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Peter Dutton is, to use his own words, more or less, a mad fucking wanker.

In supporting his political mate Jamie Briggs over Briggs’s sacking from the ministry for serious matters related to a public servant in Hong Kong, Dutton called News journalist Samantha Maiden a "mad fucking witch". She had written an article that was somewhat less ‘Uncle Rupert’ supportive than normal of the Coalition and Briggs in particular.

The only trouble is Dutton sent the text message to Maiden rather than Briggs. Sheer genius.

Last week Turnbull got rid of Jamie Briggs for his carry on in Hong Kong. Briggs circulated a photo of the victim to colleagues and someone leaked it, and her employment and other details enabling her identification, to The Australian. That Murdoch paper, as part of the old boys club, published the details. This is victim blaming and will have the effect of making women think twice about reporting sexist behaviour by men in positions of power.

Now the steaming pile of dog shit that is our immigration and border force minister has put Turnbull in a further bind about what to do with the openly sexist racist and homophobic faction in his government. In getting rid of Briggs, Turnbull said there were high standards to which ministers must uphold. Is calling a female journalist a "mad fucking witch" in keeping with those high standards?

Of course if there were any justice in the world Dutton would have been sacked long ago for the untruths he told the Australian people about asylum seeker rape victim Abyan not wanting an abortion. She did. She just wasn’t mentally strong enough to make an informed decision and needed a bit more time.

But Abyan is just part of a bigger problem. It is the role of immigration ministers to brutalise asylum seekers and refugees and send them to the concentration camps both in Australia and on Manus Island and Nauru. Women, children, men, boys, all are subject to this brutality.

Dutton should be sacked for running a concentration camp. He should be before the International Court of Justice in the Hague to answer for his crimes. So too should the Labor Party ministers responsible for the same concentration camps when they were in government. Add in all the prime ministers from Paul Keating onwards who led us down the path of such brutality.

It is unlikely Dutton will face any serious action; not impossible, but unlikely. Dutton has a key role in this government — one of driving racism and Islamophobia from the top of society to the bottom. This is an important distractor from the poverty, joblessness and declining living standards from which much of the working class in Australia suffers or is threatened.

On top of that, Dutton is the head of the hard right racist Liberal rat pack in the Liberals who still wield considerable power in the Party. They will defend him to the last man and woman. These are forces Turnbull cannot afford to alienate if he wants to survive politically and win the next election. Given Turnbull’s popularity and the fact women are flocking back to the Liberals in large numbers after Turnbull ousted Abbott in September 2015 means he may have some leeway. However, Briggs, Dutton, and all the other throwbacks from the 19th Century in the hard right faction are undermining Turnbull’s capacity to pretend to be a soft and cuddly prime minister who holds working women’s interests at heart.

Turnbull won’t even give Dutton a feather duster slap on the wrist in public for inappropriate language. He certainly won’t demote him or sack him from the ministry. He could do that, but risk the wrath of the men from the 17th Century. And that is the problem.

The men and women who reject the enlightenment are integral to the Turnbull government. They reject climate change — and Turnbull capitulates to them. They reject equal love — and Turnbull compromises, putting the day when we win marriage equality off for years. They embrace Islamophobia — and Turnbull mutters a few meaningless words about inclusiveness. They embrace the superiority of Judeo-Christian "civilisation" (code for the white man) — and Turnbull is all but silent. They continue the racism and genocide in physical and economic form against Aborigines — and Turnbull is one with them. They view women as subservient — and Turnbull twiddles his thumbs. They see imperialist wars as the way to solve problems (for imperialism) and Turnbull enthusiastically joins them.

Even if Turnbull did sack Dutton, the systemic sexism, racism and homophobia would continue and thrive.

All the members of the Turnbull government share the antediluvian delusion that austerity – for example, cutting government spending on workers and the poor, cutting wages, sacking workers – will solve the economic problems of capitalism. This is their bedrock, and the sexism, racism and homophobia of this government (and in varying degrees of the Labor Opposition) flow from this deep well of ruling class essentialism. Sexism, racism and homophobia, by distracting and dividing workers, help reinforce the government’s capacity to achieve its economic agenda of shifting more and more wealth and income from labour to capital. It is no accident that the government that attacks unions also attacks women, Indigenous Australians, refugees and gays.

As always the answer remains the same. If we don’t fight, we lose. Since, over the last 35 years or so, we haven’t been fighting in any sustained, radical and mass way over any major issu,  Dutton will keep his job.

Indeed my guess is he and the rest of the troglodytes will grow and prosper under the watchful eye and protective hand of our oh so nice "uncle", Malcom Turnbull.

John Passant is a doctoral student in the School of Politics and International Relations at the ANU. He blogs daily at En Passant. You can follow John on Twitter @JohnPassant.

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