policy and saying it was not an issue that should be pursued.”


    How things have changed. The cynical manipulators are in the ascendancy now supported by dupes like Christensen and Hastie (who really should go do a double act with Bernardi – he’s getting even more conservative than Cory’s cronies).

  7. Frank Smith

    Thank you Kaye Lee for raising the issue of our repugnant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection. One has to hope that the voters of Dickson do the honorable thing and rid our Parliament of this ammoral, unethical thug. But, that should not be the end of the matter, as anyone serving the Australian people must learn to respect the people they serve and International human rights laws. It was Morrison who ramped up the secrecy and demonisation of refugees as well as making a big push to enforce military style policing by expanding Immigration to include Border Force in a fascist style grab for power. The detestable Dutton, an ex-cop, has built on that and Turnbull has permitted that to happen. So, to ensure this is rolled back and never happens again Morrison, Dutton and the equally complicit Secretary of the Department, Michael Pezzullo, should be hauled up before an International tribunal and made an example of. Come on Geofrey Robertson, where are you?

  8. Michael Faulkner

    Among Australia’s political prisoners, ( formerly refugees) on Manus Island, there are several who seek to provide a counter narrative to views of this government, cruelly articulated by that institutional thug, Peter Dutton. One of them is Behrouz Bouchani, a Kurdish journalist caught up in the living nightmare so inhumanely put in place by the Coalition government. Today, he has an article in ‘The Saturday Paper’ which highlights a view of humanity that sharply diverges from that of Dutton and his think-a-likes.( thesaturdaypaper.com.au).

    Great that ‘The Saturday Paper ‘ is supporting this man, and I hope that are paying him as well. Australia desperately needs journalists such as Behrouz Bouchani

  9. Michael Taylor

    Michael, Behrouz sent us an article too, about a year ago. We were honoured to publish it.

  10. diannaart

    You don’t have to be corrupt to qualify as Immigration Minister, however, being an ex QLD cop meant Dutton was always ready for the role of Kampfkommandant. Sometimes, some people should NOT be given a job they are too well qualified to implement.

    No, Dutton sure isn’t a god or even a devil, just another right-wing bully.

  11. paul walter

    So sick of muslim.bashing.

    Copped two ear bashings in the last few days from Chicken Littles convinced that the sky is falling in. All this McCarthyite night terrors nonsense under a different guise and whole swathes of the panicked public need to take of couple of Aspro and have a good lie down.

    How are people so gullible when it comes to the likes of Dutton and Murdoch. When will the hysteria run its course, or are we headed down the nineteen thirties path?

  12. Michael Faulkner

    Michael Taylor,
    Pleased to hear that the AIMN has supported the work of Behrouz Boochani. I agree with you that it is an honour to publish work by this man, and those similarly caught up in the abusive web of Australian asylum seeker xenophobia.

  13. Marilyn

    Bit problem is Gillard and Roxon already deleted all rights for those trapped on Nauru and Manus so they could get around the high court ruling that it’s illegal.

  14. wam

    is it normal to hear/read/see what is your wont and believe it?
    Can repeating what you believe be truthful?
    If your cause is pure can a lie be justified?
    ps Mr Faulkner glad you acknowledge asylum seekers are not refugees.

  15. Michael Faulkner

    Wam, my point is that the Manus men, most of whom were assessed as legitimate refugees several years ago, really have no status with the Australian government other than as ‘ indefinite refugees’ .

    Most are in their 4th year of incarceration on Manus, and although the government says any of them are free to go to any other country willing to take them other than Australia, that statement is an absolute falsehood. When New Zealand offered to take some of these men last year, the Australian government refused this offer.

    In these circumstances, I think the correct title for the Manus refugees now is that they are ‘ political prisoners / hostages of the Australian government. There is no doubt, they are being used as human collateral in the interests of the Coalition’s own domestic political agenda in this country.


  16. helvityni

    Marilyn,the Liberals are in office today, so whatever crimes (?) Gillard and Roxon committed re asylum seekers, the Liberals have had plenty of time to right things.

    They haven’t, they have made things worse for the asylum seekers, flogging them to Trump, and/ or keeping them in detention for rest of their natural life.

    Are you happy with the two Immigration Ministers, Morrison, and Dutton. You must be as you only complain about Labor.

  17. paul walter

    Helvityni, We’ve tried to explain it to her so many times. Why bother?

  18. Kaye Lee

    Helvityni’s point is important and not just in this area. How long does it take before the ruling party accepts responsibility for the current state of affairs?

  19. Kyran

    “Dutton plays politics but he doesn’t have what it takes to play God.”
    If that miserable piece of excrement is a God, we have serious problems. The mere notion that that miserable piece of excrement is a politician is proof positive that there is no god, only a devil.
    For what it’s worth;


    The report details such conflicts as ‘Natural Justice’ (a notion that everyone should have recourse to judicial oversight) with ‘National interest’ and ‘Public interest’. Which card could ever trump another?
    Surely, if ‘public’ or ‘national’ interests can only exist by the extinguishing the laws of ‘natural justice’, the terrorists have already won? How can you possibly argue that by extinguishing the rule of law, with all of its cumbersome oversight, you are somehow protecting your way of life?
    For what it’s worth, from the Saturday Paper article;

    “After a few hours, I returned to Manus Island and its prison. On the way, I was thinking about the images and questions parading in my mind. Questions such as: What has happened to our world when a tiny island such as Mendirlin embraces refugees with open arms, and a huge continent such as Australia throws them thousands of kilometres out into the middle of the ocean?”

    For what it’s worth,

    “Boochani has been short-listed for the 2017 Freedom of Expression Award, given by London-based human rights group X index for “courageous, high-impact and determined journalism that exposes censorship and threats to free expression”.”

