Up close and personal with Peter Dutton

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Cartoon by Mark David / @MDavidCartoons

Peter Dutton gets up close and personal with IA to assuage privacy fears over the coronavirus phone app.

IA: Welcome and thank you, Minister Dutton, for your time.

DUTTON: My pleasure. Ask away.

IA: We know little of the private Peter Dutton. For instance, your favourite colour?

DUTTON: Easy. I’ve always loved a deep, rich, ruby red colour.

IA: What about jewellery? I notice you're sporting a smart looking watch. If you were to buy your wife Kirilly a gift, what would it likely be?

DUTTON: For my princess, nothing is too good. A ring, resplendent with a gorgeous ruby gemstone, probably because of my fascination with the colour ruby.

IA: I noticed you referred to your wife as a princess. Is it safe to assume you are a monarchist?

DUTTON: Yes. I’d call that a safe bet, to say the least.

IA:  Do you have a favourite Royal?

DUTTON: I wouldn’t mind having a choc royal or two over afternoon tea with Princess Kate. So elegant. So refined. Mind you, our own Princess Mary of Denmark is no slouch when it comes to being a classy Princess.

IA: Do you have a favourite Royal of all time?

DUTTON: Most definitely I do. Princess Diana. I would have been happy to escort her, arm in arm, across a minefield. What a great lady. Such a compassionate heart.

IA: You mention compassion. I have heard you have been – and remain – a very caring and loving parent to your three children.

DUTTON: My family mean more to me than anything else. My happiest memories are with my kids. I spent many serene hours helping Rebecca colour in her book ‘Hello, My Name Is Ruby'. I still love a good colouring-in book.

With my boys, Harry and Tom, many an hour was spent in the backyard, winning the State Of Origin series for the Queensland Maroons — or as I would call them the "Rubies". Maroon and ruby, very similar colours.

IA: What about your taste in music? People are always interested to know about a person's music interests — it tends to expose much about that person.

DUTTON: Couldn’t agree more. Love Kenny Rogers’ ‘Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love To Town'. Stones with ‘Ruby Tuesday'. Dion’s ‘Ruby Baby'.

Though a little before my time, I loved The Mickey Mouse Club. Annette Funicello’s ‘Pineapple Princess’ — classic pop song.

Here in Australia, Rebecca and I loved dancing around to the Wiggles’ ‘There Was A Princess’. I’ll always have time for our own, unofficial princess, Olivia Newton-John, and her great rendition of ‘Sleep My Princess’.

My favourite of all, though, is ‘Ravishing Ruby’ by Tom T Hall.

IA: Do you ever find the time to relax in front of the telly, or get to the cinema for a big-screen movie?

DUTTON: Not often, as you would imagine. I am a big fan of Piper Laurie. Brilliant in Ruby. Should have won an Oscar for her performance.

The Princess Bride is another perennial favourite of mine. Our Naomi Watts deserved an Oscar, too, for her portrayal of Princess Diana in the film Diana.

To show I’m not a complete dag stuck in the world of dad jokes, I watch anything Ruby Rose is in. Don’t you love the mix of colours with Ruby Rose starring in Orange Is The New Black?

Oh, I do also love the series, The Nanny — timeless, plus she wears a lot of ruby red.

IA: Would you say you have a romantic heart?

DUTTON: Not generally, but when it comes to my darling wife, Kirilly, yes.

IA: Your most romantic time together?

DUTTON: Easy. When we were young we went on a fabulous cruise on the Ruby Princess. We both had such a ball we were looking at celebrating my 50th birthday later this year with another cruise on the Ruby Princess. Alex and Amelia Hawke were to be joining us on that cruise. Alas. It doesn’t look likely to eventuate.

IA: Looks as though the world has turned on "cruise ship people", as well as "boat people".

DUTTON: That’s enough of that. If I may ask you a question?

IA: Go ahead.

DUTTON: Can I see your passwords for your phone, computer and any other devices you have?

IA: Why?

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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