Australians currently have no say in their prime ministers and a leader with conviction is needed, but while Dutton has conviction, he was never the solution, writes Jacinta Coehlo.
Something is buzzing in Canberra. The leadership crisis has come to a head and we (again) have a new Prime Minister, Scott Morrison. Morrison defeated Dutton in the latest vote with 45 votes to 40.
That means six prime ministership changes in eight years. The rest of the world is probably wondering what on earth is happening down under and why Australia has had such a tumultuous change of leadership in such a short period of time.
The answer to that is twofold. The first is the self-interested and fickle politicians, who want their shot at the top job and put their ambitions above the interests of the constituents they represent. The second reason is the genuine lack of leadership. Recent prime ministers have varied in their leadership skills but there is something missing and that is conviction.
Turnbull didn't have it.
Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton wanted the top job (and probably still does). He has conviction and believes that he is the man for the job. Shortage of confidence is not the problem with Dutton. However, to be a suitable leader, Dutton needs to ensure that his conviction is steered in the right direction. The trouble is, in his mind and that of his supporters, it is — that is the right-wing, conservative way.
Dutton has conviction, but that is not enough to ensure an effective leader. Hitler also had conviction.
Dutton shouldn't be contesting the leadership within his party and advancing his own interests. He should be charged under international law for the gross offences that have occurred under his watch as Minister for Immigration and Border Protection. For example, the indefinite imprisonment of refugees, who are treated less ethically than convicted criminals. At least criminals get an actual trial and know when their sentence is up. Asylum seekers and refugees are not afforded that "luxury". Instead, they are locked up and detained for no crime.
Their future is bleak.
Border control is necessary to some degree. Even though Australia has a low population it does not mean that borders should open to every individual. Particularly when big cities such as Sydney and Melbourne do not have the infrastructure to deal with the incoming population. But that is a separate issue. Refugees and asylum seekers could still be settled outside these cities. There are solutions to immigration that don't involve unethical practices that are a breach of international law.
Unfortunately, Dutton only views things in black and white terms — literally.
He vilifies certain races and supports others. He suggested White South African farmers (key word being "White") be given preferential immigration treatment. He vilified Black African immigrants in Melbourne, however, by claiming that Melburnians were fearful of going out to restaurants at night for fear of being terrorised by African gangs.
Dutton has also intervened on behalf of three (White) au pairs, who were due to be deported, overruling the visa process and allowing them to stay.
On Dutton's blacklist are refugees and asylum seekers. He stated that they were illiterate and innumerate, and would "steal Australian jobs". This claim is ludicrous. How can an illiterate person steal Australian jobs? Surely, most jobs do require a basic level of literacy and numeracy. The statement contradicts itself.
Dutton also labelled the immigration of Lebanese Muslims in the 1970s a "mistake", which is a huge slap in the face to hard-working, tax-paying Lebanese Muslims. A prime minister is supposed to represent all Australians, not a select few.
Dutton almost makes Senator Pauline Hanson sound moderate in her political views.
You could be forgiven for shuddering at how close to being our leader this man came.
As prime minister, he would likely give preferential treatment to certain White political leaders and ignore others, to Australia's detriment.
Although Australia has had numerous prime ministerial changes in through leadership spills, the difference is that in the past when they occurred, the prime minister was able to sit a full term (or three) before being challenged for the top job. Examples of this are John Howard and Bob Hawke.
Either politicians have become more self-interested and fickle with no sense of loyalty or, there are just too many wannabe chiefs in office.
The saddest part in all this is the lack of consideration to the Australian people, who have no say in their prime ministers and have been forced to ride the wave of instability, with no clear vision of leadership anytime soon.
A more balanced leader would be desirable, but Canberra seems to have a shortage at this time and Scott Morrison has now taken the reins.
One thing is for certain, though, Dutton was never the solution.
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