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Duttonisation – an existential threat to Morrison?

By Ad astra 

Make no mistake – Dutton’s thirst for power remains unquenched. His conviction that he is ‘the better man’ to be prime minister continues unabated. This piece argues that in pursuit of this lofty goal, he has now consciously embarked on a process best described as ‘Duttonisation’.

Let me explain.

The most recent demonstration of what I have termed Duttonisation was his foray into intimidation of sections of the mainstream media that dared to reveal information that was embarrassing to the government. By bringing the Australian Federal Police into play, he exposed his intention to flex his muscles and push his retaliatory line, even if it embarrassed Morrison in the process.

What’s more, I posit that it’s credible to deduce from Dutton’s recent behaviour that his intention is to put the finger on Morrison until he buckles and the time is right to strike. This is the theme of this piece. 

There is no need for me to detail the intimidating AFP raid on the Canberra home of News Corp journalist Annika Smethurst, or the raid on the ABC’s Sydney headquarters; you have seen accounts of them ad nauseam. They will remain as emblems of the Morrison government’s strident push towards authoritarianism, its intolerance of criticism, and its rejection of any disagreement with its values and actions.

Some critics insist that this push will inexorably lead to ‘a police state’! They put side by side the authoritarian pattern of behaviour exhibited by Dutton and Morrison and that of ‘Big Brother’, the central character in George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty Four. who, as leader of The Party engaged ‘Thought Police’ to persecute individuality and independent thinking. Read what David Tyler had to say about this in ScoMo embraces police state in a shocker of a week on The AIM Network.

Although Morrison has not resisted the push towards authoritarianism, it is the mean, intemperate Dutton who is the driving force. His nastiness is legend, his persona exudes it, and his daily words and actions confirm it. Paul Keating’s request to his electorate to ‘drive a stake through his mean heart’ was ignored by the voters of Dickson, who re-elected this meanest of men. You can picture him in his former role as a ‘tough cop on the beat’.

Morrison ought to be worried about this viper in his nest, who would undo him in an instant should the opportunity arise.

If you have doubts about Dutton’s agenda, reflect on the words and extraordinary actions of his departmental head Mike Pezzullo, who took the unusual action of ringing Senator Rex Patrick to tell him to watch his words after he issued a press release criticising the media raids.

What did Patrick say? “The overall trend has been clear for some time with the Government clearly working up a suppression trifecta: routinely obstructing and delaying Freedom of Information applications; persecuting whistleblowers such as Witness K and Richard Boyle, and now using the police to intimidate journalists. There is no doubt that Coalition Ministers and senior bureaucrats have no love of media scrutiny.” 

What was Pezzulo’s beef? Apparently, he felt the last sentence reflected poorly on his character! We can be sure that he would not have said what he did without a nod of approval from Dutton. Departmental heads do not go out on a limb different from their masters.

Morrison’s reaction was muted. While hinting that Pezzulo’s action was not appropriate, he did not come down heavily on him for castigating an elected member of the Senate. Was Morrison afraid of upsetting Pezzulo’s boss – the intemperate Dutton?

Following a previous episode of criticism, Dutton had angrily retorted: ” Some of the crazy lefties at the ABC, and on The Guardian, and The Huffington Post, can express concern and draw mean cartoons about me and all the rest of it. They don’t realise how completely dead they are to me.” His insolence is legend.

Recall his oft-used words when, as Immigration Minister, he was publically commenting on ‘boat arrivals’ and their asylum-seeker cargo. He shrouded vital information about them by insisting he would not comment about “on water” matters, “operational” matters, “national security”, “commercial-in-confidence” matters, or matters “under investigation”. He insisted that such matters were a “report to government not by government”. Whenever he elected to address the public, his obsession with secrecy ensured that the truth was obscured.

Sadly, secrecy has now become the Morrison government’s modus operandi.

Writing in The AIM Network, Kaye Lee comprehensively spells out the Coalition’s obsession with secrecy in Pull your head in Mike. Do read it.

As current Minister for Home Affairs, Dutton continues on his shameless pursuit of those who seek asylum in our country. Although our National Anthem joyfully declares: “For those who’ve come across the seas, we’ve boundless plains to share”, Dutton differs. His intention is to punish those who try their hand in leaky boats.

A recent case exposes yet again Dutton’s mean heart. Sri Lankan Tamils Nadesalingnam and Priya arrived separately by boat in 2012 and 2013, having fled the civil war in that country. After being processed on Christmas Island, and having been given a bridging visa, they met in Queensland, married, and started a family in Biloela. But one day after Priya’s visa expired last March, the family was moved to the Melbourne Immigration Detention Centre (MITA), 1800km south of Biloela, where they remain to this day. Dutton insists they are illegal migrants, and the courts confirm this. He is hell-bent on deporting them. But that is not the point of this story.

