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Dutton, conservative champion, is not fit for office

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton is supposedly the darling of the Liberal Party’s conservative wing. Labelled the new champion of the far right just a month ago, he is now apparently the most senior trusted member of the cabinet. One of the last remaining vestiges of the Abbott era, Dutton is still fiercely loyal to the deposed former Prime Minister. Like Abbott, he does not hide his basic contempt for humanity. He remains a strong supporter of the hard-line approach to border protection. He is a firm advocate for torturing asylum seekers in offshore camps. He actively supports the trashing of human rights. And like Abbott, it is manifestly clear that he is not fit for office.

The latest scandal involved Dutton accidentally texting a female journalist and calling her a ‘mad fcking witch’. Naturally, the usual conservative supporters are right behind him, making excuses on his behalf and justifying the serious transgression: The text was accidentally sent. The message was meant for friend and dumped colleague, Jamie Briggs. And apparently, according to the conservative fan-club, calling a woman a mad fcking witch for publicly commenting on a junior Minister’s alleged sexual harassment of a public servant is fine, because Dutton realised immediately the error of his ways and personally apologised.

Except it is not fine. It is not even the slightest bit fine.

It is a national embarrassment, a disgrace and a further sign of the incompetence of Peter Dutton.

It does not matter even remotely if it was a flippant remark, if it was meant in jest, as a joke or a passing slur. It does not matter that the journalist in question has accepted Dutton’s apology. It is irrelevant that she has laughed the whole incident off, stressing that there are more important things to worry about than an errant text message.

Indeed, there are plenty of other important things to worry about.

And Peter Dutton’s gross failures as a Minister and elected representative are equally as serious and important.

Peter Dutton is a senior Government Minister. He is a member of the Cabinet. He is a man in such a responsible and important position that he holds the lives of innocent people in his hands.

Dutton alone, has the power to condemn people to a possible death by coercing them to return to the warzone they fled. Dutton alone, has the power to banish people from Australia forever, for something as simple as his dislike for their associations. Dutton alone, has the power to turn around boats and send them back from where they came from, with reckless abandon and nary a thought for the consequence.

Dutton, a man with enormous executive power, demonstrably cannot be trusted to send a text message to the correct recipient.

Putting aside the right to free speech and the freedom of opinion and expression, it is quite simply unacceptable for a Government Minister, a man in Dutton’s position, to refer to any person, male or female, as a ‘f*cking’ anything.

If Dutton is the champion of the conservatives; if Dutton is considered suitable for a senior Ministerial role, the standards of acceptable behaviour in the Liberal Party must be set appallingly low.

According to his supporters, Dutton’s apology has absolved him of any impropriety and wrongdoing. The unwavering support from Dutton’s colleagues and friends demonstrate what actions are condoned in the Turnbull Government. It is a telling sign of the gross contempt that the conservative parliamentarians hold Australians in. It is a clear indication of how little regard they have for respect, accountability and professionalism.

But Dutton is not absolved. An apology does not counter that Dutton thought such a message was appropriate to send in the first place.

Dutton has a problem with behaving appropriately. He accused pregnant refugees detained on Nauru of trying to blackmail him after requesting to give birth in Australia rather than an ill-equipped third world hospital. He fiercely defended his Department’s decision to deny a dying man’s family a visa to see him in his final days. He was caught out chuckling at his own joke about Pacific Islanders having water lapping at their doors. He wilfully misled Australians about the intentions of a raped Somalian refugee seeking an abortion, accusing her and her advocates of lying.

It is not the slightest bit surprising that Dutton and his conservative allies are dismissive of Dutton’s gaffe. It would not be surprising if they thought it completely appropriate to refer to a female journalist as a mad f*cking witch. In comparison to previous blunders, it has nowhere near the same disturbing consequences. International relations are not directly affected. No lives will be destroyed by his comment.

But it is not acceptable. It is not justifiable. Dutton is an embarrassment. He rivals Abbott for sheer stupidity of action and word.

Dutton is the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection. He is a member of Cabinet. He has been touted as the next deputy leader.

Dutton, who exhibits such a lack of propriety, continues to bring shame on Australia.

There are certain standards of behaviour expected of an elected member of parliament. There are certain standards of behaviour expected of a representative of the people. There are certain standards of behaviour expected of anyone holding a public position.

