Jul 18, 2017

Dutton anointed, Brandis humiliated. Malcolm Turnbull has finally lost it.

Malcolm Turnbull has announced a home affairs portfolio, in a major win for Peter Dutton that reflects how weak the Prime Minister is.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

"Ten-flag Tony", Prime Minister Abbott was dubbed, as the number of flags behind him at his ever-proliferating number of national security announcements grew and grew; journalists began making bets on how many would be wheeled in ahead of every media conference. The urbane Malcolm Turnbull was better than that, of course -- the man who as a minister dismissed claims from his colleagues George Brandis and Julie Bishop that Islamic State was an "existential threat", the man who seemed too worldly, too self-aware, to rely on crass jingoism to bolster his flailing government.

Yesterday, though, Turnbull out-flagged Abbott, comprehensively. Instead of pole after pole of flags, neatly arrayed behind him, Turnbull announced that the government would be making it easier to call out the military for domestic terrorism incidents at what looked for all the world like a Call of Duty convention, with gas-masked soldiers, an assortment of rifles and other military paraphernalia, including an assault vessel -- any terrorist incidents on our waterways, presumably, would be dealt with vigorously.

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46 thoughts on “Dutton anointed, Brandis humiliated. Malcolm Turnbull has finally lost it.

  1. Dog's Breakfast

    What you really need in a quick response emergency environment is another layer of management over the top of the existing layer(s).

    I don’t know a large organisation that isn’t doing the same. Great strategy, brilliant tactics, wonderful implementation, and giving it to a nondescript Qld plod, you’re really scraping the bottom of a bottomless barrel.

  2. Graeski

    Mutton in charge of all those spooks?

    I was scared.

    Now I’m terrified.

  3. Malcolm Hutton

    So Turnbull has to be seen to be ‘doing something’ and the old politician’s remedy of a Super-department is called on again. It looks superficially good, but ignores organisational findings that super-departments are inefficient, adding layers of bureaucracy and creating competing silos. But then this move is about politics, not efficiency.

  4. Jack Stepney

    This is seriously worrying. But worse still if Dutton becomes PM is that Abbott might get Home Affairs.

  5. zut alors

    There’s a lesson from the Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen years which should be applicable here. Then Assistant Commissioner, Graham Parker, who later admitted corruption, had his finger in several different policing pies. Therefore, if one arm of the law was being investigated he was always alerted to it & able to thwart a whistleblower or to affect a cover-up. Parker was like an octopus, tentacles in everything, playing defence from inside one crooked organisation to foster another. Hence corruption thrived under him & Commissioner, Sir Terry Lewis, for years.

    One person (especially a dunce like Dutton) having so many portfolio responsibilities interlinked to each other is potentially dangerous. One of Malcolm’s worst decisions – & that’s really placing the bar high.

  6. John Hall

    A victory of fear over sanity. Scaring the electorate is an old hangover from the ‘Reds Under The Beds’ theme. What a low point for politics in Australia – Trump will love his Aussiemate now. Turncoat is spreading it thicker than Abbott did. The Reds under our beds will be our own government – Duttons finger on the Buttons makes me feel less safe.

  7. JMNO

    Given his contempt for the separation of powers and the rule of law and the arbitrary and harsh nature of many of his immigration decisions, and given the increasing erosion of our rights in the name of national security and the proposal to let the military loose on our streets, putting Dutton in a position like this is really quite dangerous for our civil society. He is small-minded, bigoted and not very bright and he has just been granted an immense expansion of his powers to go after the sort of people his small-town policeman mind thinks are a threat to the community which is a very large group of people indeed.
    Then he takes over from Turnbull as PM and keeps these portfolios. Arbitrary, repressive, intolerant authoritarian rule anyone? Don’t say it couldn’t happen here.

    1. Gregory Bailey

      I agree completely with this post. Despite all the snide satirisation of Dutton and Turnbull, the prognosis for the future could be extremely negative. That Dutton is not bright means that he will be unaware of his shortcomings, and Turnbull’s true colours are now absolutely in evidence (the media commentariat have tried to conceal this for ages by saying he was forced to deny his small-l liberalism to maintain the support of the right. Rubbish!): either he is as far to the right as all the rest, or he has no values whatsoever except for his own ego driven desire for power. Unfortunately both of these are de rigeur for most politicians now.
      Australia could easily turn into a mildly authoritarian state. Most of the people are too apathetic to be concerned and as long as low level freedoms are not restricted, they would not be affected. Equally the saturation coverage of low-level police activity, shown on the documentaries about border-forces and police picking up drink drivers/unregistered cars, which has become very popular on commercial television, also prepares the ground for a more authoritarian police presence.
      I suppose the broader question is why we have had three narcisssistic Prime Ministers (Rudd, Abbot and Turnbull) over such a short period of time, following the long disaster of John Howard. What does this tell us about the nature of Australian political culture and society?

      Greg Bailey

  8. Peter Wileman

    We’ve already got the ominous black uniforms, (shades of 1936 Munich). Now he’s given us Obergrupenfuhrer Dutton….. Oh Malcolm, Malcolm.
    This is a new low for the liberals ‘Captain’s Picks’, but on the other hand, at least it’s not Brandis, that would be just tooooo much

  9. CML

    Just had a scroll through a number of blogs in the MSM…it is ALL doom and gloom for Talcum and Potato Head there.
    Doesn’t seem anyone can believe such stupidity is possible, let alone necessary!
    Essential poll today: 2PP 54-46 Labor…next week should be interesting!!

  10. graybul

    One thing known about our PM from previous decades is his ability to shape shift. He has never found difficulty with changing sides. Adopting an opponents argument, expedient policy, mantra or, reinventing a persona more acceptable to expectations of others. When to acquire and when to discard. Skills honed to a fine edge.

    He is not a mug our PM. He knows what awaits in twelve months time. As announced: ‘I shall depart politics forthwith.’ He counts the legacy dominoes. So why anoint individuals who’s values conflict??

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