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Is Dutton Labor’s ‘secret weapon’?

Peter Dutton has finally become the leader of something. It is a disorganised rabble, but I am sure he is thrilled. Opposition Leader, and he is already talking about swooping in and fixing “Labor’s inevitable mess” in 2025. This is truly delusional, and uncoupled from reality.

It is as if the last nine years never happened. Labor has been in government for a couple of weeks, and they better fix whatever has gone wrong, and quickly. Memo to the Libs: Be ashamed at where a once great party has ended up, with life-long Liberals voting “anything but Liberals”.

They will pile on to the “burn Morrison at the stake” moment, but Morrison led a party of men, and women, who had abrogated their sacred duty to serve the people of Australia.

Instead they indulged in class politics, climate vandalism, social regression, barely concealed racism, transphobic vilification, anti-intellectualism, and conspicuous corruption. The environment is reeling, the word “green” had become a term of abuse, the disabled and the poor have been routinely pursued through the courts.

The tragedy for Australia is that Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition is led by a person who has built his entire reputation on just such a public persona.

Everything Morrison, Joyce, Dutton and Frydenberg did for the last period of government has been either shoddy, dishonest, socially regressive, elitist and or reactionary. I cannot think of one (positive) achievement they could boast of. There are plenty of negatives, but as they say, the vibe has changed.

They tortured the refugees until it became politically embarrassing to keep them locked up, and they were secretly released, with no supports in place.

The Biloela family have finally been repatriated home, and we can blame Morrison, Dutton and Alex Hawke in equal parts for their misery. All duck-shovers and gas lighters. Memo: the reason everyone loathed your time in office was because of such tactics.

Peter Dutton has had a variable time this year. His win in a defamation case, against Shane Bazzi, an unemployed refugee advocate, was set aside by appeal. Bazzi had called Dutton a “rape apologist“.

Mr Bazzi was responding to a statement Mr Dutton had made in 2019. His tweet linked to a Guardian article where Dutton made the claim that rape victims on Nauru were fabricating their claims.

Mr Bazzi used Twitter to make his comment. I suspect that many Twitter readers agreed with his comment, but that is not a defence. It depends on what you feel the word “apologist” means.

And then there is the flawed Australian Defamation Law, where the judge decides what the reader probably imputed from your statement. So you are not judged on what you said, but on what someone else decided you meant to say.

Even Christian Porter wanted to change that aspect of the law, before commencing on his own doomed legal adventures. What can you expect from a government which refused to cease the incarceration of children as young as ten, and which allowed a whistleblower’s lawyer to be tried secretly, because he acted on behalf of the man who blew the whistle on Australia’s security services, for acting unlawfully.

Although it is clear no-one in the coalition has ever heard of Franz Kafka, it should be government policy to only employ people who have read “The Trial.”

“Some people are trying it on,” he said:

“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 arrived in Australia and then decided they were 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.”

The same day the tweet was posted, Mr Dutton had said he was unaware of the “she said, he said” details of Brittany Higgins’ rape allegations.

Ms Higgins was claiming she had been raped. Her alleged assailant was not claiming to have been raped, and so there was no moral equivalence.

Those words are ‘police-speak’; formulaic, dismissive and designed to cast equal weight onto the male-female narrative scales. So you would have to be pre-literate to miss the misogynistic framing of that disclaimer. His language speaks to a generation of men who are not interested in fairness, or change.

Peter Dutton was a Minister in Scott Morrison’s Government. Shane Bazzi is unemployed, and his defamation defence was crowd funded. He advocates for refugees. In an ironic sense, Shane Bazzi’s family has itself been ‘defamed’ by Dutton, as he is descended from the Lebanese migrants who arrived in the 1970s. Dutton has pronounced them as irretrievably criminal, and he has the computations to ‘prove’ it.

The problem with Dutton’s public pronouncements is that so many of them are just wrong, or without evidence, or just another way of drawing attention to himself. Many of them are offensive, and many set up ‘straw men’ for the public to fear and loathe.

Paedophiles and pacifists are two groups he targets, and the Chinese Communists are an old standby. “Lefties and greenies’, possibly transgender folk, it is not too hard to fall foul of this man.

He voted against same sex marriage, and he did walk out of the Stolen Generations apology, so he has many unpopular and reactionary opinions, publicly stated, which he will need to reverse, if he is to reinvent himself.

Some can be interpreted as ‘dog whistling’, such as when he demonises refugees, or Muslims, even African gangs. On a more absurd note, he did want to assist white South African farmers in fleeing their own country, because of perceived racial prejudice against them. You cannot make that stuff up.

Dutton, now that he is the leader, will presumably want to project a friendlier face, but his appearances so far suggest that he is incapable, or merely unwilling, to work for Australia, rather than fighting to tear down a Labor government, which has had exactly zero time to settle in.