On last Sunday’s Insiders, Dutton insisted that he had got all children out of detention here in Australia, patently a lie, as the family remains at MITA. About to celebrate her second birthday, youngest daughter Tharunicaa was eagerly waiting the arrival of her birthday cake – a strawberry cheesecake – but this was denied entry into MIT. Although Dutton is responsible for goings-on at MIT, did that touching situation melt his hard heart and persuade him to intervene? Will it? Don’t hold your breath! Will Morrison get involved? What do you think?

Now that the Federal Court has ruled that doctors do not have to have a face-to-face interview with a refugee before determining whether they need medical treatment in Australia, and can instead make a recommendation based on a person’s records, the medevac issue has been raised to prominence once more. Already Dutton has claimed: “It may have applicability to many hundreds of people, which has certainly the potential to restart boats and that would be a travesty.” No doubt he will again insist that countless murderers, rapists, paedophiles, and sundry criminals will soon arrive on our shores. Dutton never misses an opportunity to mount a monumental scare campaign, no matter how many safeguards are in place to prevent this. ‘Fear’ is part of Dutton’s stock in trade.

How will Morrison react? No doubt he’ll amplify Dutton’s scaremongering. He certainly won’t attempt to dampen down any of the fear Dutton generates around Medevac. Fear is his stock in trade too!

Now in case you think that Dutton could not behave even more abhorrently about the effect of Medevac, reflect on what he said on Sky News on 12 June“…women have been “trying it on”, under the Medevac legislation. Let’s be serious about this. There are people who have claimed that they’ve been raped and came to Australia to seek an abortion because they couldn’t get an abortion on Nauru. They arrive in Australia and then decide they are not going to have an abortion. They have the baby here and the moment they step off the plane their lawyers lodge papers in the federal court which injuncts us from sending them back.”And now he’s claiming that asylum seekers and refugees on Manus Island and Nauru are refusing resettlement offers in the United States because of the medevac legislation!

Dr Kerryn Phelps, former member for Wentworth, who led the charge for Medevac, blasted Dutton’s claims: “It’s outrageous that the Minister of Home Affairs should come out swinging on this law, and try to deny people the healthcare they need on World Refugee Day. To denigrate the motives and reputations of the doctors who are giving their time for a humanitarian cause is unconscionable.

“These doctors are acting out of compassion in the interests of human rights and the obligations of the medical profession to provide healthcare where possible to people who need it. To disparage their reputation in this way is just unforgivable. It’s an international embarrassment.”

So what can we conclude?

In summary, this piece argues that Dutton is resolutely determined to elevate his status and eventually take control of the LNP government. From the moment Malcolm Turnbull’s prime ministership came into question, Dutton believed he was the ‘better man’ to replace him, and that his bid for the top job should be supported by his colleagues. There is no evidence that he has abandoned this lofty ambition. In fact, recent revelations show how he and Morrison colluded in this shameful process. And I’m not the only one who sees it that way. Read David Tyler’s Dutton’s naked power grab in The AIM Network, and Kristina Keneally’s assessment of the ‘man who cries wolf’ in The Guardian.

I wonder how Dutton will react to the recent National Press Club statement on the AFP raids and the NPC event on 26 June: Press Freedom – On the line featuring the Managing Director of the ABC, David Anderson, the Chief Executive Officer of Nine, Hugh Marks, and the Executive Chairman Australasia, News Corp, Michael Miller?

Watch Dutton in the months ahead and draw your own conclusions.

This article was originally published on The Political Sword.

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12 comments

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  1. Grumpy Geezer

    Guzumped again.

    The times will suit Spud. Watch this space.

  2. Ill fares the land

    Unhappily, I face another three years of using the mute button on the remote every time Mr Potato Head is on the TV screen – I am not sure whether I am more reviled by him, the truly appalling Parliamentary Gurning Champion, Michaelia Cash or McShouty Morrison, self-appointed svengali and grand poobah of the Cult of Morrison and …. well, pretty much every LNP member. I can see the next three years passing slowly indeed. On the other hand, I should be grateful that the remote actually has a mute button.

  3. whatever

    He is the Colonel Kurtz of the NthQLD jungle.

  4. Terence Mills

    The incredible thing is that Dutton, the ‘responsible’ minister, continues to distance himself from the AFP raids yet we all know that it was he who ordered these raids.

