[lg policy] People Pan Peter

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at gmail.com
Thu Aug 23 11:23:34 EDT 2018

 [image: Minister for Immigration Peter Dutton. Picture: AAP]
for Immigration Peter Dutton. Picture: AAP

   - Michael McKenna
   @McKennaattheOz <http://twitter.com/McKennaattheOz>
   - 12:00AM August 21, 2018
   - 173 *Comments*

Peter Dutton is used to a political fight.

The former policeman, who snatched his seat off then Labor frontbencher
Cheryl Kernot as an unknown in 2001, has been brawling over policy and
power since entering parliament. And despite the public declarations
yesterday of support for Malcolm Turnbull, Queensland’s Liberal National
Party is behind the scenes fanning a leadership challenge.

The LNP machine, much of its membership and many of its federal
parliamentarians — in the great tradition of self-preservation — want a
change to Dutton.
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The Queensland MP has shown he can hold a marginal seat, and many believe
he can sharpen that winning edge across the battleground state where 21 of
the 30 federal seats are held by the LNP. Eight are on margins of 4 per
cent or less, and have been seesawing between both sides of politics for a
decade — the exception being Dutton’s electorate of Dickson, on Brisbane’s
northern outskirts, which he has won in six tight elections.

Dutton might be the galvanising target of hatred for social ­progressives
over his uncompromising, unapologetic rhetoric — whether it be on health,
crime or immigration — but, according to LNP insiders, it is the language
many Queenslanders understand.

One senior LNP insider told *The Australian* the father of three may be the
“only hope of holding onto power’’.

“Peter is able to take complex policy issues and talk about them in
everyday language that Australians understand,’’ he said. “It was the same
thing with John Howard, with Barnaby Joyce and people like Matt Canavan.

“Turnbull just can’t cut through, and he talks about things that don’t mean
much to the average person, who is worried about their jobs, rising costs,
and live in these marginal electorates.’’

It was Turnbull’s mantra about the country needing to be agile and turning
to innovation during the 2016 campaign that produced a schism ­between the
LNP organisation and the Prime Minister.

In the last two weeks of that 2016 campaign, the LNP “went rogue’’ and
ignored campaign headquarters.

But since the narrow victory, the Turnbull government’s popularity has
plummeted in Queensland. Over April and June, Newspoll showed support in
the primary vote for the Turnbull government had sunk from 43.2 per cent at
the 2016 election to 36 per cent; the lowest level in any state.

If Dutton challenges and wins, he will become the first conservative prime
minister from Queensland since Arthur Fadden’s short-lived tenure in late

The 17-year veteran, who completed a business degree after leaving the
police force in 1999, was last night staring down new claims that were
already muddying the waters of his mooted challenge ­before it began.

Constitutional law expert Anne Twomey reportedly suggested Dutton’s ongoing
interests in two Brisbane childcare centres that receive commonwealth
subsidies could make him ineligible to serve in parliament.

Dutton became involved in ­developing childcare centres with his father, a
builder, before entering politics.

But Dutton’s office last night said he had legal advice that he was not in
breach of the Constitution.


 Harold F. Schiffman

Professor Emeritus of
 Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Dept. of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Phone:  (215) 898-7475
Fax:  (215) 573-2138

Email:  haroldfs at gmail.com

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