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The man who wants to be Prime Minister

One thing that stood out in the result of the Voice referendum is that being totality negative has little chance of winning back Government for Peter Dutton and his Coalition of conservative misfits.

But he seems to think otherwise. He plans that if he can make Albanese look less incompetent than people perceive him to be, then in some peculiar way, he could win the next election.

Sure, Albanese had no choice other than to take the blame for a failed referendum campaign, but thus far, he is doing so with a credible mix of accepting Dutton’s unfairness with the required dignity of one who carries an unjust loss.

Will the loss be of any consequence at the next election? They will both go into it carrying baggage. The Liberal National Parties’ decade of corruption will burden Dutton, and Albanese will shoulder the defeat of the Voice referendum, which has left him a slightly diminished figure. He will also have to overcome the power of Murdoch’s media.

The Prime Minister now also finds reconciliation and Indigenous recognition wrecked for the foreseeable future, but he must do some urgent repair work between now and the upcoming election. His opponents, ostensibly the Liberals, will take every opportunity to take him down with political opportunism and negativity.

Rick Morton described Dutton on “The Voice” last week as “not being a serious person.” I am still defining what that description of the leader of the Opposition does for the reader, but its simplicity sums up the man incredibly well.

The merits of any particular argument seem oblivious to him. His only interest is how much damage his negativity can impact on his opponent. Remind you of Tony Abbott? It does me. Even reminds me of Trump.

Albanese will take the blame for this defeat, but Dutton will carry the more significant long-term failure. In one hit, he has eliminated the possibility of any referendum (including the Australian Republic) being passed well into the future.

That the Prime Minister has to take the blame for the loss is grossly dishonest, given that Dutton always intended to blame whatever proposal Albanese put up.

The same week, The Australian (as reported in Crikey) suggested that:

“Albanese had been insufficiently bipartisan was particularly high-octane nonsense – there is literally nothing that the prime minister could have proposed that would have drawn Coalition support.”

The Prime Minister could have proposed that they give their donations to the Libs at the next election, but the Coalition would not have supported it. That’s because they always had “NO” campaigns in reserve. Campaigns funded by mining magnates and wealthy right-wingers and fueled by malignant racists online.

Sooner or later, a rumour will start that Albanese was gullible (probably by Murdoch), a poor campaigner who produced the wrong question. He, of course, lacked judgment and should have pulled out when he had the chance.

For its part, the YES campaign will be cast as ineffectual, and had it been better and wiser, it might have negated the racism and intolerance of Dutton on the NO side.

“The MIA status of several prominent Greens from the referendum has gone unnoticed, freeing them to assail Albanese for failing to achieve something they were decidedly half-hearted about themselves.” (Wayne Swan).

Now, back to Dutton.

Can he overcome his acute unlikability? If he is to have any chance of winning the next election, he must undertake a personality makeover. The only state to show any endorsement of him is Queensland. That’s understandable, given his grouchiness of the authoritarian leader. It’s a Trump style that Australian conservatives seem to be adopting en-masse.


Cartoon by Alan Moir (moir.com.au)


Any damage to Albanese from his part in the YES campaign will have disappeared by the time voters cast their votes. The state of the economy, jobs, the cost of living, our health and how much tax we pay form most of the decision-making in any Federal election. The rest is the likeability of the leader, and there is little of that for Dutton.

And that election remains half a term away. But the recriminations for failure won’t be limited to Labor.

“The damage to Albanese needn’t be permanent. Not a single vote cast at the next federal election will be dictated by perceptions of his poor Yes campaign. Instead they’ll be decided on the same basis as elections are always decided – on economic management, on jobs, on the cost of living, on health, on tax. And that election remains half a term away. But the recriminations for failure won’t be limited to outside Labor. There’ll be plenty of criticism, some scathing, of Albanese from within – and question marks about his political judgment. The referendum result might not be high in voters’ minds at the next election, but the resulting disunity might.”

Dutton may have won the battle with a win that will damage the country for the next fifty years, but he has certainly lost the war. Leaders of the Trumpism ilk possess some ingrained brattish disposition for doing wrong.

They are men who have never really grown up and are never likely to. They also contain personality disorders that see victory through the prism of scaring people, using racism, fear-hate language, invoking resentment and turning unpolitical matters into political arguments. To argue that they are just using robust politics is nonsense.

