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Every Mike’s An Open Mike… (excluding Keenan And Baird)!

At a recent low key four flag event, we were treated to a “private conversation” between Peter Dutton, Tony Abbott and Scott Morrison where Dutton said, “Time doesn’t mean anything when you’re about to have water lapping at your door”. We know it’s a private conversation because Peter Dutton himself said so.

Mr Dutton told us, “I had a private conversation with the prime minister. I don’t intend to comment,” before adding, “I don’t have anything to add to it.”

Ok, so now not only doesn’t he comment on operational matters, both “on water” and “in Melbourne”, he also doesn’t comment on private conversations.

Although it does rather strike me that when a conversation has been recorded and broadcast, it’s hard to consider it “private” any more. Just as when I’m waiting in the supermarket queue and I see the headline on one of those magazines which announces: “Kylie’s terrible secret”, I can’t help thinking that it’s no longer a secret if it’s on page eleventeen of a national magazine.

But I shouldn’t let a strict interruption of the facts determine my position. That’s the sort of thing that can get one accused of bias in Abbott’s Australia.

Not that I’m in Abbott’s Australia. I’m excluded because I don’t have the same focus on jobs and growth and security…

Yes, I realise some of you are thinking that it’s a little tedious when I keep making reference to “jobs and growth and security”. and you’re absolutely right. But I’ll stop when he stops! As for Abbott beginning an answer to a question on 7-30 about the economy with, “We’ve stopped the boats…”, when I wrote it in a piece a few months ago, some people laughed. Now we just say, Tony, for heaven’s sake, man, get professional help before it’s too late.

Anyway, one wonders about the subtext of our esteemed Immigration Minister. After being generally regarded as the most incompetent Health Minister since… Now let’s see… Um… Ah… I may have to get back to you on that one. After making a complete botch of Health, Dutton was moved to Immigration where following on the footsteps of Scott Morrison, he merely had to promise to hold a press conference once a week, then say nothing because the government doesn’t comment on operational matters. In fact, he no longer had to hold the press conferences because the media had stopped going because a) Morrison never answered any questions and b) Morrison started announcing that this week’s conference would be held in a remote Queensland town in five minutes time.

So, all Dutton had to do in order to be regarded as performing moderately well, would be to perform his role with the skills that someone in a coma could provide. Just keep your mouth shut, Pete and nobody might notice that you’re not Scott Morrison.

But Dutton seemed to think that his talking is a good thing which is rather strange because I can’t remember any time that he’s opened his mouth and people have said, “Now that’s interesting” or “What a good idea!” Not even the usual cheerleaders of Liberal Policy. When Dutton speaks, his supporters either defend him or change the subject.

So from his little gaffe we’ve learned the following:

  • Dutton wasn’t told to treat every microphone as an open mike, or else he didn’t notice that there were a number of such objects within a few feet of his conversation.
  • Either Dutton doesn’t believe that sea levels are rising, or he does and just thinks it’s funny that certain people will be displaced.
  • Mr Abbott finds it funny too, because he laughed and we’ve been assured that Mr Abbott takes climate change seriously.
  • Dutton’s conversational skills are even less impressive than his ministerial skills and he’d make an even less interesting dinner party guest than Bob Menzies. Who admittedly was probably interesting once, but as he passed away last century his discussion skills aren’t what they once were.

But perhaps I’m doing him a disservice. Perhaps, after Abbott’s comments about “Cape York time” and how there was a bit of that up at Port Moresby, Dutton – like Rufus Youngblood – threw himself in the path and took one to protect his leader.

Actually when I think about it, Rufus Youngblood threw his body over Lyndon Johnson because Kennedy had already been shot by then. Mm, he must have decided that Kennedy was too wounded to be worth protecting so he picked the Vice President instead. Interesting… Perhaps a few Liberals should follow Rufus’ lead…

Anyway, perhaps it was just Dutton’s way of making sure that Abbott doesn’t attract any bad press in the week before the Canning by-election – clever how the Liberals have managed to frame it so that a win is a great victory because Labor should win as they only need a mere twelve percent swing. In normal circumstances, Labor may not even field a candidate in a seat like that.

