The Liberal Party of Australia continues to present its worst face to the electorate. One would have assumed that Peter Dutton, one of the most unpopular politicians in Australia’s parliamentary history, could not possibly have been elected to lead an already discredited party.
But to the party which selected Tony Abbott in 2009 to the same position, one bad decision is never enough. After disposing of Abbott, who to his credit did actually win an election, they eventually woke up and replaced him with Malcolm Turnbull.
Of course, Turnbull was far too clever to be left in power, so the party chose Scott Morrison to lead them. He was meant to present a more likeable leader than his opponent, Peter Dutton. So far, there is very little to choose between the two. If you are a Liberal voter, you appear to be stuck between a rock, and a hard place.
Dutton’s public pronouncements do not help his cause
Over the years Peter Dutton has sought to present himself as a no-nonsense ‘straight talker’. It is hard to reconcile his public statements with the pleasant, personable man that some of his supporters attest to.
He described the belongings brought to Australia by refugees as, “the world’s biggest collection of Armani jeans and handbags up on Nauru waiting for people to collect it when they depart.”
When commenting on past immigration under Malcolm Fraser, he stated, “The advice I have is that out of the last 33 people who have been charged with terrorist-related offences in this country, 22 of those people are from second and third generation Lebanese-Muslim background.”
He decided that “the reality is people (in Melbourne) are scared to go out at restaurants of a night time because they’re followed home by these gangs, home invasions, and cars are stolen and we just need to call it for what it is. Of course, it is African gang violence.”
He was much more sympathetic towards white South African farmers, however. “I do think on the information that I’ve seen, people do need help, and they need help from a civilized country like ours.”
Heaven help them if they should become pregnant, though. “Some people are trying it on. 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.”
This statement was a factor in Shane Bazzi’s tweeting that Dutton was a “rape apologist”. Dutton then sued, and won, only for the original verdict to be overturned on appeal.
Adding to his sense of frustration with migrants, or refugees, or both classes of people not from South Africa, he elaborated on the theme of “anchor babies”, an anti-immigration term popularised in Trump’s America.
This was in relation to two specific children, and their parents of course; Sri Lankan couple Priya and Nadesalingam and their Australian-born daughters Kopika, and Tharunicaa. “It’s been very clear to them at every turn that they were not going to stay in Australia, and they still had children. We see that overseas in other countries, anchor babies…the emotion of trying to leverage a migration outcome based on the children,” he told Macquarie Radio.
Dutton has been accused of being racist
We can only really list his mis-statements, and allow readers to draw their own conclusions.
Dutton walked out on the apology to the Stolen Generation, and proffered the following apology for his boycott, “I didn’t appreciate the symbolism of it, and the importance to Indigenous people.”
He was caught making a joke about the rising sense of doom amongst Pacific Island nations, as they face possible extinction of their homelands, due to climate change: “Time doesn’t mean anything when you’re about to have water lapping at your door.”
Is Dutton just another naysayer?
His grandstanding about the Voice to Parliament is grating, because it seems to be playing a non-existent tune. The Voice has been explained, ad nauseum, as an advisory body, only.
It will not be a third chamber to the Parliament; it will not legislate. It will advise the mostly non-indigenous parliamentarians about purported effects of legislation affecting indigenous Australians. It will not advise on national security, nor will it advise on defence matters.
And yet, ignoring his seeming irrelevance in modern Australian political life, Dutton continues to be treated as if his concerns are real. As the Prime Minister bends further backward to appease Dutton, the rest of us are forced to watch, and listen, as he inches towards understanding.
The remaining two Liberal premiers have now joined the Federal Government, and the other state premiers, in supporting the Voice to Parliament.
Dutton is isolated on policies, and on attitude
So now Dutton is marooned with the likes of the crew at Sky News, and David Littleproud’s strange fringe party. He then made the effort to attend George Pell’s funeral, and he was outraged by the decision to leave King Charles off the $5 note.
These are the current issues which marginalise him even more from mainstream Australia, or at least those voters who are under seventy years of age, and not conspiracy theorists.
Add it to his climate skepticism, and the Liberal Party of Australia is doomed to spend a very long time out on the fringes. It begs the question of how long he can be allowed to make the party not only irrelevant, but one which seems to delight in choosing unpopular causes to champion.
He seems to be channelling Tony Abbott, and we know where that leads.