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Peter Dutton goes from bad to worse with new Port Arthur low

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(Cartoon by Mark David / @MDavidCartoons)

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton has garnered headlines again this week for all the wrong reasons.

In a speech at the Sydney Opera House on Wednesday, he accused Foreign Minister, Senator Penny Wong of “a clear prejudice towards Israel” in response to Wong’s calls for a two-state solution as the only way to lasting peace in Israel.

Dutton’s response is contrary to Liberal Party policy which endorses a two-state solution.

Senator Simon Birmingham, Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs wrote on 8 August 2023:

‘The Coalition remains committed to supporting a lasting two-state solution, in which Israel and Palestine co-exist.’

Perhaps Dutton missed this memo or is unaware of Liberal Party policy on the issue.

In the same speech last Wednesday night, Dutton also drew a parallel between a peaceful, pro-Palestinian protest in October 2023 and the Port Arthur Massacre in 1996. 

Dutton said:

“While no one was killed during the 9 October protests, the events at the Sydney Opera House were akin to a Port Arthur moment in terms of their social significance.”

Despite calls for an apology for inexplicably linking the tragic Tasmanian event to a peaceful pro-Palestinian protest in his speech, Dutton has since been silent on the matter and has not apologised, compounding the trauma for survivors and family members of those killed at Port Arthur that fateful day.

Also, in the same speech, Dutton suggested that Prime Minister Anthony Albanese had not acted appropriately to the peaceful protest on 9 October 2023 and had “failed to provide the moral clarity”.

Dutton continued by saying:

“My message to this recalcitrant minority is... If you do not subscribe to the Australian way of life, leave this country.”

Again, this is a direct violation of the principles of a liberal democracy which encourages the right to peaceful protest. And, Dutton’s position is, again, a direct contradiction of Liberal Party policy which states a belief ‘In those most basic freedoms of parliamentary democracy — the freedom of thought, worship, speech and association’.

This week’s deplorable comments by Dutton serve to illustrate that his rhetoric is becoming more alarming and divisive in his quest for personal political gain. 

Rather than trying to improve a reputation tarnished by years of inappropriate, divisive remarks and actions unbecoming of any leader, Dutton doubles down.

Scandal has been Dutton’s friend ever since he entered parliament in 2001, and rarely has an apology for his litany of appalling statements and actions escaped his lips. 

Dutton infamously walked out of the Rudd Government’s 2008 Apology to Stolen Generations. Two years after the Apology, in 2010, his position remained unchanged when he said he regarded the Apology “as something which was not going to deliver tangible outcomes to kids who are being raped and tortured”

Then in 2022, after becoming Opposition Leader, Dutton finally apologised for the 2008 walkout, saying:

“I failed to grasp at the time the symbolic significance to the Stolen Generation of the Apology.”

Over the years, the scandal-prone Dutton has also been consistently accused of inciting division for marginalised people and left a legacy of chaos and dodgy deals in the Home Affairs Department, his growing rap sheet of scandals, including:

Just one of these scandals would’ve been almost enough to derail a Labor, Independent or Greens politician’s career.

It is simply unbelievable that Dutton is still in politics after his chequered political career and unfathomable that he is Leader of the Opposition or that he sees himself as an alternative Prime Minister.

There is no truer indication of future behaviour than past behaviour. Going by that measure, it is clear that Peter Dutton is not Prime Minister material — never was and never will be.

You can follow Belinda Jones on Twitter @belindajones68.

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