Tanya Plibersek Had To Apologise For Saying Peter Dutton Looks Like Voldemort

The comment comes just days after Mark McGowan called him an "extremist."

peter dutton tanya plibersek

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Senior Labor MP Tanya Plibersek has been forced to apologise after comparing future opposition leader Peter Dutton to Voldemort.

In an interview with 4BC radio on Wednesday, Plibersek said the Liberal MP looks “a bit like Voldemort” after news broke that he will likely lead the party after Scott Morrison’s defeat.

“I think there will be a lot of children who have watched a lot of Harry Potter films who will be very frightened of what they are seeing on TV at night, that’s for sure,” said Plibersek. “I am saying he looks a bit like Voldemort and we will see whether he can do what he promised he would do when he was last running for leader which is smile more.”

It’s hardly an original comparison from Plibersek, with many social media users comparing Dutton to the Harry Potter villain for years now.

But when pressed on whether she thought it was fair game to criticise Dutton on his looks, Plibersek was quick to backpedal.

“I am just saying he is not the warm and friendly face of the Liberal party and if this last election taught us anything, it taught us that the Liberal party has moved too far to the extremes of politics,” she said.

Plibersek later privately apologised to Dutton for the comment and reportedly wished him well in his new role.

Following her radio interview, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese was grilled on breakfast television on whether or not he would “pull her into line” over the comments.

“She has already apologised for those comments,” Albanese told Natalie Barr on the Today Show. “There are a few comments made by the former Prime Minister about my appearance you might recall as part of the election campaign. We should not refer to people’s appearance, let’s discuss policy differences.”

While the resemblance between Dutton and the Dark Lord is obvious, it’s important to remember that criticising someone’s appearance is always a low blow, especially when Peter Dutton has no shortage of abhorrent things to be criticised for.

From joking about “water lapping at the door” of Pacific Island nations copping the brunt of climate change to asserting that pregnant rape victims were “trying it on” to escape offshore detention, Peter Dutton is no stranger to a bad take. He was also the only opposition frontbencher to boycott Kevin Rudd’s apology to the Stolen Generations and actively encouraged Australians to vote “no” to the same-sex marriage plebiscite, among countless other awful moves in his 20+ years in public office.

Criticising Dutton on his appearance, if anything, detracts from the laundry list of awful things he actually can change — but chooses not to.