Power always reveals
John Menadue writes: ‘This [Malcolm Turnbull’s] support of Peter Dutton is one of a series of disappointments that we have seen repeatedly from Malcolm Turnbull; from climate change to the republic, and now to refugees. As Pulitzer Prize winning biographer of Lyndon Johnson, Robert Caro said: Power doesn’t always corrupt. Power can cleanse. What I believe is always true of power, is that power always reveals. The exercise of power is revealing to us a lot about Malcolm Turnbull.’
Dutton’s ‘low-rent demagogic attack’ – a moral issue for Turnbull
In ‘Federal election 2016: Opinion – the moral equation of Peter Dutton’s outburst’, Dennis Atkins (Courier-Mail 19.5.16) identified the response to Dutton’s remarks as a moral issue for Turnbull: ‘We end up in barbed wire fence territory when the rhetoric heats up and the usual dog whistle becomes a mastiff’s bark. This happened when Immigration Minister Peter Dutton decided to attack refugees and asylum seekers from both ends – they were stealing our jobs and sponging on welfare at the same time. ‘This kind of demagoguery is clearly offensive and many people quite senior in Coalition ranks were very uncomfortable. They were not so uncomfortable they told Dutton to stop saying what he was saying because they know it works for them politically.
‘So they calculated the political imperative outweighed the moral imperative. Bill Shorten went the other way – because he believes the primacy of the moral case and he had nowhere else to go. He says even if it costs him votes he’s not going to stand by while refugees are abused.
‘The question now is whether Malcolm Turnbull will feel comfortable on July 2 if his victory came, even in part, on the back of a low-rent demagogic attack on desperate people fleeing persecution and worse.’
Who is Peter Dutton? The MP for the least engaged electorate in Queensland
Joshua Robertson writes in The Guardian (20.5.16) that ‘the Immigration Minister hit the headlines this week yet remains all but anonymous to those he represents.’
When Peter Dutton insults refugees he insults the Australian people
Lenore Taylor writes in The Guardian (18.5.16):
‘Turnbull said at the outset of his prime ministership he “sympathised with, and grieved for” the “mental anguish” of those in detention and promised he would do everything possible to find a resettlement solution. But no “solution” has been found. Does Bill Shorten have a problem because some in his party are worried about this bipartisan policy failure, or does Turnbull have a problem because (at least according to the Coalition’s own telling) his own MPs are not? ‘We’re yet to see how the scare works in this election campaign now that it has escalated from “dog whistle” to “foghorn”. Yes, the boats have (mostly) stopped, but there is a real ongoing cost being paid in human lives. Yes, resettlement has a financial price, but refugees have made Australian society immeasurably richer. Why would an immigration minister, of all people, want to undermine that?’
Peter Dutton’s seat of Dickson
There were seven candidates contesting the seat of Dickson in the last election, parties including the Palmer United Party, Katter’s Australian Party, and the Family First Party.
The six declared candidates in the 2016 election include the sitting LNP member, Peter Dutton, ALP candidate and former Queensland MP, state Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Linda Lavarch, and Michael Berkman from the Greens.
This outer metropolitan seat has previously been held by Cheryl Kernot (ALP 1998-2001), Tony Smith (LP 1996-1998) and Michael Lavarch (ALP 1993-1996).