Also interesting that the Liberal candidate, Andrew Hastie doesn’t want to talk about his views on creationism, because that’s not one of the issues in this election. I always like it when politicians do things like that. In the Liberal page telling us about Mr Hastie it informs us: “Andrew and Ruth are active members of their church”, but apparently we can’t ask questions about his beliefs. To me, this is like when politicians parade their families for photo opportunities and interviews and then say, “Leave my family out this” when one of the subjects of the two page spread has managed to wrangle their way out of a punishment, or seemingly gained some advantage from the backer of the party.

It’s like the birthmark on my knee. Now that I’ve brought it up, I can’t claim that you have no right to ask me about the colour and shape. I may choose to say that I’m still keeping it private, but it’s going to be my fault if it somehow becomes an issue!

Of course, Mr Hastie’s views on creationism are really of little interest to me. I’m more interested in his views on science. Does he believe that science is an ongoing quest for knowledge which should be supported in its attempts to improve lives? Or does he hold the same position as Tony Abbott?


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  1. M-R

    And that’s the key: Hastie’s idea of science is what the gutless reporters should’ve been questioning.
    They are SO BLOODY USELESS that they take my breath away,
    Happily for you.

  2. David

    Good read Rossleigh, you prompt me to ask myself…..why is there no interest in polls re the Canning by – election? Unless my aging brain has missed them, I can only recall one poll being published since the official start of the campaign, which had Labor and the Fibs neck and neck and the Greens while still a mile behind making good ground.

    Ms Bishop of the international wardrobe, tells us Labor are not trying to win, quite the comedian that lady. But I can imagine why they wont publish there internal polling, but Murdoch’s News poll? Surely its not all bad as in “we are doomed, doomed” Or is it?
    I find it very odd indeed, a by – election as important as this and not a poll to be found.

    Oh well only 7 days for the real poll…I think I might pop a lazy dollar or 5 on Labors Matt Keogh. Seems to be a nice young chap, lives in the electorate, presentable, speaks well and from what I deduce is a good lad to his mum. Onya Matt.

  3. Florence nee Fedup

    Heard Hastie say yesterday, he will only talk about ICE. That is the topic he picked. No questions on anything else. In fact Fed Ministers with him seem to do all the talking. A scripted slogan, I suspect is the limit of his ability.

    Listening to the Labor candidate is the opposite. Talks policy and answers questions. Shadow MPs with him only play supporting role. Keogh appears to be a young candidate of substance.

    The only reassuring thing I have heard Hastie say, he and his mates used to pinch the grog she kept in her fridge. I presume he is talking about his maternal grandmother.

    Then when he starts spruiking that the way to beat ICE is mandatory sentences, I fear he learnt little from her.

  4. Florence nee Fedup

    Keogh appears to be a lawyer, whose main career has been in public sector. Has acted as prosecutor in the criminal field, among his many achievements.

  5. Florence nee Fedup

    Whether his beliefs allow him to support SSM, and CC science is important to many voters.

    These are questions he and his handlers believe we have no right to ask.

  6. rossleighbrisbane

    Indeed, David, it seems a curious thing to suggest that Labor are running dead if only for the fear that they might actually agree and say, Yes we are because as Bishop the Younger has pointed out, keeping Abbott as PM is our best chance of winning the next election!

  7. susanai

    If ALP lose Canning then it’s a fair chance LNP will win next election – it will prove that Australians have turned into neocons and that they are stupid dolts!

  8. David

    @susanai….mmm drawing a long bow there. What if there is nothing in the result and Hastie scrambles over the line by a few votes. He starts with a helluva big advantage…12% . Very difficult to match local result with that sized margin to kick off and a Federal poll of assorted margins and polling saying for 2 years Lbor will win with a healthy margin.
    Not saying your point is beyond reality, but can’t agree. Cheers though 🙂

  9. Florence nee Fedup

    They had that so called private conversation in a very public place. So public, that there was danger of being overheard, or even lipped read. Sorry Mr Dutton, the conversation wasn’t private.

