Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has an unusual take on the Abbott government’s problems. The government’s woes have nothing to do with its own poor performance — the problem lies with the media, and in particular Fairfax journalists, who are apparently engaged in a “jihad” against our poor leaders.

Dutton, a serial bungler who was dumped from the health portfolio after making a meal of the GP co-payment, is fresh from the Abbott government’s latest self-initiated scandal — Operation Fortitude. Australian Border Force chief Roman Quaedvlieg also blamed the media yesterday for “mischaracterising” the operation. All the media’s fault. Perhaps both have taken their cues from government Senate leader Eric Abetz, who recently criticised journalists for reporting his colleagues’ cabinet leaks.

Of course, reporting the contents of government media releases is not “mischaracterising” them. Nor does reporting the views of Coalition politicians that Joe Hockey is a poor performer constitute “jihad”.

The media hasn’t invented the wretched performance of the Abbott government (remember “good government starts today”, nearly 18 months into office?). Nor has the media invented the myriad ways this government finds to derail itself every day.

In fact, if Dutton had spoken to journalists, he’d find they are increasingly bored with covering the Abbott government’s perpetual stuff-ups: the captain’s picks, the national security announceables, the cooked-up inquiries and the culture warfare that is the Abbott government.

Bungle-watch is getting old. Give us some meaty debates, some substantial policy to get our teeth into. We reckon the voters might appreciate it.

Peter Fray

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