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Peter Dutton defies the Peter principle

When John Howard turned almost certain defeat into victory at the 2001 election by exploiting fears about refugees and national security, he set us on an unholy path

The Liberal party decided that creating fear and disharmony and then spending a fortune on supposedly keeping us safe from miniscule threats is a winning formula.

And they are embarrassingly blatant about it.

In 2011 Scott Morrison suggested the Coalition should capitalise on community concern about Muslims. Tony Abbott began his “stop the boats” mantra. To start with we had Morrison’s weekly press conferences to tell us he couldn’t tell us anything and, when that became too ridiculous, Abbott asked for a weekly national security announcable.

Cue citizenship.

In those days, Turnbull was against Abbott’s attacks and intemperate speech and felt the courts should deal with citizenship issues.

“Honest people, knowledgeable people, really well-informed people can have very different views about what the right measures are on national security, and have very different views about the right balance between, say, citizenship and national security.”

Turnbull went on: “It is not good enough that laws simply be tough … this is not a bravado issue … you’ve got to get the measure right.”

“What is the essence of a democracy?” he asked. “Some people would say a democracy is one where the majority get to do what they want. That’s not a democracy, that’s tyranny!

“The genius of a democracy governed by the rule of law – our democracy – is that it both empowers the majority through the ballot box and constrains the majority, its government, so that it is bound by law.”

Turnbull argued that, “under section 35 of the Citizenship Act, which has been in our law in that form since 1948, an Australian citizen who is a national of another country, who fights in the armed forces of another country – it may not be the same other country – against Australia, loses his citizenship automatically.” With a minor tweaking, this law could apply to people fighting for ISIS even though it was not, as such, another country. He seemed concerned about ministerial powers being above the law.

Until Dutton became, apparently, crucial to Turnbull’s survival.

Dutton wanted tougher citizenship laws so the government set up an inquiry, then refused to publish the 13,000 submissions on Dutton’s proposed citizenship test changes, arguing they had been “provided in confidence”.

Dutton is now off the leash. Whether it is pedophile asylum seekers, second and third generation Lebanese, African youth gangs, Kiwis who have already served the time for their crime, or just migrants who don’t have a university level of English, Dutton is front and centre promoting hatred and division, facts being no impediment to his overblown dog whistling. He has the “power” to say and do what he wants.

P Duddy and his sidekick, Mike Pezullo, not content with turning customs and immigration into a black-uniformed gun-toting quasi-military force, wanted an empire, and they got it.

Professor John Blaxland, head of the ANU’s Strategic and Defence Studies Centre who previously worked in Army intelligence, was one of many experts who warned against the creation of a Home Affairs portfolio.

He said the proposed structure could concentrate power “in a way that is unprecedented in the Australian context”.

In 2016, the Prime Minister commissioned an independent intelligence review which recommended, when released in July 2017, that “An Office of National Intelligence (ONI) be established as a statutory authority within the Prime Minister’s portfolio” which would “be led by a Director-General (DG ONI) and this appointment be at departmental Secretary level”.

“DG ONI would be the head of the National Intelligence Community (NIC) as well as the Prime Minister’s principal adviser on intelligence community issues, with the role including advice on the appointment of senior NIC office-holders and succession planning.”

The day before the review was publicly released and ignoring its advice completely, Malcolm gave the job to Peter Dutton.

This is the man who first ran for state parliament just after his 19th birthday. Unsuccessful, he filled in nine years in the police force before Dutton and his father founded the business Dutton Holdings, which was registered in 2000. Dutton Holdings operated under six different Trading and Business Names. Dutton Holdings bought, renovated, and converted buildings into childcare centres. It continues to trade under the name Dutton Building & Development.

Dutton was then successful in his bid for the federal seat of Dickson in 2001, just before his 31st birthday.

This is the man who was the only shadow cabinet minister to boycott the Apology to the Stolen Generation.

This is the same man who was voted worst health minister ever by health professionals, and whose immigration department has received scathing reviews, both internal and external including two from the Australian National Audit Office, pointing to gross mismanagement.

In his years as Immigration Minister he has been completely unable to come up with any solution for the refugees incarcerated on Manus and Nauru. Morrison paid a kazillion for Cambodia to take a couple, Turnbull begged Trump to take a token few more, but Dutton? Nuttin’.

This is the same man who voted no to marriage equality, presumably because he believes in the sanctity of marriage, except his first marriage, at age 22, ended after a few months. He then had a baby with another woman in 2002 before marrying his current wife the next year.

