Some more impending election commentary.

“They won’t be numerate or literate in their own language, let alone English.”1

I know what you’re thinking – that’s a bit much. But I can assure you that’s not Donald Trump talking. It’s Australia’s own Immigration Minister Peter Dutton slandering many of our migrant communities. His remarks have been stupid and offensive. But Peter Dutton is not just another politician occasionally saying stupid and offensive things (although he really is an overachiever in that department).

This is a man who sniggered about the impacts of climate change on Pacific Islands (until he realised a boom mike was capturing his comments).2 This is a man who walked out of Parliament during the apology to the Stolen Generations. This is a man who, as Health Minister, tried to force the homeless, elderly and unemployed to pay to see a bulk-billing doctor – earning him the ranking of worst Health Minister in 35 years by doctors. 3

Yet right now Peter Dutton is also the most senior far-right conservative in Cabinet. Some hope he’ll be the next party leader.4 If the people of Dickson were to unseat Dutton, it would be a devastating blow to the right wing and everything they stand for.

Even if we don’t get Dutton chucked out of office, cutting deeply into his margin in Dickson would deal a serious blow to his reputation and powerful position in the party. Critically, it would prove that bigotry doesn’t win votes or elections — it sees cabinet members lose their seats. That’s the message we need to send to Dutton, Prime Minister Turnbull and politicians everywhere; this is not okay and this is not how we should treat other people.

So we need to write letters go on twitter, post blogs and tell these people that this is not okay. That the people of Australia won’t stand for this and won’t stand for people like Dutton and the current government, slandering the most vulnerable people.

It is enough that the people know there was an election. The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything. Joseph Stalin

Read more:
[1] “Peter Dutton says ‘illiterate and innumerate’ refugees would take Australian jobs”, The Sydney Morning Herald, May 18 2016.
[2] “Immigration Minister Peter Dutton caught joking about the effect of climate change on Pacific islands”, Sydney Morning Herald, September 11 2015.
[3] “Peter Dutton ranked as worst health minister in 35 years in poll of doctors”, The Guardian, January 12 2015.
[4] “Peter Dutton supersedes Scott Morrison as Liberal Party’s conservative champion”, The Sydney Morning Herald, December 1 2015.

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