Politics

Peter Dutton Is Lecturing Someone On ‘Compassion’ And I Just Overdosed On Irony

I will not be lectured to on compassion by that man. I will not.

Peter Dutton

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When you hear the words “Peter Dutton”, certain other words come to mind. You may think of words like “evil”, or “monstrous”, but one word that is highly unlikely to jump out is “compassion”. Dutton is, after all, the man in charge of Australia’s immigration detention system, which has been likened to torture.

And yet, the Home Affairs minister went on Today this morning and actually managed to accuse someone else of lacking compassion. He was talking about Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and her decision to keep Queensland’s border closed to interstate travellers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“There is an incredible amount of frustration out there because there is no consistency, no compassion and no common sense in Annastacia Palaszczuk,” Dutton said on Today. “The goal posts keep shifting, she keeps moving when the borders will open. I think all of this is being done for politics, and on the eve of an election, and that’s why people are upset.”

“If you are sitting in traffic this morning waiting to get across the border to see a medical specialist or a loved one and you are coming from an area where there has not been a single case, you can understandably be angry about it and that’s why the Premier is being called out,” Dutton continued. 

Which is all well and good, except it’s not really true. There have been many border exemptions for people seeking medical treatment, and polls have consistently showed that border closures are popular with voters.

Palaszcuk’s decision to keep the borders closed is certainly controversial, particularly as new COVID-19 cases in Sydney and Melbourne dwindle to almost zero. Critics say Palaszczuk’s policy is more about winning the upcoming Queensland state election on October 31, and they’re probably right, but the idea that Peter Dutton gets to lecture anyone about compassion is a bit of a joke.

After all, Dutton is the guy who’s keeping a family of asylum seekers locked up on Christmas Island, despite their local community begging for them to be returned. He also referred to the children of that family as “anchor babies”. Peter Dutton is the guy who joked about the effects of climate change on low-lying pacific nations. And Peter Dutton is the guy who reckons “illiterate” refugees will take Australians’ jobs.

Unsurprisingly, the comments haven’t gone down too well with people who, y’know, know who Peter Dutton is.

So anyway, let’s not let Peter Dutton lecture us on compassion.