Culture

Peter Dutton Sent A Text Calling A Journo “A Mad Fucking Witch” To That Journo By Mistake

Who gave Peter Dutton a phone?

Peter Dutton has injured his bicep.

Whether it’s getting caught making crass, insensitive jokes about our climate change-endangered neighbours directly underneath a live boom microphone, being the internet’s punchline or just generally looking like a giant overgrown baby, Immigration Minister and used teatowel Peter Dutton will never be the world’s golden boy.

In his worst moments, the man in charge of monitoring Australia’s borders seems uniquely unsuited to life on this earth, with all its bright lights and loud noises. It’s as if a naked mole rat were abruptly transported from its happy existence in an East African burrow, wrapped in a suit and tie and stuck on a Liberal Party election poster.

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Peter Dutton at a press conference, Canberra, July 2014.

Such seemed to be the case last night, when yet another angle emerged in the ongoing and fairly nauseating Jamie Briggs saga. In a Sunday column for the Herald Sun, News Corp national political editor Samantha Maiden blasted Briggs’ behaviour both during and after the incident in a Hong Kong nightclub that cost him his seat on the government frontbench, calling his conduct “as dumb as all get out” and comparing him to Barry Humphries creation Sir Les Patterson.

Which is where Peter Dutton comes in. In an apparent gesture of solidarity with Briggs, Dutton fired off a text message calling Maiden “a mad fucking witch” sometime yesterday. The reason we know this? Instead of sending that text message to Briggs, presumably the intended recipient, Dutton somehow managed to send it off to Samantha Maiden instead.

Hence why the front page of today’s Daily Telegraph looks like this:

Leaving aside, for the minute, the casual misogyny of the text itself, or the fact that Dutton supported the sacking of former Speaker Peter Slipper for pretty similar behaviour a few years ago, the fact that one of Australia’s most powerful government ministers is seemingly incapable of operating a phone has seized people’s collective imaginations.

Was he typing with oven mitts on? Was he pecking at the screen with his nose like a giant, clammy bird? Did he step on a banana peel just as he was about to hit ‘Send’, and was the resulting pratfall accompanied by a sad trombone sound? It all remains unclear.

For her part, Samantha Maiden has taken the whole thing in her stride. After texting Dutton back to gently inform him that he’d sent her the text, she up and changed her Twitter profile to this:

Dutton quickly owned up to the text and apologised to Maiden once he realised his mistake, and it remains to be seen whether or not Dutton will be punished by the government for his behaviour. In the meantime, I give it four days tops before Australia’s Immigration Minister manages to fall down a well.