    As was noted by the Press Club panel of media executives, these raids and the timing of the raids were aimed at intimidating not only the media but more so whistleblowers.

    Dutton with his blatant lies is a danger to our democracy.

    I can only assume that the pork barreling in the Dickson electorate – where I used to live – encouraged the electors to allow self interest to supercede the national interest.

  5. Phil

    ‘ The times will suit Spud. Watch this space. ‘

    It is fortunate that violence has come to the streets of Australia on very few rare occasions. This I believe is about to change.

    Having manned the barricades in the Patrick’s dispute in 1998 it was my road to Damascus. Having seen the police the tools of the capitalist class in action, I have no doubt of what is in store for the working class over the next three years. Morrison with his Reichsmarschall, Dutton, are about to run Amok.

    Having seen what the government is capable of the 1998 Patrick’s dispute, I am under no illusion of what is about to come. I also might mention at the time of the dispute the Labor party the so called party of the working class, went to water over it all. I remember Peter Cook the Labor Senator from WA. coming down to the wharves and giving us all a load of old flannel. It is only because of the presence of the international media that no one was actually killed in this dispute. As more and more police descended on the wharfs they were taunting us with violence. It was leading up to a riot. On the last night of the dispute I rang my wife and told her I may not be home. It would be likely I would be in prison, in a hospital or both. Or God help me possibly dead. I might mention this was nearly the Eureka Stockade redux. 2. The word went out, no surrender. The dispute was settled in the end but, the working class lost everything.

    I don’t think the people of Australia have yet realized what they have done. The shit is soon going to hit the fan. Anyone that doesn’t have their head up their own arse must be able to feel the wind that blows ill all over this land. We are all soon to be tested, to work out whose side we are all on.

  6. David Bruce

    Have a look at stop007.org and see where we are going and how he fits the mold! Did these agents use a DEW to start the fire in the Notre Dame?

  7. wam

    Is there are politician who can look at the lemon, the rabbott, Trumbull or scummo and not image he, she or it could not do a better job? Dutton May be consolidating his status but till he shifts portfolios he cannot drag enough support. All scummo needs to do is keep him in the cabinet and feed him illegals.
    ps AdAstra I know where the poms got their Tamils and why they were useful. If any of the Tamil asylum seekers were genuine refugees they would have taken the short inexpensive trip to safety.

  8. Terence Mills

    The rorts are already starting – from the Guardian :

    “Warren Mundine received approval for government funding for a second season of his Sky News TV show before his application for the grant had been submitted, documents obtained by Guardian Australia reveal.

    Mundine, a former president of the Australian Labor Party who became Scott Morrison’s pick for the seat of Gilmore at the 2019 federal election, had hosted two seasons of a Sky News TV series showcasing Indigenous businesses called Mundine Means Business.

    The government was criticised in early 2019 when it was revealed that the show had been funded in part by the federal government as part of its Indigenous Advancement Strategy. The two series were funded, in part, by two contributions from the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet to Mundine’s business, Nyungga Black Group, totalling just over $300,000″.

    There are so many things wrong with what has happened here. Why are we, the taxpayer, giving money to a now failed Liberal candidate so that he can host a show on pay TV (Murdoch television). If it was so important to have Mundine advance indigenous interests why could it not have been done on the ABC or even more appropriately, SBS ?

  9. New England Cocky

    A student of history could reasonably compare the current machinations in the Liarbral Notional$ misgovernment as akin to the situation in the USSR when Stalin was jockeying for autocratic power after the death of Lenin in 1923.

    There seems little doubt that Duddo wants to be Prim Monster and has the track record of abusing Aboriginal kids, possibly qualifying him as Australia’s Hitler with the final solution for ‘the Aboriginal Problem’ repeating history. Remember after 1901, Australian government policy was state sponsored Aboriginal genocide by any and every means possible, so there is a precedent.

  10. Ad Astra

    Folks
    Thank you for your contribution to this piece. You share my apprehension about Dutton’s intentions and what a Dutton-led outfit would be and do. The similarities between Dutton and Orwell’s Big Brother are frightening. We must be alert AND alarmed!

  11. Phil

    ‘ Have a look at stop007.org and see where we are going and how he fits the mold! Did these agents use a DEW to start the fire in the Notre Dame? ‘

    This warrants much further investigation. Very interesting.

  12. Paul Davis

    Terence, “if it was so important to have Mundine advance indigenous interests why could it not have been done on the ABC or even more appropriately, SBS ?”

    Exactly, or more to the point Channel 34 NITV, the dedicated publicly funded indigenous affairs free to air outlet, which certainly could do with some fresh programs given the number of repeats shown.

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