I think he will find inner Sydney and Melbourne harder to convince of his bona fides. He didn’t exactly cover himself in glory when his first thought, upon taking over Defence, was to cancel funding for “woke morning teas“, where defence force members dress in rainbow colours to signal the department is welcoming towards LGBT members, and possible recruits.

Peter Dutton has recently floated the idea of taxpayers bearing the cost of politicians’ defamation cases, seeing it as a ‘workplace entitlement’. We must remember he is the minister who gave a half billion dollars to Paladin, a company with a shed on a beach for an office. Dutton has got a long row to hoe, if anyone is ever going to like him, let alone vote for him. His wife said recently, “He is not a monster.” Let’s go with that thought.

 

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21 comments

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  1. Jenn

    Yep, and still every time Peter Dutton opens his mouth, the negative, bullying, destructive words gush out. Pot and kettle both!!! If anything, the new Dutton is worse than the old one because of the addition of the claim of change.

  2. Michael Taylor

    I’m so glad he’s in opposition.

    Actually, I’m not glad that he’s in parliament.

  3. Albos Elbow

    Under Scummo’s world of corruption and lack of transparency, politicians have become more and more emboldened to use defamation claims and legal action to shut down their critics, suppress the truth and reduce their own accountability.

    The NSW Council for Civil Liberties is deeply concerned by the tendency of Australian politicians to employ defamation law against journalists and critics. This behaviour has a significant potential chilling effect on freedom of expression, undermining our ability to hold politicians to account.

    Christian Porter sued the ABC so that the public could not discuss his alleged historical rapes any more. The arsehole is as guilty as sin and everyone knew it, but he will never have his day in court to explain what really happened. There is no justice for the greiving family of the victim, who committed suicide in desperation.
    The former attorney-general also using a blind trust to cover the source of his legal payments.

    Former NSW deputy premier John Barilaro sued YouTube personality Jordan Shanks for defamation, because of his claims that Pork Barilaro was corrupt and used taxpayer money to buy votes.
    Don’t the voters of NSW have a right to find out how exactly the Deputy Premier was using our taxpayer dollars, rather than have evidence and the truth removed under threat of legal action.

    Ex MP Sophie Mirabella succeeded against a regional newspaper, Benalla Newspapers in 2017, winning $175,000 in damages, though the allegations made against her were fairly minor and open to interpertation.

    Wannabee MP Clive Palmer has threatened defamation proceedings against many publishers, including YouTuber Friendlyjordies. He has sued Malcom Turnbull twice, Mark McGowan twice, and then Cathy O’Toole.
    Mark McGowan counterclaimed in defamation against Palmer.

    MP Luke Foley threatened to sue the ABC for articles alleging that he sexually harassed an ABC journalist.

    Andrew Laming sued the ABC and Louise Milligan over articles relating to a photo he took of a woman bending over at a Brisbane landscaping business and reportedly sent out dozens of threatening letters to other politicians and journalists in respect of the matter.

    Laming also used his staff to send out correspondence to the non-profit advocacy organisation Older Women’s Network NSW, warning them that a Facebook post they had shared was defamatory.
    If they did not remove the post by Laming’s deadline, the email read, it could amount to “aggravating” circumstances and cause “additional legal costs”. Having little funding or finances to cover litigation, they reluctantly took down the post. The truth was buried.

    Dutton, of course, mounted a defamation suit against refugee advocate Shane Bazzi for a tweet he alleges was defamatory. Having lost the appeal and to cover any more legal fees, he is now advocating that taxpayer funds should be given to members of parliament who intend to launch or defend defamation actions. He said these funds should be seen as a “workplace entitlement”.

    Fuck those on the minimum wage who want an extra dollar an hour to cover the cost of living explosions.
    No, that money should go to corrupt politicians, so they can cover up the truth and help remove any accountability for their actions.

    Commander Voldemort Potato Head hasn’t changed one little bit.

  4. Michael Taylor

    AE, he won’t change. But the Murdoch media’s portrayal of him will.

    Here comes Mr Nice Guy.

  5. New England Cocky

    Yes Michael, you have the strategy … the same as used in Germany 1933-1945 to maintain a dictatorship in collusion with heavy industrialists and bankers. Tell a big lie often enough and eventually the masses will believe it.

  6. Peter F

    It is good that he is leader of the opposition: Every time he speaks we are reminded of what we experienced for nine long years.

  7. Terence Mills

    I can see why WA Premier Mark McGowan is so popular :

    “West Australian Premier Mark McGowan has labelled Peter Dutton an “extremist” and not “that smart”, saying he is unfit for the Liberal Party leadership.