And Dutton fails. Again and again he fails.

The time for appeasement of the conservative right is over. Dutton is not fit for office, and like Abbott, he must go.


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  1. Margot

    The man has form.
    “When Opposition frontbencher Peter Dutton told Health Minister Nicola Roxon to get on her broom, he wasn’t immediately disciplined.
    That’s because speaker Harry Jenkins didn’t hear it.
    So Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard rose to complain and Mr Dutton withdrew the remark.
    But, instead of letting the matter rest, Mr Dutton preferred to let his Twitter followers know what he had said.
    “Telling nicola to get on her broomstick is hardly ‘grossly unparliamentary’ as joolia (sic) claimed,” he wrote.”

  2. Fiona

    I posted this a little while ago on Jennifer Wilson’s latest and brilliant thread. I repost it now because Dutton likely has, as it were, phwoarm:

    Okay, this is history, but I still can’t get over the fact of Dutton’s “service” in the Sexual Offenders Squad (for those who don’t already know, Dutton’s early career was with the Queensland cops).

    Imagine yourself as a person who has endured a sexual assault, and has reported it to the police.

    Then imagine yourself with Dutton as the officer in charge of the investigation.

    IMO, that experience would exponentially increase the trauma of the original assault.

    I wonder how many cases he brought to a successful conclusion, with the perp being convicted? Well, actually, I don’t.

    “Her/His clothing was too tight/short/revealing, Yr Honour . . .”

    Then think about the courage and honour of former policeman Peter Foster and his ilk.

    Since his days in the QLD ‘force’ and (later) AFP – and especially since becoming an MP – it is clear that Dutton is yet another ‘liberal’ incapable of changing his entitled, repulsive, male chauvinist spots.

  3. Keitha Granville

    What did anyone expect ? That the members of the LNP would magically beome decent human beings after Abbott was deposed ? Loepards do not change their spots. They all believe they were born to rule, and that they can say and do anything they like “cos the adults are in charge now ”
    Until there are some rules for politicians – adhered to be every member of every party and rigidly applied by an independent upmire – we can only expect this patheticlaly juvenile and abhorrent behaviour to continue.
    I don’t imagine the Labor party members will be good little girls and boys either.

  4. Fiona


    I certainly didn’t expect a magic change post abbott regarding Coalition members.

    I also agree that many ALP members have dinosaurian attitudes, and act on them.

    However, we are talking about members of parliament, who are supposed to adhere to a higher standard of behaviour. If I had the energy just now I am reasonably sure I’d come up with a higher proportion of ALP MPs who do adhere to that higher standard than those on the conservative side.

    The ‘rules’ already exist. They are embodied in the Sex Discrimination Act and various other pieces of legislation. The difficulty is that the independent arbiters sometimes seem somewhat reluctant to use their enforcement powers.

  5. Percy

    What can the Voters of this country do considering the IMBECILE only has a IQ of 25 he should be on a DISABILITY PENSION

  6. harshmind

    Had the text reached the intended recipient Briggs, the message would have been along the lines of “don’t worry mate, they’re sheilas.”

  7. stephengb2014

    As it happens I made the following comment on a post that followed this post and before I read this article, whoch is spot on.

    This Briggs character has destroyed this womans career, and Dutton sends a message which is designed to comfort Briggs.
    Dutton is so dumb he sends his message NOT to Briggs but to the journalist who reports a piece on Briggs, whom Dutton thinks it is OK to malign!

    This is a Dumb cluck who is in a position of High Office, in our government, the government of Australia!

    Am I the only one outraged that Dutton remains in his position. Am I the only one that cannot understand why the LNP would not expell Dutton from the LNP.

    His behaviour and clearly his standard of morals is surely such that Malcolm Turnbull would have to see that Dutton is not a fit and proper person to hold his position and the LNP management consider him a disgrace to the LNP.

    Failure for Malcolm Turnbull not to take such an action would suggest that Malcolm Turnbull endorses this sort of moral standard in his ministry.
    Failure for the LNP to take the step of expelling Dutton for this sort of behavioir says that the LNP, are happy for Dutton to display a standard of behavioir that the LNP is comfortable to be seen as endorsing!

