At a recent gathering, I murmured something faintly conservative, and quick as a flash I was called a ‘Dutton’.
According to the Urban Dictionary, a Dutton is ‘the most derogatory name you could call someone, aimed to hurt and insult, to hate despise and hold with no respect whatsoever’.
Which made me a bit nervous about interviewing the real live Peter Dutton for The Echo, which is probably why I asked the longest question ever (Dutton’s comments come from the public record).
Thank you, Mr Dutton, for agreeing to this ‘interview’ with the Byron Shire Echo.
Q) What exactly did you mean when you said this about some asylum seekers: ‘Some people are trying it on. Let’s be serious about this’,?
A) ‘There are people who have claimed that they’ve been raped and came to Australia to seek an abortion because they couldn’t get an abortion on Nauru.
‘They arrived in Australia and then decided they were not going to have an abortion.
‘They have the baby here and the moment they step off the plane their lawyers lodge papers in the federal court which injuncts us from sending them back.’
Are you saying that these women were in fact not raped; they are just pretending to have been raped, and that having fallen pregnant in this actually consensual sexual encounter, they’ve then lied about being raped, and faked wanting an abortion from this non-rape as a ruse?
And isn’t it true that in 2016, a federal court judge found you had breached your duty of care to a woman who became pregnant as a result of rape, and exposed her to serious medical and legal risks in trying to avoid bringing her to Australia for an abortion?
Are you aware that the National Justice Project director, George Newhouse, responded: ‘I know of cases where women were raped under his watch and needed a termination, and the fact he’s using them as political cannon fodder is an absolute disgrace.’
And what message does that send to women everywhere who desperately want to disclose in a safe environment where they might be believed?
Opposed Biloela move
And while you are thinking about your answer to that, what did you actually mean when you opposed the move of the Nadesalingam family to Biloela (and this is after the election, when you are meant to be Mr Nice Guy), because it would be a marketing case for people smugglers.
Did you really mean that on some godforsaken Indonesian island, under a palm tree some deckhand would say: ‘see, look at what a great time this family has had, dragged out of their home in the dead of night, locked up in detention for years, their second daughter falling gravely ill, then detained in Western Australia, and eventually just now allowed to settle back in the thriving metropolis of Bilo. Yes, you too could get such vundabar treatment!’
He said, she said
When you are done thinking about that, perhaps you could reflect on your first statement about the rape allegations made by former Liberal staffer, Brittany Higgins, where you described the situation as a ‘he said, she said’ affair.
Apart from belittling the strength of the allegation (didn’t you watch the interview on 4 Corners?), it is actually just untrue.
It was ‘she said she said’ unless you have spoken to ‘him’ and have something to share?
Was that in an effort to cast doubt on her story? Or just muddy the waters? And to what end?
And of course, we know you opposed the NSW abortion law reform recently passed.
And same sex marriage, where you said advocates like Alan Joyce should ‘stick to your knitting.’
And you said that there are 7,500 people who are fake refugees, and that there is ‘the world’s biggest collection of Armani jeans and handbags up on Nauru waiting for people to collect when they depart’.
And that Malcom Fraser should not have let Lebanese Muslims into Australia in the 1970s, and that protesters who disrupt traffic should have their welfare payments cut, and be subject to mandatory jail sentences.
Civil Liberties Council
And did you say that ‘Australians are fed up with the Civil Liberties Council – otherwise known as the criminal lawyers media operative’?
And did you say that Victorians: ‘are scared to go out at restaurants at night time because they’re followed home by these gangs, home invasions, and cars are stolen and we just need to call it for what it is. Of course, it is African gang violence.’
And remember when South Africa demanded you retract your comments that the country’s white farmers are being ‘persecuted’, and deserve protection with special visas from a ‘civilised country’.
And wouldn’t you agree that someone who expresses views like this is actually morally disqualified from holding any office of responsibility?
And that smile does not fool anyone with your fake family snaps.
I know, I need to work on my anger. Thanks for the interview.
♦ David Heilpern is a lawyer, author and a former Magistrate.