    Asked about Mr Dutton potentially becoming the new leader of the Liberal Party, Mr McGowan said he was not fit to be the Prime Minister someday.

    “He’s an extremist and I don’t think he fits with modern Australia at all,” the Premier told reporters on Monday.

    “He doesn’t seem to listen, he’s extremely conservative. I actually don’t think he’s that smart.

    “I’ve seen him present on things. I don’t really pick up there’s much there.”

    Very astute assessment !

  8. corvusboreus

    Albos elbow,
    Slight correction:
    Former AG Christian Porter repeatedly called the anonymous donations (to help cover the legal costs of his vexatious litigation of our national broadcaster) a ‘blind trust’, and the convenient catch-phrase stuck (thanks media), but in reality ‘blind trust’ was a legal misnomer deliberately employed to create a false narrative (aka ‘gaslighting’).

    A blind trust is defined as ‘a trust independently administering the private business interests of a person in public office to prevent conflict of interest’

    The resident attorney general taking brown bag donations from anonymous sources/interests to help pay for his personal legal expenses is definitively NOT a ‘blind trust’, it is pretty much the polar opposite.

  9. leefe

    “Paedophiles and pacifists are two groups he targets … ”

    Does anyone have an issue with pollies going after paedophiles? Not that I can recall him actually doing so; he may have used it as an allegation against groups he targets, but actually condeming the Pells etc?

  10. Harry Lime

    Is he Labor’s secret weapon?Well he’s certainly a loose canon, likely to shoot himself down with some thoughtless comments.Unless Queensland secedes from the Commonwealth, he’s going nowhere..he’s about as popular as a floater in a spa bath,but not nearly as attractive.

  11. Phil Pryor

    The Dutton object is a repulsive form of dummy, a marionette, a puppet, and the finger of someone (Murdoch?) is inserted up an orifice to manoeuvre a larynx and activate a tiny pre-programmed chip of conservative positions, e g, greed, profiteering, control, coercion, supremacist and triumphal snobuppery. Old British murderous imperialist drives mix with modern thuggishness of USA type, a ala beattheshitoutoflowtypes politics, the enforcers’ position he knew well. Having bleached and shaved, His Whiteness moves to address the flock, a smaller one now, but with maggoty media multiplication, a crop for nurturing. We all need a Dutton, don’t we, along with haemorrhoids, plagues, the clap (not applause) and galloping alopecia. Who needs a ducking Futton??

  12. Terence Mills

    It has slipped below the radar that Josh Frydenberg has taken out a creditor’s petition against Michael Staindl for a debt of legal costs awarded by the court to Frydenberg over the section 44 issue concerning Frydenberg’s possible dual citizenship.

    A creditor’s petition is a document lodged with a court by a creditor (someone who is owed money) against a debtor (the person who owes money to the creditor). The purpose of the creditor’s petition is to ask the court to make a debtor bankrupt. A court can do this by making a sequestration order against a debtor.

    You will recall that there were several such cases Including Barnaby Joyce, Fiona Nash, Scott Ludlam, Larissa Waters and Malcolm Roberts all of whom were found by the High Court to be subjects or citizens of foreign powers when they nominated for federal election.

    The relevant provision in section 44(i) reads :

    Any person who:

    is under any acknowledgment of allegiance, obedience, or adherence to a foreign power, or is a subject or a citizen or entitled to the rights or privileges of a subject or a citizen of a foreign power;

    shall be incapable of being chosen or of sitting as a senator or a member of the House of Representatives.

    If any of those criteria apply then the person cannot take a seat in our parliament – those named above were subject to a by-election in their seat in the case of the lower House or replaced in the case of the senate (casual vacancy provisions of the constitution).

    The only way such a matter can be tested at law is for somebody, usually a constituent who considers that the politician in question did not meet the constitutional criteria to be elected, to have the matter reviewed by the High Court sometimes Federal Court sitting as the Court of Disputed Returns. In fact, this is the only way that the matter could be reviewed as the AEC do not have the capacity or authority to act as a court.

    What is odd is that Frydenberg, having won his case, is now seeking to bankrupt a voter, Michael Staindl, to recover his legal costs amounting to $410,000 : all Staindl did was exercise his democratic right to ask a question.

    It seems to me (and I’m no specialist in this area) that by taking this action Frydenberg is using intimidatory tactics to discourage the right of a voter to exercise this democratic right to question the constitutional credentials an aspiring politician must meet to be elected to our parliament.

