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Peter Dutton Chucked A Giant Tantrum And Had A Big Sook At The Media Today

"I'm not going to be defamed by The Guardian and by the ABC "

It’s fair to say that Immigration Minister Peter Dutton isn’t Junkee’s favourite politician. But to be fair to us, he’s probably no-one’s favourite politician. Why would he be? Just last week he accused refugee advocates of lying about the abuse faced by children in immigration detention. And today he’s at it again, accusing the media of “defaming” him.

In a very tense interview with the ABC’s Michael Brissenden, Dutton criticised media organisations, singling out the ABC and The Guardian, as well as refugee advocates. When Brissenden asked the Immigration Minister about reports in The Guardian that he was briefed about abuse allegations months before the Nauru Files story broke, he dismissed the question as “the ABC commenting on The Guardian’s reports”.

Brissenden, as you would, said “Well, that’s a bit, that’s a bit unfair,” leading to Dutton accusing the ABC and The Guardian of “Trivialising the issue”.

“I take these issues very seriously and like all Australians, I completely abhor any violence, particularly of a sexual nature against any people in particular women and children. So I take these issues very seriously,” Dutton said. “But the trouble, frankly with the approach of The Guardian and the ABC has been to trivialise the very serious issues by trying to promote the 2,100 reports as somehow, all of those being serious when they’re not.

“I think people should be a little more circumspect because my desire, the Government’s desire is to treat people with dignity, to take all of these issues very seriously and to act accordingly and I’m not going to be defamed by The Guardian and by the ABC because we are doing everything within our power to provide support for people.”

Dutton also criticised the charity organisation Save the Children for apparently redacting leaked documents. But Save the Children didn’t redact the files, they were redacted by The Guardian, presumably to protect the privacy of individuals involved. And you can imagine that if the leaked documents hadn’t been redacted, Dutton would have had something to say about it. Save the Children have issued a statement denying that they were responsible for the leak, saying bluntly “Minister Dutton’s claims on AM this morning that we leaked the documents are false”.

So far, in response to the Nauru Files and ongoing reports of abuse, Peter Dutton has 1) Blamed refugees, 2) Blamed refugee advocates and 3) Blamed the media. That’s right Peter, it’s everyone’s fault but yours. You’re just the Minister for Immigration after all.

If Dutton is so upset about media organisations relying on second hand information and leaks, there’s a couple of really simple things he can do. He can let journalists access detention facilities on Nauru and Manus Island and he can stop threatening to investigate and arrest former detention centre workers. Until then, he needs to stop blaming the media for reporting on the policies of his own government.