Young woman makes a mistake and apologises. No significant harm is done. Everyone moves on. I wish that was the story from last week, but sadly that was never going to be the case and everyone had to weigh in. Admittedly, in the interest of balance I reluctantly felt the need to have my say as well.
Now that hopefully all the paroxysms of outrage about Yassmin Abdel-Magied have subsided it would be great if the Australian people didn’t go back to apathetic sleep and can rediscover their rage about other offensive things people say and do, because her post wasn’t close to the most appalling public statement made last week.
The disgraceful vilification of Ms Abdel-Magied, is a story in itself and a far greater illustration of people not understanding ‘Australian Values’ than her own words, but if her words did make you angry, Peter Dutton’s should have been at once infuriating and also quite chilling.
In belatedly addressing the shooting incident at the Manus Island Detention Centre, Dutton (a former police officer who should understand things like presumption of innocence and the need for evidence) stated that he did not want to pre-empt any police investigation and then in the same press conference made the blatant suggestion that the violence was related the an incident of child sexual abuse by detainees.
Every aspect of Dutton’s words were quickly contradicted by PNG police and by a local politician, who said the incident had nothing to do with the alleged incident, which happened a week earlier and just involved a hungry child being given some food. There is not even an investigation taking place into that so called ‘incident.’
Despite having no evidence to support his completely discredited claims and refusing to release CCTV footage, Dutton doubled down on his story citing classified information he cannot share. Andrew Bolt tried to defend the Ogre for Immigration (because of course he did) by claiming to have seen classified footage that supported Dutton’s story, but how Bolt got to see this footage raises more questions than it answers really.
If Peter Dutton and the Liberal Party had a history of integrity in these matters, I would be willing to allow some possibility however slim, that there may be some truth behind his words, but fool Australia once, shame on you. Fool us for the tenth time shame on us. This is a man who has become synonymous with dog whistling at vulnerable minority groups to deflect attention from government failures. Moreover this strategy of lying to the public to push their agenda has become normalised by the Liberal Party. Last year Save the Children Australia received around a million dollars compensation for false accusations by the then Minister of Immigration (Scott Morrison). But the political gain Morrison and his government had made isn’t undone. The same is true if we look at other lies the Liberals have sold us including WMD in Iraq and children overboard. This is a deliberate strategy that is getting increasingly callous and blatant.
Dutton’s indifference to morality, the truth or the rights of refugees should both sicken and frighten you. It shows if it was in his interest he would unhesitatingly treat any of us the same way.
It should also make you very angry.