Peter Dutton’s extraordinary outburst against Fairfax and the ABC has been greeted with the ridicule that it deserves. Even his cabinet colleagues have distanced themselves from his rantings.
You can understand the frustration. He has risen from the ranks of the Queensland Constabulary to being a Minister of the Crown. Not only has he has lost his seat once and regained it to return to Parliament.
Now, given a significant swing against Government in the next federal election, he looks likely to lose his seat again. He hasn’t done much wrong, except giving the impression he has absolutely no perspective on political processes in Australia.
His claims that Fairfax and ABC are plotting jihad to overthrow the government indicates that his grip on reality is loosening. In Australia, governments are not overthrown, they are voted out of office by the people. The media may seek to influence that decision but that is all it is able to do.
What is disturbing about Dutton’s little tirade is that implies something sinister, illegal and covert in the actions of the media. By implication, the government should do something to protect the people from this potential evil and also by implication, that he is the man to do it. Him and the Border Protection Force
We’re fortunate to live in a robust democracy where Dutton’s outburst can be treated with the ridiculous it richly deserves.
But you don’t need to travel far for Australia until you’re in countries where criticism of the government is a punishable offence. The appalling treatment of Peter Greste and his colleagues in Egypt is a case in point.
And let us not forget that this minister now has under his control a small army of 6000 armed paramilitary officers whose idea of border control is intercepting people in Federation Square.
It is no bad thing that this extremely dangerous man will probably be dusting off his CV after the next election.