I'm not sure if GetUp's #DumpDutton campaign is going to have the effect we would like.
Don't get me wrong, I loathe Dutton for his lack of integrity or basic decency. He is an apt figurehead for much of what is wrong with Australian politics. I would love to see him gone, but I'm just not so sure about this campaign's efficacy. GetUp's proud declaration that they will target him creates the ironic situation where the Minister for Immigration- a man who has made a name for himself through bullying, intimidating and abusing the disempowered- the chance to claim he is being unfairly targeted and appeal for our sympathy. It seems that with the media's current standard of unthinking 'journalism,' even the most privileged bully can try to play the victim (as Pauline Hanson often demonstrates). And it can work too because the Australian public loves an underdog- as long as they are white, obviously.
Moreover, as an unashamedly progressive activist group, GetUp has staked out a position that would have engendered lingering antipathy from some sections of the community, especially conservatives. I don't make this statement as a criticism- I am glad of their contributions to the national discourse- but I think it is important to recognise not everyone will share my appreciation for their work.
By turning this campaign into GetUp VS Dutton, the group is asking people choose a side. Some voters may have little time for Dutton's hypocrisy and incompetence, but may be ideologically opposed to GetUp at a more instinctive level. As such, they may be drawn to supporting Dutton because they don't want to agree with GetUp.
A less personalised and dichotomous approach that just highlighted his series of failings without explicitly revealing an agenda against Dutton would probably have no less impact on public opinion against him. However it would be less likely to turn hostility towards GetUp into support for the Ogre for Immigration (perhaps I am splitting hairs over appearances here but I think nuances can be important in the Australian political sphere).
And while Dutton unquestionably deserves to leave parliament and never be heard from again, to think that his absence will make our government or the Liberal Party a recognisably more decent party is extremely optimistic. If GetUp can contribute to Dutton's seat being lost to the Coalition, that is a win, but if they just see him dumped internally for another candidate, the Liberal party is by no means short of creeps. They're kind of like a more dangerous and unpleasant version of the hydra of Greek legend- cut off a head and another grows. For this reason, I wonder whether GetUp would get a better return for their effort by targeting particular policies than individual ministers.