News & Commentary

Peter Dutton has a dream

I do think, on the information that I’ve seen, people do need help and they need help from a civilised country like ours.

Thus spoke Zarathustra, sorry Peter Dutton, ubermensch of the nation’s home affairs.

The minister was speaking of the plight of white farmers in South Africa. His department of immigration, border protection, national security, multicultural affairs, emergency management, cyber security and counter-terrorism, was looking into fast-tracking the process for any such people who wanted to emigrate to Australia. Such was the emergency that they leave – and threats and violence had been visited upon some (the numbers are disputed), the minister had stepped up to the crease. He was going in to bat for them, the wretched, the outcast, the souls on the edge of existence. The white farmers of South Africa.

Peter Dutton is right, in a perversely ideological way, about Australia being a civilised country. How else to explain the inclusion, and rise of, Peter Dutton, but that our level of civilisation is at such a heightened state of evolution it can accommodate his ascent, and his model of a minister?

Strange then that in this enlightenment one can feel benighted. Of course, one could for solace repeat Portia’s words from The Merchant of Venice:

The quality of mercy is not strained.
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath.

But that would be a fool’s mental errand. The quality of mercy under these affairs of state is meagre. Indeed, mercy was thrown overboard years ago when it was politically expedient to do so. Call it not the will to help those suffering. Call it the will to power.

The greatest danger is that this transformation will settle into our breast, become accepted, perhaps with a weary sigh, a protest here and there, perhaps. To borrow from songwriter Bruce Cockburn, the trouble with normal is it always gets worse. This is more insidious than Paul Keating’s belief that when you change the government, you change the country. Here, with every action, with every consolidation of power such as the mega home affairs portfolio where immigration sits with counter-terrorism, memory within the bureaucracy, within the wheels of government will be lost as to how to do the right thing, the decent thing. All will be changed. It is changing now.

“The silent majority, the forgotten people – or the aspirational voter of our generation, as some like to term them – are fed up with bodies like the Civil Liberties Council and the Refugee Action Collective” – Peter Dutton, 2002.

Hence, the war footing of ubermensch Dutton. Hence his what may appear silly recent comment that “lefty’’ critics such as The Guardian and the ABC are “dead” to him. And just for good measure he threw in a phrase from the Donald Trump songbook about the fake news agenda.

He told radio station 2GB: “They don’t realise how completely dead they are to me. So we just get on with making the decisions that we need to.

“I’m completely blind as to somebody’s skin colour, it makes no difference to me. It concerns me that people are being persecuted at the moment – the number of people dying or being savagely attacked in South Africa is a reality.

“If people think that I’m going to cower or take a backwards step because of their nonsense fabricated fake news criticism, they’ve got another thing coming.”

If Dutton is “completely blind as to somebody’s skin colour” then what is the motivation for the inhumanity under his watch?

This month Dutton lost a case in the Federal Court in which he tried to stop a 10-year-old boy on the verge of suicide from travelling from Nauru to Australia for treatment.

In 2002, in his maiden speech to Parliament, good soldier Dutton, said:

“The fight for a better place in which to live is today made even more difficult for many reasons, not least of which is the fact that the boisterous minority and the politically correct seem to have a disproportionate say in public debate today. The silent majority, the forgotten people – or the aspirational voter of our generation, as some like to term them – are fed up with bodies like the Civil Liberties Council and the Refugee Action Collective, and certainly the dictatorship of the trade union movement.

“Australians are fed up with the Civil Liberties Council – otherwise known as the criminal lawyers media operative – who appear obsessed with the rights of criminals yet do not utter a word of understanding or compassion for the victims of crime. Their motives are questionable and their hypocrisy breathtaking. That is not to say that right of speech should not be observed at every turn quite the opposite. What it does mean is that there is a right for all people to be heard. The mood of the silent majority is fast rising to one of anger, because at present there is a basic right that is being impinged upon. It is incumbent upon us to represent the views of the majority and not to be held captive by groups who grab headlines in tabloids on the basis of anything but substance.”

As time has shown a “better place in which to live” means excluding those who seek asylum, flinging them out of sight, into limbo, and denying if they could, their very existence. This month Dutton lost a case in the Federal Court in which he tried to stop a 10-year-old boy on the verge of suicide from travelling from Nauru to Australia for treatment. Others have died under the indifference of those governing in our name. The Saturday Paper last week published names: Fazel Chegeni, Mohammad Nasim Najafi, Khodayar Amini (“My crime was that I was a refugee,” he wrote), Ali Jaffari, Omid Masoumali, Omid Ali Avaz and Hamed Shamshiripour.

None of them were white South African farmers. Pity for them. For also as Dutton said recently, those men of the soil were ‘’the sorts of migrants we want to bring into our country’’.

Our “civilised” country.