  8. John Fraser


    Business as usual for the Abbott cowards.

    And there will be no investigation to find who leaked the photos.

    And the coward will never out him/herself.

  9. harshmind

    Yes, stephengb, it must have taken guts for the young woman to complain. Either that or a realisation she does not want a career of subservience to Neanderthals. Her identity must be an open secret in Canberra so she may well have had a distressing festive season. Dutton displays little intelligence, subtlety or nuance and his repertoire seems limited to the “bad cop” routine. It’s got him pretty far up the ladder but maybe this time he’s stepped on a snake.

  10. keerti

    standars of behaviour!? there is no standard of behavior in this governmet!

  11. Terry2

    Conservative politics is in real trouble in Australia if Peter Dutton is seen as a champion of the Right.

  12. lawrencewinder

    What a stinking, foetid cabal of low -life’s are this ruling rabble? Has there ever been in this nation’s history a group so appallingly inappropriate both intellectually and ethically to lead a country?

  13. babyjewels10

    It’s not surprising. The very idea that this LNP government is populated by decent people while being the biggest destructive force in Australia ever, riddled to the eyeballs with graft and corruption, lying through their teeth, creating fear and loathing, destroying our environment, destroying green industries, condoning cruelty in our offshore concentration camps, creating huge division in the community by propping up the wealthy, while crushing the rest of us, is just laughable!

  14. Ricardo29

    Malcolm T is in a very difficult place. Losing one minister could be seen as unfortunate, losing two is incompetence, what would losing three be?

  15. RSR

    Dutton’s abhorrent behaviour reflects badly not only on himself, but on the electorate who put him in the position he’s in in the first place. Wake up, people!

  16. woomeister

    …and the golden rules of texts in business is 1. never, ever swear in the text, 2. only send a message to a colleague about someone else, that you would be happy to say to that persons face. 3. never use terms like witch, bitch, whore, bogan lazyarse etc. It just belittles the sender.

  17. mars08

    I have to assume that Dutton phone has Samantha Maiden’s number in the contacts list. Interesting that….

  18. Kaye Lee

    September 24 2015…….

    Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has called on all Australians to make a “cultural shift” and stop disrespecting women, declaring that gender inequality lies at the heart of domestic violence.

    In comments that have been labelled a “gamechanger” for the fight against domestic violence, Mr Turnbull called on parents, teachers and employers to get on board the culture change, saying he wanted Australia to become known as a country that respects women.

    “I’d say that as parents, one of the most important things we must do is ensure that our sons respect their mothers and their sisters,” Mr Turnbull told reporters in Melbourne on Thursday.

    “Because … violence against women begins with disrespecting women. And so this is a big cultural shift.”

    He also said it should be “unAustralian” to disrespect women.

    “Let me say this to you: disrespecting women does not always result in violence against
    women. But all violence against women begins with disrespecting women,” Mr Turnbull said.

  19. Florence nee Fedup

    mars08, anytime I have sent a text to the wrong person is when I have been interrupted texting someone. I replied not taking time to check I have change the number from previous person I was texting. Made a couple embarrassing texts in the process.

    Can’t see how one could tick wrong number in contacts. JB and SM wouldn’t be close together in any contact list which are usually in alphabetical order.

    Dutton did say he has had many robust conversations with Maiden.

    Maybe others can show some light on how they have mistakenly sent texts to wrong person.

    Just wondering.

  20. Roswell

    I bet Briggs and Dutton are cursing at these new data retention laws.

  21. Matthew Oborne

    This is a test if Turnbull really means what he says. Apologising for it will not help, They cleaned out some trobles over christmas only to have more ugly ones rear their heads.

    Turnbull made an appeal to Australian women when he became PM so now is the time to show us he means what he says.

    Women should not have to put up with people like this representing their areas interests.

    The Libs have to realise they are in parliament not Jurassic park.

  22. Matthew Oborne

    Not sure Roswell but somewhere along the line I got the impression MP’s were not subject to data retention.

  23. Wayne Turner

    Dutton is an idiot. “Winner” of Australia’s WORST EVER HEALTH MINISTER,as voted by medical experts.

    Spot on Matthew. Turnbullsh*t needs to act against Dutton. But won’t.

