Sunday, 13 September 2015

Peter Dutton offends troublesome brown people

During a press conference last week the immigration minister, Peter Dutton, made a crass joke at the expense of peoples living on low-lying islands in the Pacific. The recipients of the joke were the prime minister and the minister for social services.

Dutton alluded in a light-hearted fashion to climate change and its dire effects on islands in the Pacific, where sea levels are rising yearly, threatening populations. The unfortunate minister didn't realise that there was a live microphone on a nearby sound boom that picked up the entire verbal exchange. The minister was subsequently forced to apologise for the poor joke, however he didn't admit to any insult to those for whom climate change is now an existential threat. The prime minster for his part doesn't believe climate change is real, and has said so on many occasions. There is no evidence he has changed his mind on the issue. The minister for social services - ScoMo for short - is often mooted as a viable successor for the top job. Currently, all eyes are on a Western Australian by-election - in the seat of Canning - in a previously safe Liberal seat. The polls show the result will be close.

People are wondering how long the prime minister still has to go in his job given how bad a loss in Canning would look. Dutton's disgusting jibe at the expense of all those inconvenient brown people on all those small Pacific islands is just the most recent example in a long string of poor performances by the government. The PM is looking weak and the Opposition leader is laying low, following a strategy learned from long experience that tells you that when a government is doing poorly you just shut up and let it destroy itself. This is how the Liberals look right now in Australia.

All those troublesome brown people should just shut up, Peter Dutton surely hopes. The fracas happened while the minister was announcing a 12,000-person increase in the refugee intake from Syria. So it would seem that just when you think you are set to be congratulated by the brown-skinned populations of the earth you manage to put your foot in your mouth and the bastards get all bolshie on public radio. Several Pacific leaders spoke on radio today. Life sucks when you're in government.

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