Satire Opinion

How Peter Dutton lost his vigour for the Voice

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(Cartoon by Mark David / @MDavidCartoons)

Rocky Dabscheck explores how the Opposition Leader grew disdainful of the privilege of having a voice.

SCENE 1: At home with the Duttons. Peter is about to utter his first word.

MRS DUTTON: Little Pee-Wee, say something to your mumma. Your first word will be “mummy”, won’t it, little man?

(Little Peter shapes his mouth, struggling to attempt his first spoken word.)

PETER: Oooohh, gerrrhhh, niiinh, No.

MRS DUTTON: No! No! Not “mummy”. Why didn’t you say “mummy”?

(Little Peter smiles proudly as he keeps saying his word.)

PETER: No. No. No.

MRS DUTTON: That’s enough from you, little man. If you won’t say “mummy”, I don’t want to hear your voice.

(She shoves a dummy into Peter's mouth to shut him up.)

SCENE 2: Peter’s first day at school. In class, he starts talking to the boy sitting next to him.

PETER: I’m Peter. What’s your n—

TEACHER: Peter, stop talking. I do not want to hear your voice. You’re at school now. You must pay attention.

(Little Peter looks on the verge of tears.)

SCENE 3: At the Dutton family home. Peter rushes in, excited to tell his mother of the new friends he's made.

PETER: Mummy! Mummy!

MRS DUTTON: Not now, Peter. Can’t you see I’m on the phone? Because of your babbling, I can’t hear your Auntie Lorna’s voice.

(Little Peter again fights back tears.)

SCENE 4: A 10-year-old Peter goes to the library. Once there, he starts talking loudly to his friend sitting at the table with him. A librarian taps him on the shoulder and shushes him.


PETER: Okay. (Whispers to his friend) What is it with grown-ups? All they ever say to me is “Shut up. I don’t want to hear your voice”. I’m jack of it. It sucks.

SCENE 5: 12-year-old Peter attends, with his parents, a party at an old family friend's place.

MR DUTTON: Thank God for Bjelke. Those commie Victorians elected that socialist John Cain Jr as their premier. Disgusting!

PETER: Daddy! Daddy!

MR DUTTON: Peter, I do not want to hear your voice. Children are to be seen and not heard at this time.

(Peter looks shattered as he walks away, muttering under his breath.)

PETER: (Mimicking his father) I don’t want to hear your voice. I don’t want to hear your voice. My dad’s a dick.

SCENE 6: A week later, Peter goes to the movies with his parents to watch the James Bond movie, Dr No.

PETER: (During the film, to his father) How good is this?!

MR DUTTON: Peter, please. Be quiet. Watch the film. I do not want to hear your voice again and please, never again say “How good is this?!”

PETER: (Sotto voce to himself) All he ever says to me is “Peter, I don’t want to hear your voice.” Well, one day he’s going to hear my voice say, that patronising dickhead.

SCENE 7: 15-year-old Peter is working up the courage to ask the girl he fancies to go on a date with him.

(Peter walks up to the girl in the schoolyard, opens his mouth and... is only able to make soft coughing and grunting sounds. He keeps trying to frame words, but nothing comes out. After a few awkward attempts, she laughs in his face and walks away. Peter dolefully trudges off, muttering to himself.)

PETER: Where did my voice piss off to? Just when I really need it, laryngitis kicks in and I’m stuck looking like a voiceless ponce.

(Peter leaves school, joins the Queensland Police Force, gets married twice, has a few kids, leaves the Police Force and in 2001, enters Federal Parliament as the Member for Dickson.)

SCENE 8: At the Liberal Party room meeting after being sworn in as the Government in 2001.

JOHN HOWARD: Well, I guess we threw burley Beazley’s hopes of being prime minister overboard, haha. And now it is my pleasure to welcome our new members to parliament. Our member for Dickson, Peter Dutton.

(Peter stands and acknowledges the applause with a wave.)

PETER: Thank you, Prime Minister. I’d like to—

JOHN HOWARD: That’s not how it works around here, young fella. No need for us to hear your voice until your second term in parliament.

(Disgruntled, Peter sits, quietly muttering to himself.)

PETER: How fucked is that?!

(Peter gains promotion to Cabinet in 2013, loses his hair, makes lots of money and tells heaps of unfunny jokes. In 2018, the L-NP wants to remove its leader and Prime Minister of the day, Malcolm Turnbull. Peter knows his main rival, Scott Morrison, is working the phones saying he is a better option than Peter could ever be. A nervous Peter rings Sussan Ley to secure her vote in the upcoming leadership ballot. Tragically, he loses his voice due to the stress he is feeling.)

SUSSAN LEY: Hello? Peter? Peter, is that you?

PETER: Gurgurgurhummmmnn.

SUSSAN LEY: Peter? My phone showed your name when it rang. Is it you?

PETER: Googoogoo.

SUSSAN LEY: Don’t be silly, Peter, or whoever you are. You’ve got a voice; use it. Speak, or I’ll hang up. I don’t have time for this.

PETER: Errhhhmmmn.

SUSSAN LEY: That’s it. I’ve had enough of this. Goodbye.

(Despite Peter's best efforts, his anxiety did not abate enough for him to find his voice and Scott Morrison is elected Prime Minister. Peter's voice finally returns.)

PETER: No. No. No! I hate it when I lose my voice. Shit always happens when I do.

SCENE 9: Present day and Peter is being interviewed by an ABC journalist.

JOURNALIST: Peter Dutton, why are you so adamant we should vote “No” for the Voice Referendum?

PETER: To put it simply, the concept of having a voice is overrated. It will make no difference.

Rocky Dabscheck is a musician/songwriter and front person for Rocky and The Two Bob Millionaires. He is also the author of 'Stoney Broke and the Hi-Spenders'.

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