In the referendum for fairness to Aboriginals, if Albanese provided no detail, Dutton provided no substance. His campaign was:

“… based entirely around a conspiracy theory of an elite plot to do something bad – never really articulated – to white Australians. But he and the No campaign didn’t need substance. It just needed fear, and downward envy, and the repetition of the claim that a Voice was “divisive”, when Australia is now divided more than ever before as a result of its success.”

None of it gave any indication that leadership was being birthed.

He continued down the Trumpian pathway on the Ray Hadley show, telling his friend Ray that:

1) Labor had allowed 105,000 asylum seekers into the country while experts pointed out that 94,260 had turned up on his party’s watch,

2) He thought Albanese was obsessed with drumming up distractions to The Voice,

3) He felt Albanese had “long forgotten about the workers” – making the Liberal party “the party of the Australian worker today.” Odd, then, that the party of the workers is dead set against new legislation providing equal pay for labour hire workers and creating minimum conditions for gig economy workers. The self-declared worker’s champion rationalised this obvious inconsistency by observing these reforms (benefiting workers introduced, paradoxically, by a prime minister who had forgotten the workers) would be “another wet blanket over small business … at a time we can’t afford it.”

Katharine Murphy had some excellent responses to Dutton’s statements. Firstly:

“Dutton was like an exploding fire hydrant, theories and feelings pouring from him. Stand up and fight. Repeat 12 times.”

And this gem:

“This opposition leader makes things up regularly, sometimes several times a day, with growing confidence. He’s fully intent on shaping his own reality, and why wouldn’t he be? Dutton’s accusations and inventions are amplified much more often than they are factchecked, parsed or decoded, because there is so much bollocking and barracking in the public square, people can’t see the bullshit.”

The only conclusion to be reached is that the conservative parties have witnessed and confirmed just how well the tactics of division demonisation work, and conspiracy theories, like Australians, are the victims of an elite plot.

Leadership combines traits that etch the outlines of life and grow over time. They govern moral choices and demonstrate empathy toward others.

Although very well known, Peter Dutton isn’t very well-liked. Sullenly negative with a dour spirit, he gives the impression his only interest is in obtaining Government and the power one can derive from it. Examine his history; all you get is negativity with a touch of toughness or bluff.


Cartoon by Alan Moir (moir.com.au)


It would help if he could persuade disengaged voters, but does he have the leadership qualities to win back the necessary teal seats or convince voters the incumbent Prime Minister needs to go?

Opposition Indigenous Australians spokesperson Jacinta Nampijinpa Price has “warned the Prime Minister that he should be looking over his shoulder.” However, history tells us that the defeat of a referendum tends not to result in any lasting damage to the governments that call them.

My thought for the day

The wisest people I know are the ones who apply reason and logic and leave room for doubt. The most unwise are the fools and fanatics who don’t.


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  1. Uncletimrob

    Thank you.
    A very good summary of my thoughts about Dutton and the coalition, with some excellent back-up sources.

  2. Terence Mills

    If Dutton looks on the success of the NO campaign as a victory he wouldn’t want too many more victories before being completely decimated.

    Spudley Dutton reminds me of the Black Knight of Monty Python fame, to him this was just a flesh wound, he has yet to inflict much greater damage on himself and Australia before he is flipped by the coalition.

    He is our Trump without the hair piece and the fake tan !

  3. Phil Pryor

    Dutton’s patterns of behaviour suggest he does not wish to lead, and cannot, as he is a totally deficient and negative type. Loud, abrasive, he’d make out as a circular saw (or on a bum, a sore) , but leadership requires elements of intellect, popularity, experience, qualifications, skills, and Herr Dudd has none at all. He is, in fact, revolting, particularly against civilised attitudes. It is not merely appearances here, because he is far uglier on the inside of the skull…

  4. David Johnson

    Dutton won’t be leader by the time of the election.

    I wonder which lucky liberal sitting member will vacate their seat in ther lower house ostensibly to “spend more time with the family” which will allow Price to be parachuted in? Once she has the seat, she’ll challenge for and win the leadership.

    She’s seen as a much more viable and effective leader than Dutton.

    And that’s genuinely scary.

  5. New England Cocky

    A pile of fresh bovine manure remains a pile of fresh bovine manure regardless both the cow or bull source or the garnish with chopped parsley to give it colour. The smell remains the same and the taste leaves everything to be desired. Boofhead Duddo anyone?

