Abbott and Dutton's jokes about rising sea levels do matter — despite what Murdoch’s minions may say

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Former Labor premier and newly minted Tory pundit Peter Beattie says Twitter should be happy Peter Dutton has a sense of humour. East Coast Twitterati board member Dave Donovan says Peter Beattie is a fool.

Peter Dutton: It’s like Cape York time.

Tony Abbott: What’s that, mate?

Peter Dutton: Cape York time.

Tony Abbott: We had a bit of that up in Port Moresby.

Peter Dutton: Oh yeah.

Tony Abbott: Yeah yeah…. Anyway, it was a good meeting. A good meeting.

Scott Morrison: When was… Was it in Port Moresby?

Peter Dutton: Time doesn’t mean anything when you’re about to be … you know … have water lapping at your door.

Tony Abbott: Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

Scott Morrison: There’s a boom up there.


“Is it a big deal, no? As long as there’s not a racist element … Twitter should should just get over itself. We should be happy Peter Dutton has a sense of humour."

Peter Beattie (Sky News, 11/9/15)

Wrong, Peter Beattie. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

Now listen carefully, Peter, I am only going to explain this once.

You might think the comment was a nothing and that any Twitter reaction is just hot air, but that’s just because you are a smug, smiley, supercilious, sell-out former Labor Party politician who is now a rightwing pundit utterly indistinguishable in tone and tenor from his fellow Tory commentators, such as Reichstag former Howard Government criminals ministers like Peter Reith — the selfsame cadaver and fellow SkyNews panellist who made soft cooing noises as you said your stupid remark on cable TV today.

You, sir, are a fool.

Now let me explain why you are a fool.

Firstly, you are a fool, because – derr! – Dutton’s comment was racist. In fact, the whole exchange had an unmistakably racist undertone.

The theme was: Those dumb darkies just can’t keep time, the poor backward bastards.

And, as someone said, if the Government talks like this when there are people all around, then how do they talk to each other in private? This is important stuff coming from the same mob who are currently calling their Opposition racist and xenophobic, Peter, and you missed it completely.

Or maybe you wanted to miss it?

In any case, given your own record of being caught on tape making derisive comments about your own female deputy premier, perhaps you are not the best person to comment upon bigotry.

But, secondly, you are a fool because racism was the just one part of the problem.

The bigger issue was climate change, obviously.

Again, derr!

You see, Abbott had just got back from a meeting in Port Moresby, where he’d had a simply marvellous time getting photographed “training” with a women’s rugby league team, then in colourful polo shirts with dark-skinned Pacific leaders, before later announcing Australia wouldn't be lifting even a little finger to help Pacific Island nations under dire threat from climate change and promptly flying away.

Flying back to this fateful photo opportunity, where the prime minister laughed uproariously at a “joke” about water lapping at these same people’s doors.

Peter, can’t you connect the dots? Are you so dull and thickheaded that you don’t see how shallow Abbott’s concern for these Pacific Islanders truly is? He is a fraud, Peter, and you should have pointed that out. That’s your job as a pundit. Twitter worked it out, why didn’t you?  

Would these people have felt good about Abbott patronising them, before rejecting their entreaties and then laughing out loud at their plight witph his cronies as soon as he got back to the safety of his own country? No. Of course not. It has the makings of a diplomatic disaster, Peter Beattie — so why did you miss it?

And, given we now we have these same Pacific Islanders calling for Dutton's resignation (see below), it actually is a diplomatic disaster and, so, maybe it is you and not Twitter that should "get over itself", you bloody galah.

If you had a few brain cells left that you hadn't yet sold to the highest bidder, Mr Beattie, you would have made this connection and talked about how Abbott’s blind support of mega coal mines, rejection of climate change action, hatred of renewables and love of fossil fuels is threatening not just Australia’s economy, but also the people of the world — particularly our needy, low-lying, Pacific Island neighbours.

But I guess expecting that from you, Peter, might be a bit much, considering that in your time as premier you sold Queensland out, subsidising massive investments in coal seam gas and approving a plethora of dirty coal projects.

Finally − and here is why you are especially a fool, Peter Beattie – you failed to appreciate how utterly moronic the comment was. To begin with, the joke just doesn’t make any sense: if you have water lapping at your door, you’ll have a much keener sense of time, obviously.


But more than that, as Scott Morrison pointed out, there was a massive microphone boom suspended just above Abbott and Dutton’s heads as they cavorted like naughty teenagers. What did they think microphones do? The only conclusion that could be reached about all this is that Abbott and Dutton are completely stupid. Do we want stupid bloody idiots running this country? Isn’t that a bit of a risk? To add to the absurdity, Abbott had been caught out like this before — swearing at Nicola Roxon, just after a televised election debate.


You could have mentioned that Peter. That could have added to your credibility, not made people right across the land facepalm. But no, you are just another sellout corporate stooge these days and so you said the needful for the maniacal, megalomaniac American media mogul paying you now. God knows, maybe you even believe the sputum that cascades from your mouth — maybe you are as far gone as that.

Even more dismal, you dismissed ordinary people as irrelevant. “Twitter should get over itself”, you said. But Pete, Twitter is not one person. It is not even just Twitter. As well as Twitter, it is people writing blogs, in comments on new media, on social media sites like Facebook, and Pinterest, and Reddit. People in their multitude. What you dismiss at irrelevant chatter, Peter – presumably because it comes from ordinary people who haven’t sold out to Rupert Murdoch just yet – is the closest thing we have to democracy outside of an election.

Only a fool arrogantly disregards the people, Peter. And you, I am afraid – like Abbott and Dutton – are a fool.

We don’t need former politicians turned turncoat corporatist toadies to tell us how we should think any more. We never really did. Your pusillanimous punditry is pathetic. Your day is done.

We are Twitter. We are legion. Today we tweet. But tomorrow we vote.


You can follow managing editor Dave Donovan on Twitter @davrosz.

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