Perhaps most disturbingly, the man who tried to send a supportive text describing a journalist as a “mad, fucking witch” to a colleague who was sacked for sexual harassment of a staffer but who mistakenly sent it to the female journo instead, the man who didn’t notice the boom mike when he made racist jokes about ATSI people and laughed about Pacific Islands being inundated, is now head of our intelligence services.

Peter Dutton has completely defied the Peter Principle. No degree of incompetence, no gaffe regardless how gauche, no lie no matter how blatant, can stand in the way of his promotion.

In the 2016 election, Peter Dutton won the seat of Dickson by 2,911 votes. There were 3,172 informal votes. I wonder how many young people were prompted to enrol since then because of the marriage equality postal thingy where 65.2% of voters in Dickson voted yes.

For those concerned about national security, the best thing they can do is send the party who thinks Dutton is the solution into oblivion.


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  1. Vixstar

    I can’t believe this scum of the earth is walking freely about the country he should be locked up for breach of human rights, for corruption and for telling outright lies. What is the media doing reporting on faux news instead of investigating the billions of dollars we spend on a handful of poor refugees escaping death. Bannaboy with his water fraud, ,Turdball with his faux NBN, Bishop asbestos with her personal Chinese account for all the gods looking down on us can you send us some journos that have the guts to investigate this shit ICAC into Murdochs role in the destruction of our democracy for his own greed of money.

  2. Vixstar

    just thinking if we can have a name and shame website for the food industry and the childcare industry why can’t we have one for politicians who cross the line and abuse their power, tied up with expenses how much they cost taxpayer’s. ?………

  3. Kaye Lee

    You mean like Peter Dutton charging $46,877.81 “To attend the UN General Assembly High Level Meeting on Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants and President Obama’s Leaders’ Summit on Refugees, and to conduct bilateral meetings” from 17 Sep to 23 Sep 2016 for example?

    And why have the expense claims for the first half of 2017 not yet been published?

    But much more important is the millions that have been paid in compensation because of our ridiculous stance on Manus and Nauru. And the millions that get paid to lawyers to fight freedom of information requests or to defend parliamentarians who were dual citizens or any other time they need legal help even when they are in the wrong. All at our expense of course.

  4. jamesss

    A claytons leadership of the agencies, they will see to that. An idiot is an idiot it doesn’t matter how its dressed.

  5. Cool Pete

    I thoroughly despise Dutton. He is an incompetent thug wielding absolute power that should not be held. The people of Dickson MUST, and I repeat MUST, remove him from Parliament at the next election to restore sanity and democracy to Australia.

  6. Matters Not

    KL I don’t think you like Peter Dutton. And you are certainly not alone. While there’s (almost) nothing ‘new’ above for me, this claim is:.

    He then had a baby with another woman in 2002 before marrying his current wife the next year.

    This had a baby .. in 2002 is one for the dirt file. A reference would be appreciated.

    His current wife also bought a property in Townsville (to be converted to a childcare centre) when tripping around in the company of Dutton during a parliamentary recess. We know also that Ley got ‘busted’ because she purchased an investment property on the Gold Coast while travelling at our expense. Thus there might be an apparent (political) double standard there. You know – Ley down – Dutton … whatever.

    But I suspect that neither of the major political parties want any of that washing in the public gaze. A pity! Because Dutton is a grifter.

  7. wam

    A bit vicious,Kaye?
    Surely peter’s principle kicks in at incompetence to do the job?
    Considering the circumstances of the job who could say he is incompetent?

    Vixstar scum?

  8. Lyn

    Look, I am as happy as the next person to point out Minister Dutton’s faults, but he did NOT vote against marriage equality. Although he campaigned against SSM he voted for SSM out of deference to the results of the postal survey, an idea he put forward. Please check facts before publication. Writing things like this lessens the overall argument against him.

  9. roma guerin

    Yes, Wam. Scum.

  10. roma guerin

    The Peter Principle applies to a person who is promoted to a level above their demonstrated competence, Wam. Greg Hunt is another, Scott Morrison too. Michaelia Cash will remain forever a mystery – on the basis of 346 primary votes (if I remember this right), she went straight to the Cabinet, no demonstrated competence whatever.

  11. Kaye Lee


    To clarify, I was referring to Dutton’s vote in the postal thingy.

    “I’ve already voted ‘no’ and I’d encourage people to do the same but it’s a democratic process,” Mr Dutton told 2GB radio on Thursday.

