Dudded: Peter Dutton in No-man’s land

Is there anyone in Australia paying attention to the federal Liberal Party apart from Canberra coke dealers and those men who post stale bottles of piss to Family Court judges? #NotAllAngryMen Because it was all happening for their glorious Liberal leader last month when the party released a farm-to-table Youtube video for the man who was almost Prime Minister back in 2018, if only he could count properly.

This cinematic video masterpiece in search of Peter Dutton’s missing personality coincidentally launched on the very same day he thrilled a meeting of something called the Liberal Party Federal Council, all presumably brought to their Canberra conference in a single mini-bus with a 6 x 4 trailer towing Scotty the outcast.

In fact there was so much reheated Peter-praise on June 17 that the cooker’s columnist Steve Price chimed in with an entire article on Peter’s chances of success in an election that’s not due for at least two more years, but don’t tell Steve. We can only presume Steve wasn’t under the influence of something illegal when he wrote, “He’s electable and Prime Minister Albanese should be very worried …. Opposition Leader Peter Dutton has arrived as an alternative Prime Minister.” Arrived? Yes, but only if the arrival destination is the back of a disused wheat shed in Dubbo.

Tanking in the polls, with a popularity rating slightly above herpes, Peter Dutton has little to fight with except the terrifying idea of fear and Sussan Ley becoming the Opposition Leader; which let’s face it, is the same thing really. It’s a dirty fat rollie of No-No-No from Peter Dutton on everything from supporting an Indigenous voice to parliament to speaking with any level of excitement above a railway announcer on platform 8 – and Peter’s smoking that woe-is-me negativity all the way down to the stub.

If it’s a No-man’s land of grinding, relentless despondency you’re after and the permanent disposition of a doomsday clock, then Peter Dutton is your man. There’s a war on don’t you know, and our Peter is trapped on his very own Japanese Pacific island, hiding in the bushes fighting his imaginary war while everyone else has long gone home.

While the Albanese government sat waiting last April for Peter Dutton to come forward with Peter’s views on the Voice, Peter hunkered down with his party advisors and thought brokers so they could tell Peter what Peter thought of the Voice. Peter’s mates in his frequently visited USA taught him that lesson last July when he visited his Republican friends in their Washington think-tanks so the Americans could show him how to divide Australia and sell pre-packaged grievance wars to the masses.

Just so we’re all clear – the Liberal Party, and their fake Akubra-wearing mates the Nationals, are opposing The Voice as a way to undermine their political opponents and build their voter base back up. That’s it. That’s all they’ve got. The fact that numerous legal experts and Indigenous people themselves say the Voice is something that’s very much needed to achieve equality isn’t something Peter wants or needs to hear. He feeds on the blood of conflict and negativity, he always has.

The substance and aims of The Voice have little to do with Peter Dutton and co’s decision to oppose it. Like all populists, he hates the population. He just needs to see the blood.

Peter Dutton is the Potemkin Village of Australian politics, a man held up by the feeble struts of an empty party with the ugly side facing outwards.

Look behind the Liberal Party’s war on everything and there’s nothing there. Will the Indigenous Voice to Parliament grab the land rights to your clotheslines? Will the Voice legislate trained koalas to hack your bank accounts? And when oh when will the federal government do something about the cost of electricity that Peter Dutton’s had two decades in parliament to do something about?

Yes, the country was in ruins when they left it, and yes the Liberal Party has just survived a damning Robodebt royal commission into one of the worst policy disasters in Australia’s federal history, but why would Peter accept responsibility for helping enable all of this when he can carry on the grand Liberal tradition of denial, avoidance and lying?

You mean somebody gave out shadowy billion dollar contracts to dodgy operators on Manus Island and Nauru while Peter Dutton was the Home Affairs Minister? Peter knows nothing about it, and neither do his mates at 2GB. Scott Morrison? Never heard of him. Robodebt? You must be making it up. 

This is where we are. A former key member of the Morrison government is so undaunted by his support of a policy fiasco that saw people driven to kill themselves and families riven apart, so unbothered by tormenting a Tamil family for four years of their lives that their small daughter had to be hospitalised and protected from Dutton’s tyranny by doctors, that he’s now offering Scorsese-style happy family videos to the public to try to eradicate it all. Smile everybody.

If you haven’t seen the video, then prepare yourselves, please, for the hilarious notion that Peter can obliterate his entire twenty-two year political history by telling us he now watches netball with his neighbours.   

Watch Peter the YouTuber in his softly lit pastoral scene, a man on the land with his softly lit offspring and his softly lit cattle, all sensibly running away from him. There’s Peter again, revving his trail bike behind his panicked cattle, probably imagining himself rounding up asylum seekers to keep them on isolated islands so Beryl and Dave the Daily Telegraph subscribers will throw a vote or two his way.

While Peter tosses his sausages, his devoted wife recites to camera in one of those advertising voices used to sell period pain medication, “I think what’s special about Peter is his commitment to family.” Presumably drinking the same cocktail our columnist Steve Price ingested, Mrs Peter tells us about Peter’s “immense empathy, his immense kindness he has for families” which must have come in handy when he was lecturing asylum seeking women who’d been raped on Manus Island that they needed to stop “trying it on” while they waited for an abortion, because that’s the type of immense kindness and empathy you just know she’s talking about.

And in case he forgot to mention it, Peter the YouTuber tells us he and his wife are just like most Australian couples who “have to work”. I know, I know, you’re asking yourself: were Poor Peter and Mrs Poor Peter forced to work before they had to sell their $3.5 million Brisbane penthouseor after selling the Townsville shopping centre they forgot they no longer owned? 

For a man continually staking his claim as an anti-elitist, torch-all-the-millionaires kind of guy, our Peter the elitist millionaire reveals himself to be weirdly out of touch. Don’t forget it was Peter who scolded all the nasty millionaire CEOs last month for donating shareholder funds to the Voice while he looked the other way when they donated shareholder funds to the Liberal Party.

But such is the busy forgetful mind of Peter the multi-millionaire politician who rails against the wicked multi-millionaire elites every chance he gets, which admittedly must make for awkward family barbecues with his multi-millionaire Mrs and his multi-millionaire Liberal donors.

But none of it matters in Peter Dutton’s No-man’s land, where all of the past can magically be wiped away and, with the help of Australia’s political media who gleefully exploit the conflict, total lies can simply be fabricated into reality. Will Peter Dutton become the charismatic leader of Steve Price and Mrs Peter’s fevered imaginations? Will he change his views on Indigenous Australians’ rights to constitutional recognition now that he’s shown us all he enjoys a cappuccino at his local shopping centre and is nice to his dog?

Don’t wait for Peter Dutton to tell you what Peter Dutton thinks, he’s still waiting on his “Advisors”, they’re feeding him the bullets. Meanwhile the real history of the Dutton years in Australian politics will be that new lows can always be found and regardless of the question, No is always the answer.

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