Peter Dutton

Yesterday’s Liberal leadership fiasco had Crikey staff jumping off the walls. As expected, the readers were right there with us; responding to Bernard Keane’s two takes on the subject and filling up our inbox to bursting. Here are few choice cuts.

On the perils of the Liberal leadership and the prospect of a PM Dutton 

Laurie Patton writes: When asked his primary political motivation, Neville Wran used to say “I just like beating Liberals”. This presented something of a problem when it came to the prospect of his friend Malcolm Turnbull one day becoming prime minister. “What are we going to do then, son?” he’d ask. Wran was worried Turnbull’s innate decency would see him embrace progressive policies that appealed to Labor voters. Sadly, or perhaps not, he didn’t live long enough to confront this dilemma. Witnessing the Coalition’s internal machinations over recent days brings to mind another comment that routinely ended such discussions: “He might not be there long enough to do too much damage, son”.

Richard Davoren writes: These detention centres are the greatest blight on our country and our reputation. They make one ashamed to be Australian. Yet, unbelievably, the commandant of this horror is being touted as potentially our next Australian Prime Minister. I heard one correspondent say, “if Dutton becomes PM then I am off to New Zealand”. I can only hope that there is room in NZ for the rest of us.

Nudie Fish writes: The speech I heard from Shorten was pretty devastating. I am neither a ALP member nor supporter but let’s give the bloke his due. I agree, on occasion Bill can get a bit pedestrian, and can stick too much on the zingers at door stop pressers, but yesterday he unfolded on Turnbull without repeating himself or any empty spaces. If you want flossy and vacuous oration try the British Parliament during a Brexit speech.

Justin Harding writes: The most breathtaking display of the Prime Minister’s weakness in all this was his request to Dutton that he stay on in cabinet after the vote. I mean, seriously? If you challenge the PM it means you have no confidence in him. If Turnbull was prepared to have a traitor in the cabinet room then he has lost all moral authority over the party.

Brian Francis writes: Whatever anticipated gains Dutton may achieve in the “deep north” of Queensland would likely be offset in Brisbane and the south east of the state. Furthermore, he is regarded poisonous in the southern states. Heartless,without scruples, Dutton is the nearest thing to Trump we have in Australian politics. God help us if he wins the Lodge, for only the almighty will be capable of controlling his excesses.

Elizabeth Meredith writes: How could 35 MPs even consider Peter Dutton as prime minister? Firstly, according to the Essential Research graph in William Bowe’s article, at any one time Turnbull is at least four times more popular than Dutton. What is Dutton’s suitability for the job? An unpopular Health Minister who cut hospital funding, and a harsh administrator of offshore detention, showing no ability to solve the problem of refugees’ futures. To those MPs who voted for him, do you think the average Australian would want a PM like this? One who is not even that popular in his own electorate, scraping in with a little over 1% margin at the last election?

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Peter Fray
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