Peter Dutton is the man who very publicly refused to attend the national apology, delivered by Kevin Rudd in 2008. He apparently had no regrets, until six years later, when he said he had misunderstood the importance of the occasion.
The question I ask is whether he is suitable to sit in the Parliament? Does he meet minimum standards? Can he make the country better, for his being there? So we are not asking whether he would make an enjoyable dinner party guest, but rather does he suit the role of a leader, of a person with a vision? ALL Parliamentarians profess that they want to make a difference, but do his ideas and standards drag us back to an earlier, less caring time, when overt racism, homophobia and religious intolerance were at least seen and heard, if not mainstream.
He has said some truly terrible things over the journey. He has not been misunderstood, nor has he been mis-quoted. He takes pride in being direct, and in generally refusing to apologise, no matter what he has said.
Examples are many, but several are beyond the pale. His statement that Malcolm Fraser made a mistake by letting in Lebanese migrants in the 1970s is really appalling. It shows he believes that, no matter how long these people are in Australia, they, and their descendants, are more likely to commit criminal offences. When queried on his statement he responded that the figures supported him, and that he would not be intimidated into re-considering his stance.
Again when speaking out against refugees in 2016 he stated that many of them would take Australian jobs, while languishing in unemployment queues, and using Medicare. It is hard to languish in a queue when you’re in a ‘stolen’ job.
But it is his actions which speak louder than his words. He has brought a cruel edge to our treatment of refugees, and he has been caught out on several occasions with untruths concerning them. And then the ‘au pairs’ saga. His opposition to same-sex marriage. It goes on and on.
Recently he was found to have acceded to a request from a lobbyist to meet privately with a large donor. The donor failed to obtain his citizenship, although his family was successful. My question is: Do we want our Cabinet Ministers being approached, successfully, by a lobbyist who openly touts the fact that he can arrange private meetings with the Minister. For a fee.
Oh what a difference a day makes. His most recent starring role was when he accused his opponent in the coming election of using her disability as an excuse for not living in the electorate. She had not been able to find a suitable house to accommodate her need for wheelchair access. He was dragged kicking and screaming to a faux apology, which ignored what he had said.
Is his greatest mistake, however, causing us all so much embarrassment by presuming to believe that we would accept his being Prime Minister. As an old friend of mine would say, I would rather gnaw off my own arm than that!
So I repeat, is Peter Dutton ‘quite right’ as a Parliamentarian?