  10. diannaart

    Most excellent reading, Rossleigh.

    I was particularly taken with your suggestion that Hastie be asked his views on science, thus avoiding the entire “my religion is my personal business except when it is advantageous for it to be public” scenario.

    We can just avoid religion entirely and concentrate on science – how refreshing! I’m not saying ignoring religion will make it go away, however…. well it can’t hurt.

    Maybe people will adapt to dealing with reality instead of their nearest and dearest myths.

  11. John

    “Dutton’s way of making sure that Abbott doesn’t attract any bad press in the week before the Canning by-election”
    Mandurah, the population centre in the heart of Canning, is built on canals in a reclaimed swamp.
    “Time doesn’t mean anything when you’re about to have water lapping at your door”.
    Do you think Canning voter get the joke “Canute” Dutton?

  12. kerri

    What got me with Hastie was he spoke of the happy days driving around with his preacher father then refused to discuss the religion he shares with his father!!!! Hypocrisy much?
    As for Dutton, Morrison has been edging his way back into Immigration territory, probably because of the ineptitude of Mr Potato Head, so Dutto feels vulnerable. ? But he knows the Abbott has his back so a bit of jokey blokey talk to show he’s still bosom buddies with the PM backfired hugely and Dutton as usual lacks the wit or intellect to divert the attention. Gotta say though ScoMo handled it well which must be a thorn in the Mad Monk’s side? Shown up again by someone with more nouse and professionalism. Morrison is cluey but still a prize nasty! Dutton is just lacking…….. everything!!!

  13. JeffJL

    So Ross. What is the colour and shape of your birthmark?

  14. stephentardrew

    Spot on Diannaart:

    “We can just avoid religion entirely and concentrate on science – how refreshing! I’m not saying ignoring religion will make it go away, however…. well it can’t hurt.”

    Sadly the point would just fly over the theocrats heads.

  15. heatherex

    Dutton sounds like the life of the party……such stimulating conversation.

  16. eli nes

    Two things stick out:
    the raucus guffaws of the rabbutt at the ‘joke’
    the question labor should ask, but wont or can’t, is hastie’s attitude to women?
    Creationist believe god made men from dust but women are made from men and are physiologically unfit for leadership.

  17. Aortic

    Why did Adam and Eve have navels? Maybe Hastie Tasty or his father can explain that one. The wonderful thing about science is that it is evolutionary and is prepared to admit it does not have all the answers but through investigation and trial moves on. Faith is finito, end of story unarguably incontestable. Think I prefer reason.

  18. Winston

    It’s only been the last couple of years Peter Dutton has been back on the scene though he’s still been collecting the very expensive dole payments all this time. So where do you find a thing like Dutton? The Liberals only wheel him out for public display on very special projects. OK’ there was a slight malfunction in Hymie’s settings this week; sorry I mean Peter. Though, I have heard whisper that Peter really is a robot. And during his hiatus extensive repairs and tests have been achieved including formulating an Abbott style psychological demeanor. Dutton or 91 as he is affectionately known, is regarded as the Conservatives most secret weapon to staying in power.

  19. Peter F

    For me, the significance of this scene is the absolute mirth on Abbott’s face, as opposed to Morrison’s , the only one who knew the mike was on.: he had to keep a straight face.

  20. David

    @eli nes….:”the question labor should ask, but wont or can’t, is hastie’s attitude to women?”
    How about the voters of Canning should be asking the question of themselves? Are they not capable of following the public dialogue? They are the reason for this, they decide who goes on to represent them. There are ample opportunities to question Hastie on the hustings. How about the Canberra Press Gallery? That’s there supposed function in life. Ask questions, dig out the truth.
    From what I have read and heard, Labors Matt Keogh is doing very nicely, only so many arrows in his quiver.

    Oh and another day goes by and still no major poll on the voter trends in Canning. I believe the Captains Pick is turning out to be Abbotts ‘Knight in dull Armour’.

    For mine, Labor is running an excellent campaign with a well chosen candidate.

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