19 responses to “Peter Dutton has a dream

    1. Then why isn’t it that simple for people facing horrendous persecution in other countries? That is the crux of the article.

  1. @B
    Ummm yes and let’s just not ignore the teens of thousands of non-white Rohingyas, Syrians etc.
    Oh no no no, they’re non-white and ‘moslem’ ….. Hence non-existent, possibly already dead to his honourable Mr. Dutton

  2. Do not underestimate what is happening in South Africa. The government is actively suppressing the statistics and the news. The powerful EFA faction is even encouraging the acts against not only white farmers but white people in general. It is a slow genocide. The crimes are beyond horrendous. Children forced to watch the rape of their mothers and murders of their fathers. That and much much worse. Do Australians feel white people deserve this because of Apartheid? Such horrendous things were never part of Apartheid. Look beyond skin colour and think of compassion and decency. South Africa is in a death spiral and on the well-trodden path of so many African countries that have gone before it.

    1. The argument is not the mistreatment of white farmers being debatable, it’s the sheer hypocrisy that gives them preference over people suffering similar or worse for so much longer.

  3. Dutton is not fit to be a member of a democratic elected parliament and I hope the people in the electorate of Dickson recognise this at the next election.

  4. Keating was so right; I think Australia has changed very much for the worst since we have been saddled with right-wing LNP governments, State and Federal. Their hard-heartedness has seeped into the psyche of the country and changed people. Money and self-interest top everything and, ironically, Australians are taking more antidepressants than ever before. No wonder with so called “leaders” like Dutton poisoning the society. People spend a lot of energy trying to either ignore refugees or defending the indefensible refugee/asylum seekers policy the LNP is so proud of.

    Dutton is without doubt the worst politician I have ever come across and I’ve been around for a while. The “white farmers” are the only people in distress he has ever voiced any sympathy for – that says it all about him.

  5. I have yet to read of one so-called “white” farmer from South Africa seeking entry to Australia. It’s a beat-up. But I do know that inhuman treatment including abuse, torture and death has been meted out on asylum-seekers arriving on our shores. That Peter Dutton is responsible (and his happy-clapper predecessor the verbal diarrhoeic Scott Morrison) is a fact – and one day he will be brought to justice! Dutton is D**D to me, too!

  6. Warwick, it’s probably escaped you, but Australia has almost never taken so many refugees as under this government. The exception is the period from 1979 to 1984 when Liberal PM Fraser resettled very large number of displaced South Vietnamese. So the premise of your argument that a small number of South African farmers are being viewed favourably while others are not being resettled is a lie. And that’s a problem with writers like you. You deliberately create hyperbole so that the outraged will be even more so. Ah, the facts. Don’t let them get in the way of your self righteousness, right?

    1. a small number of South African farmers are being viewed favourably while others are not being resettled is not a lie. The article does not say that no settlement is being granted. South African farmers are being viewed favourably while others, already given refugee status, are left to wallow in endless hopelessness and despair on awful conditions on tropical islands for the sake of political expediency. There is nothing hyperbolic or self-righteous behind pointing that out. If there wasn’t a policy of deliberate cruelty to some people, no one would raise an eyebrow about the acceptance of the South African farmers. Moreover, Dutton saying that these farmers deserve a civilised society to go to outrageously infers those we keep in limbo do not. Look to your own prejudices.

  7. @B
    Nothing to say about how we should help Rohingyas, Syrians! We should help. It’s that simple. But surely it includes anyone in need of help.

  8. OK, the White South African farmers have a serious problem. However, Australia also has a problem, denying basic human rights to people in our region who have had to flee their country to escape torture and harassment by extremest regimes. As said ‘charity begins at home’ let us substitute ‘compassion’ for charity and end the suffering of the people on Manus and Nauru.
    As to farmers being persecuted – a refugee – and now friend – left Sri Lanka some 5 years ago, by boat – there was no queue to jump !!
    The ruling regime had stolen his property and some family land – objection led to imprisonment and torture – he left to save his life and protect his family. Although still having only refugee status, he is a model that many Australians should emulate – has several part time jobs, pays taxes and does not abuse our welfare system. Despite this he lives under continuing threat of deportation !!
    Sort out our home grown problems, Mr Dutton, before giving preferential treatment to South African farmers.

  9. I can just see Peter Deadmutton standing at the Australia entry gate with a huge Dulux colour chart in his hand, saying, “in”, “in”, “out”.

    Every square, every swatch on his super dooper, extra large, paint chart is, “white”, “light white”, “pale white”.

    It’s easy to see the merit in white. It doesn’t confuse or blur the lines, “ white is white”, “white is right” and the Right is always Right, according to them.

  10. The (number unknown) South African farmers will just have to join the queue …. perhaps behind the victims of Australia’s imperialist lackey interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq …

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