    You correctly point out that he voted yes when it came to the parliamentary vote.

    What really annoys me about these sanctimonious hypocrites is that they concentrated on the part of the marriage act that John Howard added, man and woman, but have no trouble ignoring the second bit – “to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.” It seems to me that they are in no position to be making moral judgements about other people’s lives.

  12. Ricardo29

    I like the idea of a name and shame file. KL has the qualifications to start it and it could be added to the AIMN site. It might include lists of investment properties held by Members/Senators with links to parliamentary votes on relevant legislation. The various travel rorts could also be included.

  13. Kronomex

    I really wish Dutton had a giant penis that was erect from morning to night, his brain would shut down from lack of blood and oxygen. Nobody would notice the difference in emotions and facial expressions because he has no emotion and facial expression.

  14. Vixstar

    Ricardo can you imagine if it got up and running the Liberals will send out border force with their uniforms with lots of shiny buttons and new big guns to kick the door down yep let’s do it, the time has come for a “name and shame” site we have a Prime Minister who thinks he can just sweep the citizenship debacle, cayman off shore account, Faux NBN etc under the mat! And proclaim business as usual, nothing to see here, if all the information is listed and coordinated when they publish expenses, planned educational trips overseas and,sporting events they went to, the dinner parties at restaurants and the grog bill must be extraordinary. Old Downer must of spent a fortune to get the juicy bits off the diplomat. We would have to crowdfund to give Kaye all the resources she needs!

  15. johno

    Do some LNP ministers undergo hypocrisy training courses or does it just come natural. Just curious.

  16. Jack Russell

    Someone commented to me the other day that, even if Dutton rounded up all of his jackboots and packed them off en-masse to quell a riot, there wouldn’t be enough of them to even manage Sydney’s CBD. Not to mention the well-honed incompetence factor (rat cuning or no rat cunning) that has become so familiar.

    Hmmmm . . .

  17. Aortic

    Loved one of the headlines in the Shovel.” ” Melburnians afraid to go out at night for fear they might meet Peter Durron.”

  18. Kaye Lee

    Peter Dutton talking about marriage equality said….

    “People have a right to believe in religion … I’m not going to stand by and allow these fringe elements to attack what is a fundamental element of society,” he said.

    Did he mean not allow religious fringe dwellers to deny others the right to marry?

  19. Rob

    Dutton, the front for the extreme right LNP faction, directing what and when turnbull says. turnbull is out of his depth on a wet pavement. Dutton and his factional puppet masters are a clear & present concern for Australia. Whoever pulls duttons strings has influence beyond what we know and are comfortable with.

  20. Roscoe

    I would like to know how he has accumulated such an amount of power in government, he has not been a stand out performer in any of his positions, by that I mean in a good way, not what he has actually been doing or is being like him a sign of a good LNP member? when you look at others in his party like Abbott and Cash I am thinking the worse you are the better you progress

  21. Matters Not


    Melburnians afraid to go out at night for fear they might meet Peter Dutton.”

    Reminds me that Rockhampton parents for a decade wouldn’t their daughters go out at night because of fears they would meet their Mister Right.

    (Their local ALP member – State then Federal – being one – Keith Wright – eventually jailed for eight years for indecent dealing and child rape.)

  22. Florence nee Fedup

    As a lapse Catholic of many many years, I don’t see myself as a fringe dweller but one of the majority. Dutton spent many years as Shadow Health Minister without asking one question. When they came to govt he spent every QT attacking Plibersek, who no longer had anything to do with health. He was still HM who told us that Medicare was only ever meant to be a safety net, underpinned by private health insurance. Wanted gap payment, which already existed, ignoring an inconvenient fact that Australians are among the highest when it comes to patients paying out of pocket expenses for health.

  23. diannaart

    In his years as Immigration Minister he (Dutton) has been completely unable to come up with any solution for the refugees incarcerated on Manus and Nauru.

    Maybe not, or, just, maybe Dutton is simply quietly working on legislation for reintroduction of capital punishment… Won’t ever happen? Well, “don’t you worry about that” to use a popular Queensland expression, Dutton is nothing if not aspirational. I just wish Dutton was expirational, like yesterday.

  24. Kaye Lee

    Professor Triggs said the Federal Government had not approached the AHRC to discuss the human rights implications of minister Peter Dutton’s newly announced super portfolio of Home Affairs.