    Turnbullsh*t = All style. No substance and No guts.
    Dutton NOT being sacked (And the fact that moronic Dutton is a front bench minister still after his continuing failures shows Turnbullsh*t is WEAK.),shows how GUTLESS & WEAK Turnbullsh*t is. Turnbullsh*t afraid of how the other still Abbott lovers already dumped will react.

    Seems to be the champion of the hard right of the Libs.The main thing you need is: To be a complete hopeless moron. ONLY in these Libs would Abbott & Dutton rise.


  24. kerri

    For all the reasons you have eloquently pointed out, Eva, Turnbull must take the opportunity to declare Dutton unfit and oust him. The fact that Turnbull lacks the balls to do so defines his lack of judgement and his subservience to those who put him in power.

  25. townsvilleblog

    It seems that Turnbull is unable to sack him as the party is so disunited at present that a civil war would ensue.

  26. townsvilleblog

    Letter to the Editor
    Upon reading the Townsville Bulletin 05.01.16 story Turnbull fumes as old guard fumbles I felt a little sorry for the Prime Minister, as he is unable to act because of the factions within his party, Minister Dutton has committed an offense by sending insulting language via a public carriage text network and should lose his Ministry, surely this is not acceptable behaviour from a Minister of the Crown? Mr Turnbull is weakened by the factions within the Liberal Party, as it seems that Minister Dutton is leading the ultra conservatives, and was the Prime Minister to sack him; the government would fall into civil war. The LNP have never in recent history been less unified than they are at present.
    We have seen the LNP begin with Mr Abbott, change to Mr Turnbull and then implode with Ministers Brough and Briggs having to leave the Ministry following bad behaviour, and then the scandal surrounding Mr Dutton. The government is becoming a rabble, and Mr Turnbull’s judgement is coming into question for selecting these people to be part of his Ministry, with conspiracy theories abounding involving Messers Abbott, Andrews, Abetz, Bernardi and others tearing the government to pieces.
    Australians will not elect disunited political parties to govern, if the LNP cannot govern their members, we cannot trust them to govern Australia. We are still waiting on Mr Turnbull’s reaction to the 579 companies who turned over in excess of $100 million in the 2013/14 financial year who paid little to no tax?
    Shaun Newman
    13 Laura Court, Deeragun
    Townsville, North Queensland, 4818
    Ph: 0747516184
    Email –

  27. Darrell

    Funny how here in Ostraya we have professional sports people expected to behave in manners that will not bring their game into disrepute, and are touted as role models for our young, but the incompetent morons (adults) allegedly running the country are free to behave like school children.

  28. JeffJL

    @Florence nee Fedup (January 5, 2016 at 9:58 am)

    “Can’t see how one could tick wrong number in contacts. JB and SM wouldn’t be close together in any contact list which are usually in alphabetical order.”

    Briggs and Bitch are quite close together. 🙂

  29. Rossleigh

    Yes, JeffJL, but sometimes I’ve accidentally sent a text to the person who was the last person I texted because I thought I was replying to the text I was just sent. So if Dutton had sent a text to Maiden and then got one from Briggs, it’d be an easy mistake to make…

  30. mars08

    @Rossleigh… yep, I did it myself, yesterday. That seems the likely answer.

  31. jorgenmargarita

    I Love this “political game” in Australia……
    Strike ONE: WORST Health Minister
    Strike TWO: NO compassion for a rape victim refugee
    Strike THREE: Refusal to allow visa for family of cancer stricken foreign student (National Security issues)….
    Strike FOUR: Totally unacceptable behaviour (Unbecoming a public figure “representing” this country…)
    STILL in his position of power….

    ERR …. “What are the “rules” of this game” …?????



  32. Krose

    Look closely at the photo posted by Jamie Briggs – he is almost bald. Seeing him in various video footage his hair is thicker. Does he wear a rug ? Methinks he does….

    Another indication of his narcissism and ego.

  33. Brad

    The only advantage of leaving that dolt Dutton in a prominent position is that he’s a constant reminder of why we got rid of tony, and what lurks in the shadows of the LNP.