    This is the full section 44 – the question is would you be willing to raise an objection to a particular candidate, based on these criteria, if you were risking possible possible bankruptcy by doing so ?

    https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Joint/Electoral_Matters/Inquiry_into_matters_relating_to_Section_44_of_the_Constitution/Report_1/section?id=committees%2Freportjnt%2F024156%2F25954

  13. wam

    His beliefs are fixed by his family history, upbringing and work culture. They are found in the minds of service personnel all over Australia. I have one army friend who supports labor and he rose to colonel. All army, navy and airforce friends and acquantanc Your words: “His language speaks to a generation of men who are not interested in fairness, or change.” and “either shoddy, dishonest, socially regressive, elitist and or reactionary. I cannot think of one (positive) achievement they could boast of” The power of the former is seen in the inability to follow other countries by a free vote in parliament and after a sad lead up the referendum revealed 40% of Australia opposed same sex marriage. I wonder why you omitted women from your statement? The women in dutton’s life are not teal and, not only adore howard, the rabbott and repuplican but also support their stance on women, life and everything. They are the women who did not support the stance of Grace and Brittany and called then lying bitches. They are no less extreme than the women of the caravan. The latter supports my questions during the howard years when I challenged my facebookers to give me three things howard did. My three are sell our gold, go to war on a WoMD lie and sell airports. This was, probably rightly, dismissed as lefty propaganda and not worth answering. So I’d throw in GST, abrams tanks, F111s, children overboard? Never got an answer. I wonder whether a nine pointer three each from the rabbott, the copperman and scummo would be better? No these would be treated as lies. ps I have two chippies in my extended family and they are not unlike dutton. One has two sisters one labor and one green. The latter sister is a member of the LGBT community. The boy in the family learnt his homophobic, racist, sexist and xenophobic beliefs as an apprentice. It was not until he was 75 before he accepted his sister being gay. but slopes, poofters and blacks still raise his ire. He was the sole inheritor of his mother’s estate. The daughters got nothing. QED, the power of tradition boys count girls don’t?

  14. Michael Taylor

    The new Dutton:

    On black African gangs … Black is beautiful! ✊
    On white South African farmers … White trash.
    On the ‘Biloela’ family … I can’t understand why the previous government locked them up for four years.

  15. Andrino Apolloni

    listening to Littleproud this morning and the impression I got was that they are still in denial. “We did such a brilliant job”.
    ” the policies we had in place………..”.
    Yea, they were so good, the people rejected them.

  16. Mark Buckley

    “Yea, they were so good, the people rejected them.”
    It is like they have no memories of the last 9 years. Well, you know what they say about goldfish. That is about the standard of the upcoming LNP shadow cabinet. Imagine what portfolio one would assign to Angus Taylor. What hasn’t he sabotaged? Water, climate action, gas supply, gas prices, electricity rises directly after the election! Really? I even heard Stuart Robert for shadow treasurer.

  17. Pete Petrass

    Since being made their new leader the spud has been running around in an absolute frenzy showing the whole world just how his brain is like a potato. He has been so busy trying to lay blame on Labor for pretty much every stuff up that the previous government made over the past 9 years. In his world in the space of 2 weeks Labor has sent fuel prices ballistic, gas prices, electricity prices, inflation, etc, etc.
    Like seriously, just how friggin dumb does he think we all are????????????

  18. Canguro

    Pete Petrass, I don’t think it’s a question of how dumb does Dutton deduce d electorate 2B; he’s the one who’s dumb so it follows that he struggles to say anything intelligent; no nuance, no sensitivity, no ‘wokeness’, no appropriate reading of the room. An endless capacity to say dumb things, insensitive, inappropriate, lurching from one inarticulate utterance to the next. McGowan was on the money.

    We’ve seen it time and again. It’s not a role play… he’s not pretending to be dumb, he just is. No hiding his light under a bushel.

    Anyway, he’s in good company amidst the LNP ship of fools. Lucky Australia, that this mob will be in the sin bin for years to come, and rightfully so.

    And dare I suggest, once a cop always a cop. The mentality of us against them, the goody vs. the crooks. This has been apparent in his demeanour for years.

  19. Harry Lime

    Naughty, naughty Michael…you’re tempting the brick headed ex walloper to sue.One can only conclude that what’s left of the OPPOSITION is destined to be a bigger shower of shit than the recently departed one.Fuck me.

  20. Andy56

    its only taken Dutton a week or so and yes, he has reverted to type. Now he’s talking up nuclear power. Look I am a tech nerd and i used to love the idea, but lets face it, financially nuclear is gone. Its window of opportunity has closed. The cost of Renewables has just shut that window firmly, well bricked it up actually.

    Little proud says there is gas because Angus Taylor was on right on top of his portfolio. As King is talking to the industry, Littleproud says they wont talk to her.
    Its way more fun watching them destroy any credibility by going all out troppo.

  21. Cool Pete

    Remember John Howard and Tone The Botty! Fool someone once, shame on you, fool someone twice, shame on them, fool someone three times and there’s no hope.

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