Peter Dutton (Image: AAP/Mick Tsikas)

Crikey’s political editor Bernard Keane really lit the fuse when he suggested that Peter Dutton was a better option for prime minister than Scott Morrison. It took mere moments for the emails to start flooding in…

Tom McDade writes: Are you insane???

Margery Clark writes: I have been thinking along the same lines! I originally thought Dutton would have been better as he was more gross than Morrison but this idea has become more reinforced as time goes on. I am now thinking of emailing Dutton and suggesting it to him.

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Richard Hanlon writes: I could not, even under the influence of mind-numbing liquor, be persuaded that Peter Dutton should be allowed any greater input on Australia’s future. With such memorable quotes as “anchor babies” in reference to asylum seekers, “putting out the trash” in reference to Kiwi deportations, and the worst of all, in my opinion, referring to Christian Porter as “a class act”. There’s absolutely no depth or honour in the present Morrison government and the solution to that is a change of the guard — but is Labor a fair-dinkum alternative? There’s not much charisma or talent there either. God give us strength.

Dave Kelly writes: By all means. Have Peter as PM. At least we might get some coherent action on COVID.
Then, at the next election, we will be so freaked out by the man we might even elect a socially responsible government.

Derry Hogue writes: Very droll Bernard Keane. How about the Beetrooter or the night Porter?

Trevor Jones writes: Dire straits are no reason for seeking someone with the heartless, callous, deceitful and power-seeking nature of Peter Dutton. Bernard, I don’t want a PM who can reassure me, I don’t care if I have a PM I have never heard of, I don’t care if the PM doesn’t have “cut-through”. I want a PM who is not seeking personal power or glory, one who will lead with character, integrity and compassion. Simply because none such may exist within the LNP is no reason to suggest Peter Dutton. Far better to suggest someone in the LNP who no one knows anything about, at least then there may be a chance of improvement (but unlikely). Suggesting Peter Dutton is a complete surrender to the sickening party politics we are subjected to by mainstream media. Surely you can do better.

Susie Dunn writes: Bernard, I’m afraid you need the proverbial cup of tea and a good lie down! Your job is testing and chaotic – please take a break!

Stephen Davies writes: Peter Dutton is, objectively, a terrible person and a politician who is firmly rooted in his exploitation of the worst aspects of Australia’s psyche. That it’s hard to imagine him not doing a much better job as PM than the smirk with an idiot hanging off it we currently have occupying the big chair is about the saddest indictment of current Australian politics I can think of.

Petrina Slaytor writes: Dutton may be able to communicate clearly, but what he communicates is so awful, so dictatorial, so lacking in compassion that he would be the last person I would want for PM. At least Frydenberg has an education rather more advanced than Dutton.

Robert Luton writes: Bernard, whilst I believe Dutton is standing by the bowser to ensure the self-immolation of Morrison is accomplished, I do not share your enthusiasm for his ascendency to the top job … Putting aside the visceral social media noise directed at Dutton, he is a product of “one of the most racist, xenophobic and sexist police forces in the country” (The Age)

Anne Applebaum’s compelling book, Twilight of Democracy, is instructive of the rise of despotic rulers around the world, the lure of nationalism and autocracy and how they use conspiracy theory, political polarisation, social media, and even nostalgia to change their societies. Dutton may not have the wider appeal of such rulers, but he nonetheless possesses the characteristics. We need clarity, but more than anything else we need respect, compassion, understanding and leadership. Good luck finding it anywhere within the LNP.

Stephen Kimber writes: Do I agree that Mr Peter Dutton, current defence minister and ex-copper, is the best of a bad lot for potential PM in a Lib-Nat led recovery, should the electorate reelect this sordid lot?… perhaps. Do I want that to happen? God forbid. It would in fact be a potato blight.

Lorraine Bates writes: Your suggestion that Dutton would make a better PM is horrendous! We would be a police state within months! Let’s just leave Morrison to keeping shooting himself in the foot until the election when, hopefully, the LNP will be gone. Don’t even think it, Crikey!

Marcus Phillips writes: While your article makes the case for Dutton out of a poor field of candidates, it should not be overlooked that this bloke remains a leading foot soldier of the far right of the Liberal Party and, as such, will simply reinforce the mindless dogma of these self-serving toe rags.

Diana Saad writes: What a horrid thought! Replacing a useless do-nothing PM with a one-dimensional character who has dictatorial tendencies just to stand up to the premiers? If that’s the only answer that exists for Australia, we’re even more stuffed than I thought we were.

Terry Mills writes: Spud as prime minister is a Labor Party wet-dream. Dutton has shown not only that he is incompetent but is probably the laziest minister in this decidedly dodgy cabinet. Can we ever forget his one and only initiative while immigration minister in giving the Hun Sen government in Cambodia $55.5 million to take 400 asylum seekers and refugees from Nauru: only two actually went and they seem to have moved on … Spud couldn’t even count the numbers when he made his bid to topple Turnbull and Scott “Bradbury” Morrison skated through the middle and we’ve been left with him.

Penny Hackett writes: A few months ago I’d have said that if the answer is Peter Dutton, the question doesn’t need to be asked. At least he takes definitive positions, unlike our shape-shifting prime minister who is fuelling anxiety and does not inspire confidence.

Lesley Brydon writes: I normally don’t disagree with Bernard Keane, but he’s lost me today, calling on Dutton to replace the PM. Let’s just call a halt to all this embarrassment and plan for a change of government. Can you please run a campaign to have Tanya Plibersek step up and give us some hope for the future?

Peter Best writes: Dutton might make the trains run on time but is that a good enough reason to choose as prime minister an intellectually feeble boofhead whose lust for power can only be achieved through awfulness? Has Constable Plod ever let slip a hint of warmth or humanity in a careless moment? We should remember what happened in Ireland when they came to rely on one kind of potato.

See how power works in this country.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief
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