  34. mars08

    I get the feeling we are overdue for an urgent, serious… yet curiously nonspecific “terrorist attack” warning…

  35. Sean

    My issue with this whole ‘mad f*cking witch’ statement is that the language itself, no matter who it is intended for or accidentally sent to – and even if apologised for after the event – is a big no-no. This type of derogatory language underpins the grass roots sexism that creates an environment in which violence against women by men can thrive. It occurs in the workplace, on the sporting field and in many homes and I, perhaps naively, thought it was easily and widely understood to be wrong. Real men don’t utter it, and don’t stand by and let other men degrade women with their cowardly sexist language.

    To be sure I wasn’t talking out of my arse, I checked up to make sure that my thoughts were, as I suspected they would be, publicly backed up by evidence and officially acknowledged.

    It was no surprise, to find that the federally funded Australian Institute of Family Studies actively promotes the The Preventing Violence Against Women Program, run by the YMCA, which engages and empowers men using the bystander approach.


    The bystander approach is about empowering individuals to speak out against sexist language, jokes, or comments. The empowerment and confidence comes from knowing that if you speak up you become part of the cultural change needed to reduce sexual violence through the eradication of the determinants of sexual violence (e.g., sexism, hostility to women, violence supportive attitudes). In the VicHealth bystander report, Powell (2012) stated that although a simple joke may not seem harmful, it promotes the idea that being sexist is okay when it is actually an underlying determinant of violence against women.


    I think Malcom Turnbull needs to become more engaged in the prevention of sexual assault.

  36. Denisio Fabuloso

    Is there a minister of the Abbott regime who is not an incompetent mediocre idiot? Very few I would proffer.

  37. Kaye Lee

    Enter Barnaby Joyce to add his special brand of idiocy to the discussion.

    Mr Joyce said he hoped politicians would not become overly cautious following the Briggs incident in Hong Kong and are still willing to socialise with colleagues and journalists.

    “I don’t like to be in the holier than thou crowd,” he said.

    “If you invite me out for a drink, you want me to speak frankly and freely rather than ring up 13 media advisers and get encrypted babble. I never want our country to be completely sterile. I like that Australia is to the point. One of the great things about Australian politics is our informality and directness and I’d hate to lose that – even if there can be faux pas.”

    On the Dutton text he said “It’s what one bloke thought he was saying to another bloke. If I got upset about every time I have been abused on Twitter or in the newspaper or in text messages, I would be a case for an asylum. You have to roll with the punches.”

    It is hardly surprising that Joyce thinks this is no big deal.

    Mr Joyce apologised to National Party colleague Bridget McKenzie in 2012 for referring to her in Parliament as a “flash bit of kit”. Mr Joyce admitted to consuming alcohol beforehand but denied being drunk.

    Well let me get right to the point Joyce. You are dumb as a post and an anachronism that should never be in any position of power let alone contemplated as our next deputy PM. Your own party think you are a liability along with the rest of us. If you think it is ok to drink at work and then sexually harass your colleagues then you have no place in parliament. Is that informal and direct enough for you?

  38. jim

    And Billy got busted recently using a mobile phone while driving and it was big news on the telly, Colin, thanks for the link I hardly ever read MSM anymore so good to know. Oh, dutton Peter dutton king of wild front benchers, Libs that is, Adults,that is in charge of the worst government ever, dutton peter dutton wimp of the stupidest knuckle heads.Yay.

  39. Dirk Hugo

    Dear Prime Minister

    As a leader you are only as good as the worst behaviour you are prepared to tolerate. I feel a lot better since you took over from The Dolt but…

  40. win jeavons

    It is blindingly obvious that the conservative right have little respect for large sections of society, so people have lost respect for them. Many younger voters have lost respect for all of our politicians ; sadly this means they don’t vote, and all of us are the losers for it.

  41. Paul Murchie

    well said, Eva Cripps ! ( :

    Turkey Neck moved to absolve himself of responsibility for Ministerial Misconduct by authorising this (September 2015):
    so the miscreants have been warned and NO CONSEQUENCES WILL FOLLOW ! even Maiden beat him to the punch by giving the ExPC GIMP a glowing turfullesque reference : “Dutton is a good minister, he’s a hard worker, he’s made a strong contribution to the government” … isn’t this what the Budgie said of Hokum and #28 ? is he now so passed-it that the MSM writes his press releases without consulting him ? PFFT …

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