    “Behrouz Boochani is driven by a sense of mission and an eye for the bigger picture. “We are in a moment in history in which Western countries are violating international conventions and laws,” he says. “These are conventions they themselves established. I think this is dangerous for humanity’s future.”
    “In a philosophical sense, we have to acknowledge we are human and therefore we don’t have any choice but to trust in humanity. When we are alone, where can go, except to reach out to humanity? This is our only real shelter.””


    For what it’s worth, I’d swap Mr Boochani, and all of those incarcerated in our ‘off shore detention centres’ for Dutton. In either a blink or a heartbeat, I’d swap.
    Thank you Ms Lee and commenters. Take care

  20. John L

    Dutton – Australia’s answer to Heinrich Himmler!

  21. Michael Faulkner

    Thanks Kaye Lee for your forensic article on Dutton, and thanks Kyran for the links in your comments.

  22. Tom0Hawk

    Ruddock was deporrting Asian women that would not have sex with him!

  23. paul walter

    Re Helvityni, myself, Marilyn and Kaye Lee, it is helpful to retain a sense of proportion and context as the gravity of the situation that drives activists. I just read a story on FB from the page of one Christina Coombs

    Cant figure how to transcribe the story, but it is the desolate story of Azzam Al Cheik, a detainee in New Guinea and yet another example of the fearful conditions these people endure, that the likes of Dutton try keep obscured. Maybe some with better technique than I can figure how to bring the story here, because these stories are always necessary reminders of some thing dark, like our treatment of aborigines say, that we like swept under the carpet.

  24. jim

    We have a NewsLtd/IPA COALition regime in power in Australia as intended by the religious right wing fundamentalists and their masters in the corporate world.
    Ok this is not about Dutton but it is about his LNP party.

    The Pacific Solution (LNP initiated) consisted of three central strategies:
    Thousands of islands were excised from Australia’s migration zone or Australian territory.

    The asylum seekers were removed to detention centres in Nauru and Papua New Guinea while their refugee status was determined.
    The policy was developed by the Howard government in response to the Tampa affair or “keeping us safe” in August 2001, and was implemented by then Australian Immigration Minister Philip Ruddock on 28 September before the 2001 federal election of 24 November.

    The policy was largely dismantled in 2008 by the Rudd government following the election of the Australian Labor Party; Chris Evans, the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship described it as “a cynical, and very costly ($Billions) and ultimately an unsuccessful exercise”.

    Following the abolition of the policy, over the period from 2008-2013, non-government sources estimate that around 1100 people perished at sea (compared with an estimated 400-760 people under the Coalition policy). (The Australian Government has not released its own figures of asylum seeker drownings in the region either before or after the policy.)

    A further 51,000 people seeking asylum attempted to reach Australia during the same period.

    During the Pacific Solution period, mainland detention centres were closed at Baxter, Woomera and Curtin.
    The Government announced on 21 November 2012 that it was recommencing onshore processing with bridging visas.

    On 21 November 2012 Immigration Minister Chris Bowen announced the reopening the Pontville Detention Centre in Tasmania.

    A meeting on 19 July 2013 in a joint press conference with PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd detailed the Regional Resettlement Arrangement between Australia and Papua New Guinea.
    From now on, any asylum seeker who arrives in Australia by boat will have no chance of being settled in Australia as refugees.
    Asylum seekers taken to Christmas Island will be sent to Manus and elsewhere in Papua New Guinea for assessment of their refugee status. If they are found to be genuine refugees they will be resettled in Papua New Guinea… If they are found not to be genuine refugees they may be repatriated to their country of origin or be sent to a safe third country other than Australia. These arrangements are contained within the Regional Resettlement Arrangement signed by myself and the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea.

    The figure of 1200 deaths of asylum seekers at sea(in a cyclone to boot) under Labor regularly cited by politicians and the media is broadly correct. The best available data appears to put those estimates at closer to 1100. Globally and in our region, however, more asylum seekers than ever were leaving their country by boat and dying at sea.
    It is correct to note that the tragedy near and in Australian shores is being replicated around the world, sometimes in greater numbers than what Australians have witnessed over the last decade. The rising number of deaths at sea is taking place in a global environment where humanitarian crises are becoming protracted caused by the west invading their country causing destabilization in that country.

    Murdoch, Packer/Rhinehart, Stokes were the chief propagandists in a successful Goebbels-modelled propaganda campaign. The IPA are the churn house of misinformation and smear; and their chaotic mind-numbing doublespeak is what’s used daily by the colluding cabal of right wing media propagandists – who have also managed to get prime weekly spots on the once reliable and non-partisan ABC.

    Australian living standards have fallen for eight consecutive quarters – the longest sustained decline in our history – and a vast bulk of voters feel as though they are not sharing the spoils of economic growth.

    Labor will willingly work with the LNP government on “sensible and fair budget repair” but adds this means considering policies that will raise revenue by dumping tax concessions that benefit the already well-off and multinational corporations .

    Labor “remains committed” to reforming negative gearing and the capital gains tax concession, because the social dimensions to the affordable housing problem remain.

    Turnbull is now running a government that unashamedly puts big business first, whether it be prioritising company tax cuts or waving through structured corporate tax evasion.

    With the expectation of part-boondoggle, part-rescue package that is the $50bn submarine deal, the lack of industry policy in manufacturing leaves the government largely reliant on foreign investment for economic growth.

    It has ever been thus with Cayman Island Mal Practice.

    NSW paramedics also recently had their death and disability payouts revoked.

    Howard increased immigration 5 fold and spent none of the money from the GST, mining boom and the sale of assets and Telstra on any infrastructure to cope with the massive increase.

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