By sending a sick, pregnant Somalian back to Nauru, where she was raped, without treatment, Peter Dutton has committed a serious crime and should be arrested, writes Bob Ellis.

THE UNFOLDING STORY of a Somalian woman raped and made pregnant on Nauru – a police state the size of Monaco, where abortion is illegal and rape unproveable – and her removal to Sydney for a "procedure" she didn’t turn up for, and her subsequent banishment back to Nauru where she now must have the baby I guess, that or suicide, and her assailant can do her further harm, since he knows where she lives, and she will have no police protection, is a measure of the cruelty, racism, xenophobia and political stupidity of Dutton, whom Turnbull should sack now, and the shame our nation, since Tampa, is currently floundering in.

"Blaming the victim" it used to be called. It resembles what happened under American slavery, where women were routinely raped and impregnated by their white masters, in barbarous arrangements the Civil War was fought to bring to an end.

Yet it’s happening now, in Sydney, and on an island we send billions to, and Malcolm Turnbull, a "progressive", a "small-l liberal", a "man of the twenty-first century", is allowing it to happen. It’s happening, Dutton tells us, to prevent drownings like those off Lesbos and Lampedusa, and what a wise policy it is. You drive a pregnant woman to suicide to stop other people drowning, and there is no other way.

Except…except…what we have here is a major crime, and that crime is torture, and Dutton, now plainly guilty of torture, must surely go to gaol for it.

He will say he did what he could, and she didn’t show up for the abortion, she’s made her bed, and she’ll have to lie on it — and when she commits suicide, or is murdered, in the police state he’s just sent her back to, he’ll say it’s a matter for the Nauruan police, it’s none of my affair, I wash my hands of it. Can there be a more contortedly stupid Minister in history? Name one.

I’m not sure what will happen after this. The Palaszczuk Government could, I suppose, arrest Dutton, a Queensland resident, for torture. Attorney-General Brandis, also a Queensland resident, could agree to his extradition to The Hague to stand trial there for piracy, kidnap, people smuggling, child abuse and torture. Before then, Turnbull should sack him, or speak severely to him and ask his Treasurer Morrison if there’s any similar misjudgment he wishes to confess to, and sack him also.

Will any of this happen? Of course not.

Rape was a crime when I last read about it. Allowing a raped woman an abortion was common practice then. Counselling her before the abortion was common practice also.

Imprisoning the rapist was thought a reasonable precaution. Allowing him access to his victim, whom he then might kill, was thought very stupid, and very wrong.

Yet none of these normal precautions has taken place, and she may suicide now, and Dutton, a very, very bull-headed thicko, will say it was somehow all her fault, she was asking for it, and he’s not going to fall for any of her tricks, or the tricks of others like her, who are planning to get themselves knocked up and cheat their way into Australia.

It is early Saturday morning as I write this. It is perhaps the tipping-point for the Turnbull government — or not. The whole adventure could bust up over this issue — or not.

And we will see what we shall see.

Not happy about this matter? Leave a message for Turnbull on 02 9327 3988 or email malcolm.turnbull.mp@aph.gov.au

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