    “The last few weeks are seeing almost a galloping move towards centralisation of government, but most particularly of expanded ministerial discretion without proper judicial supervision and control,” she said.

    “My concern is primarily that there is no public information or discussion about this and no processes in place to ensure protection of those rights.”

    She said many of the ministerial discretions related to counter terrorism and migration were not subject to judicial review, and the minister could overturn findings of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

    These were “very serious incursions into the separation of powers [and] the power of the judiciary to make independent judgments”.

  25. Kyran

    With regard to the ‘Peter principle’, this bloke doesn’t defy it, he defines it. His weakly appearance on some radio show in Sydney now rivals Trump for comedic irrelevance. The power held by these fools, POTUS and Dutton (now the most powerful politician in Australia’s history), is cause for considerable concern.
    But let’s face it, if brains were dynamite, Dutton would lack the capacity to ‘blow’ his nose.
    After the Independent Intelligence Review came out there was an article detailing Pezzullo’s dogged pursuit of that combined portfolio since 2001.

    “A cog in the bureaucracy for 30 years, Mr Pezzullo has been advocating creation of a home affairs ministry for more than half of his career, first when he was deputy chief of staff to former opposition leader Kim Beazley.
    Back then, in 2001, Labor needed a political parry to John Howard’s electoral advantage on national security.”

    “Mr Beazley proposed an armed Australian Coast Guard, enhanced counter-terrorism units within the military and federal police, strengthened aviation security and stronger defences against cyber-terrorism.
    ASIO, Australian Federal Police, National Crime Authority, Customs, telecommunication intercepts and the new Coast Guard would all come under a “powerful, cabinet-level ministry of home affairs”.
    “The home affairs ministry will be the most powerful and focused peacetime ministerial arrangement for co-ordinating Australia’s domestic security in our history,” Labor’s policy document stated.
    It is spookily similar to Mr Turnbull’s plan, isn’t it? Which may explain why Bill Shorten is shy to criticise it.”

    “”Pezzullo concentrates power, he does not disperse it,” says one veteran bureaucrat who stridently opposes establishing a home affairs ministry.
    Even senior figures in the Canberra establishment who see virtue in the concept believe the home affairs edifice must be matched by equally high towers of oversight and review. If anything, one said, to curb Mr Pezzullo’s tendencies.”

    It’s a pity Quaedvlieg had to go on a long holiday due to allegations of arranging ‘jobs & growth’ for his girlfriend.

    “[Dickson] has the distinction of boasting one of the lowest levels of voter engagement in all of Queensland, according to past internal Labor polling.” says The Guardian. That, and popvox interviews with some ‘locals’, is used to argue that Dutton may hang on.

    “Davies assesses Dutton as a “weak performer” in public debates and “not the sort of person you would have door-knocking all over the place”.
    But there’s little chance of Dutton’ remarks costing him votes in a conservative stronghold like Samford, in part because of that lack of voter engagement.”

    No mention of the 6% swing against him last time. No mention of the protests outside his office, albeit infrequently, over asylum seekers. At least the media like him.
    Going back to 2015, Ms Gillian Triggs gave a speech which is well worth a read.

    “For the Australian Human Rights Commission (‘the Commission’), this has been a ‘year of living dangerously’, as we have drawn attention to the erosion of our human rights and to the diminution of the checks and balances that preserve our democracy; all in the year in which we also celebrate the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta and the 70th anniversaries of both the Charter of the United Nations and creation of the Nuremberg tribunals. The Magna Carta was, at its heart, an attempt by the feudal barons to constrain the power of ‘bad King John’, and to ensure that the sovereign is always subject to the rule of law, in particular to the common law and to the scrutiny of an independent judiciary.”

    The rest of the speech goes on to forewarn of the dangers of allowing governments to make changes through Executive Power, avoiding parliamentary process and, consequently, any significant scrutiny.

    Back in July, a campaign was launched seeking a $9 contribution to ‘get rid of Dutton’.

    I wondered at the time, if I could beg, borrow or steal $99, would that get rid of ten of his mates as well?
    Given the fools most recent utterances about African gangs, we can start a countdown for the next Border Farce operation in Melbourne.
    Thank you Ms Lee and commenters. Take care

  26. stephentardrew

    Spot on Kaye I thoroughly agree with you.

  27. Alan

    J Edgar Tuber

  28. Kaye Lee

    I love that nickname. I think it was David Tyler who came up with it. It is so appropriately ridiculous.

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