In 1519, Capitan Hernando Cortes and a small army left the Spanish held island of Cuba and set out on one of the greatest conquests in the history of the world. Cortes was going to accomplish his goals no matter the consequences. He put to death some of those who opposed him, got himself appointed Capitan-General, and on arriving ashore gave the order to burn his fleet of ships in an attempt to motivate his men to adapt to his at-all-costs attitude. By doing so, legend has it; he raised his men’s commitment level to new and astounding heights! Peter Dutton, Federal Liberal MP for Dickson has taken a leaf out of the Cortes play book and burnt his own boats in the seat of Dickson! Peter Dutton's decision to walk away from his now marginal federal seat of Dickson in Brisbane to contest Liberal pre-selection for the safe seat of McPherson on the Gold Coast is akin to the burning of the boats. If he loses the pre-selection then there is little chance of his successful return to contest Dickson at the next Federal election. The abandoning of a seat by a sitting MP halfway through a parliamentary term to contest pre-selection in a seat over 100 kilometres to the south is not looked upon favourably by those constituents abandoned in the first place. Nor is Dutton’s sudden pronouncement of his desire to become McPherson’s next MP is not sitting well with McPherson LNP eligible pre-selectors. So why is Dutton so sure of himself that he decided to burn his boats? Statements coming out of LNP HQ are an exquisite example of weasel-words, not once using the term ‘pre-selection’ leading many party members to believe that the LNP constitution will somehow be usurped, allowing northern LNP powerbrokers to parachute Dutton into the safe Gold Coast seat. While LNP HQ is trying to keep a lid on the simmering suspicions of local LNP members, an awakening is occurring in other LNP branches throughout the State: if Dutton gets plonked into McPherson, the LNP HQ can skip over a pesky pre-selection in any seat in Queensland. Oddly enough it was Peter Dutton in 2001 that battled and ultimately defeated Cheryl Kernot when she was parachuted into Dickson by the ALP, whipping up a grassroots campaign based around the fact that she didn’t live anywhere near the electorate as one of the main attack points on his opponent. What many local LNP members can’t fathom is the support for Dutton’s ‘appointment’ from retiring McPherson MP Margaret May. If Ms. May is truly sailing off into the political sunset why is she working so hard to get Dutton anointed? Has some ‘post federal politics’ deal been struck by Ms. May? One thing is for sure. If McPherson does go to a normal pre-selection before the end of the year, Dutton is no chance given the mood of local LNP members. Maybe this was the genius of Dutton in burning his boats. The pressure on LNP HQ from factional allies in Canberra ‘not to lose Peter Dutton outright’ must be intense and by announcing his intention to move seats early, Peter Dutton has ensured that everybody in the party knows there is no going back to Dickson for him. While Dickson was marginal, by leaving Dickson, Peter Dutton has 100% guaranteed Dickson goes into the ALP column at the next election.*that’s a joke.
Constituents not happy about Dutton dumping Dickson
Last week a disgruntled LNP member from Peter Dutton’s seat of Dickson wrote to Crikey venting their spleen at Dutton’s decision to abandon the seat for Margaret May’s seat of McPherson.