Unsurprisingly, Crikey readers had a few thoughts on Home Affairs minister Peter Dutton’s role and legacy, after Bernard Keane asked whether he could be considered a threat to national security. Elsewhere, the debate around fixed term elections continued, and we were reminded of a notable absence from our list of politicians turned lobbyists.

On Peter Dutton

Stephanie Dowrick writes: Bernard Keane’s article is excellent. And very timely. Peter Dutton has not simply “risked” our national integrity and reputation — while failing to achieve “border security” — he’s already trashed both. That he has been enabled in this by his LNP colleagues — none of whom would speak out publicly — reflects abysmally on this entire Government in all its pathetic phases. Those colleagues allowed him to turn men, women and children into hostages to feed those “security” fictions. Of the last 100 children removed from Nauru, Home Affairs fought through the courts the medical removal of 84 of them. 

And then there are the multiple financial scandals around on- and off-shore detention centres: the mates enriched, the billions spent, though never on the locals responsible for the detention centres, and absolutely not on those detained. What a vastly profitable “business” it’s turned out to be. Will Dutton (and some of his colleagues, and certainly his “mates”) eventually be adequately audited, investigated, challenged? Maybe not. The Murdoch empire will defend him unceasingly. But if there is any justice in the world, he will lose power and his seat as from May, and we will have some chance to reconsider what kind of nation we actually want to be.

Bill Barnes writes: What Malcolm Turnbull is saying is correct, of course, but isn’t there just the teeniest (actually a huge) lack of credibility in Turnbull’s comments?  If this had happened when Turnbull was Prime Minister he’d be spouting much the same BS as Morrison is now

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On politicians turned lobbyists

Nic Maclellan writes:  Concerning politicians turned lobbyists: you failed to mention Kim Beazley, former leader of the ALP and Australian Ambassador to the United States. Soon after finishing his term as ambassador, Beazley joined the board of Lockheed Martin Australia, the local subsidiary of the US manufacturer of armaments and nuclear weapons. All in the national interest, of course.

On fixed dates for the federal election

Don Wormald writes: Wayne Cusick wrote in yesterday’s Crikey that in the event of fixed term parliaments we would need a mechanism to dissolve the parliament in the event of a deadlock in the interim.  Fortunately, the framers of the Australian Constitution thought of that one — S.57 provides such a mechanism.  As the wording refers to the power of the governor-general to dissolve the parliament (rather than the governor-general-in-council) it is one of those so-called reserve powers.  The governor-general has quite a few such powers which makes the office the not-quite-so ceremonial office we think it is.