    @ Terence Mills: Excellent. Perhaps the Black Knight was more talented because he did not self-inflict wounds …..

  6. Baby Jewels

    Plus, Phil Prior, we only need look at the complete and utter incompetency with which he ran Immigration. It’ll take years to sort out the backlog and fix the disasters (which very adversely affected so many lives.) I hope Clare O’Neill has more to say on this nearing the election.

  7. Ian Joyner

    What Dutton knows is it is much easier to destroy than to build. He chose the easy and lazy path in the referendum rather than the hard path of convincing people to do the right thing and vote yes, like Julian Leeser and Matt Kean did. Years of hard work on the part of many people towards the point of the referendum was so easily destroyed by the lies and disinformation that went around and was magnified on social media.

    Dutton aligned with other destructive people like Hanson.

    Alas incompetence in Dutton and Hanson make competent people also share in their incompetence. They know that, but the incompetence and sheer nastiness of Dutton and Price in the referendum must come back to bite them.

    Notice that they tried to make it look like they were not being mean and nasty, by continually promoting this false ‘Royal Commission’ into indigenous child abuse. That is just a cover up.

  8. GL


    “He is our Trump without the hair piece and the fake tan!” you left out. “…and where charisma goes to die.”

  9. K

    It would be uber great to see how the lead up to the next election plays out, especially considering Tony is now on the board for Lochie… I shall be watching with interest.

  10. Wayne Turner

    Remember though:-

    Never underestimate the stupidity of the masses.

    The next Federal Election is guaranteed to be ugly, especially coming from the COALition. Aided by all of the MSM,with lies galore.Could the same morons fall for the lies,like they did with the referendum? Highly likely.

    Labor will have to spend the next Federal Election calling out the LIES,and rightfully warning (scarying) the masses of a future COALition government. No point with vision,or policies.The idiots won’t understand them,and would only believe the lies about them from the MSM anyway.

  11. Clakka

    If you don’t know, it doesn’t matter, because you’re too busy with bling, and mindless greed, and other than that, laziness, inability to deduce and find logic, and most of all not being elite.

    Why change that, or anything else sacred to ignorance, when there are those that manufacture a convenient cover for your trembling incompetence.

    Trouble for Spudnyet Dutton, everyone recognizes his m.o. and trembling incompetence and ignorance, and that won’t translate to a federal election. There is assured to be chaos in the ranks of the LNP.

  12. andyfiftysix

    Surely history teaches us that you can go down the path of negativity and destruction very easily but as we are witnessing in the USA, you can also get very close to being thrown in the slammer, as trump surely will now. I absolutely detest the vile path of destruction politics that the Liberals have embrassed. Again i implore Albo to go hard on the LIbs corruption and hit them hard on their abysmal record. Destruction is what they want, well, be careful what you wish for….

  13. Cool Pete

    Some believe that Jacinta Price could be a future Prime Minister, and to that, I say, she didn’t romp in, in the Northern Territory, and there are two serious dangers. One, the number of senators who successfully move to the House of Reps is small. Okay, Barnacle Hoist did, but he’s in the minority. And also, parties that attempt to parachute in a candidate at the expense of a grassroots candidate tend to be punished at the polling booth. Take Labor in Fowler, they tried to parachute Kristina Kenneally in at the expense of a local candidate, and what happened? Dai Le won the seat!
    Potty Boy Dutton has two chances of becoming PM from Opposition, none and Buckley’s. Okay, the only thing that Maul Purray was right about is that Potty Boy is despised by the Left, but another thing that needs to be remembered is that Tone the Botty was never preferred PM, and nor did he have a honeymoon with the voters. Tone the Botty was the most incompetent excuse for a PM this country has ever had and was deluded to think that he would have won in 2016!
    Potty Boy is best remembered as a heartless, shameful bastard regarding asylum seekers, an incompetent leader of the opposition, and a grotesque individual! Fortunately, history repeated itself when Potty Boy claimed that 2019 was the sweetest victory, but in 2022, he saw a reduced margin and a bitter defeat of the Liberals.

  14. ill Fares The Land

    Potato Head is no leader in any traditional sense ….. but. We have to remember that 60% of referendum voters accepted the lies and misinformation spouted by Potato Head and his cadre of nincompoops. Now, that might not translate into votes at an election, but it highlights how fundamentally impaired we are when it comes to being able to see his lies as just that. Instead, what happened is that the lies and misinformation, amplified as they were by the MSM triggered, for many, deep-seated prejudices (perhaps they were racist, perhaps some weren’t), so their “analysis” wasn’t to compare Potato Head’s claims against facts. Instead, for example, someone who believed Hanson’s false claims about how much the First Nation’s people get “given” for nothing, might see similar claims made by Potato Head as affirming of what “they already know to be true”. Of course, they don’t really know anything, but that’s not how many of us form our stated views. I’ve absolutely no doubt many who voted no to the Voice believed they were being critical and discerning, when in truth they were anything but. My laboured point is that we live at a point in history where many of us a better off than any society in the history of mankind. But we’re also more easily distracted by the relentless pursuit of childish self-gratification, but at the same time, more childlike in our rejection of any views that run counter to our own and to those who perceive, or can be made to perceive by self-obsessed liars like Potato Head, that we don’t need an Albanese. No, no, no, “we” need an authoritarian empire builder and autocrat – like Potato Head – who says he can “fix the system” that can’t presently deliver all of our “selfish, neurotic needy wants”. Of course, his “neurotic needy want” is more power as there’s no problem Potato Head thinks can’t be fixed by electing him PM and giving him more and more power. And, the more power Potato Head gets, the more he wants and can orchestrate by eviscerating the mechanisms of democracy (we saw this under the previous Coalition with 85 Liberal hacks and flunkies appointed to the AAT – and if Potato Head is elected as PM, it or something similar will happen again). Plato wrote of this obsessive pursuit of self interest and diversion that precedes a breakdown of democracy 2,000 years ago, so don’t imagine enough of the doltish “we” can’t be swayed by false promises.

  15. corvusboreus

    Dutton’s greatest asset for his Prime Ministerial ambitions is a note from his wife (written of her own free will) categorically stating that he is totally not a monster.

  16. Lawriejay

    ‘Writing in The Australian newspaper, former prime minister Tony Abbott claimed that in order for the No result to be respected, expressions of Indigenous identity such as flying the Aboriginal flag alongside the Australian flag and acknowledgments of Country should be scaled back or abandoned.’ When will this bloke curl up and ……. “be respected….”?

  17. Clakka

    Indeed corvusboreus, and yet

    Annabel Crabb’s bling revealed him cooking gruel in a despot with monotonic mumblings reinforced by mantras.

    Characteristics of a forlorn and feckless unemployed warlock. As for PM material?

  18. Caz

    Once back from China, Albo needs to focus on Pezzullo and Dutton’s machinations in Home Affairs, pursuing them relentlessly. There is a gold mine of corruption and incompetence there. Enough for a RC perhaps?
    The new legislation dealing with mis and disinformation must include politicians and election coverage, otherwise Dutton and Price will,conduct the campaign in the same way as they did the referendum.
    At the same time each will be keeping an eye out for the other’s knife blade just out of sight,. What an unholy alliance!
    Only a fool would believe that an Aboriginal woman would have a chance of being elected leader of our openly racist country. But if they want to replace Dutton with Price I say go ahead, make my day.

  19. Andyfiftysix

    Just arrived in bkk after a few days in sngspore. The contrast is so big. It makes me angry to be australian, we cant seem to get anything right . We are lurching ever closer to bkk standards rather than singapore aspirations. And the reason is simple , the politics of destruction. Its built in. We as a nation lost ten yrs under Abbott, surely we cant make the same mistake? Con we? You bet we will

  20. leefe


    We started going backwards — or, rather, were dragged backwards – when the Lying Rodent was PM. His fan club (Mudrake, LNP and other RRWNJs) have continued the destruction.

  21. wam

    For a clear majority of us he is now a legitmate alternative.
    Dance of the cuckoos he could be decimated and still bolt in with 54%
    singapore 8592 per Km2 with 5m.
    unicameral parliament 103 seats
    nz 20 per Km2 with 5m
    unicameral parliament 120 seats
    aust 3.42 per Km2 with 25m
    bicameral parliament 151 seats plus 76 unrepresentative swill
    Not much to learn from those countries? Even less when the Singaporean(racist???) goverment has a 79 seat majority.
    Makes me wish we could dump the states and the constitution to become one country.

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