Over the weekend, one of the most powerful members of Australia's federal parliament, Peter Dutton, decided to fall back on the classic "I'd like to blame video games" trope during an interview, claiming one of the big issues with toxic masculinity in young men today is the lessons they learned from Grand Theft Auto.
Now, on one level I would agree with his assessment that 13-year-olds playing GTA is a problem situation. I'm a big advocate for parents doing the hard work of telling their kids they can't have inappropriately adult-oriented games when they're too young.
But, of course, this isn't what this statement was about at all.
Dutton was desperately deflecting from a massive issue of the way all too many of his male colleagues in federal parliament have been disgusting pieces of shit toward women inside and outside the 'Canberra bubble' and the idea that his party should be doing something real about it after ignoring it forever – and especially trying to avoid doing anything real about the issues that have been boiling over during the past six weeks.
Peter Dutton himself is one of the most toxic political operators we've seen in our federal parliament. So the idea that he's spotlighting Grand Theft Auto as a bad example for our kids seemed like a great excuse to point out some of the actual, real-world things that Peter Dutton has done to set the worst possible example to future generations.
So, to honour the Honourable Member for Dickson, here's five times Peter Dutton did things in the real world that would make a scriptwriter for Grand Theft Auto blush at the pantomime racist and misogynistic villainy of it all.
"Water lapping at your door"
In 2015, Dutton was caught on a hot mic making racist comments about why a meeting was running late. Thinking he was having a quiet chat with Tony Abbott, he thought it was hilarious to suggest things ran late on the regular on a recent trip to Papua New Guinea because the country would soon be swallowed up by rising sea levels due to climate change. "Time doesn't mean anything when you're about to have water lapping at your door." So funny, right? Hilarious. Great example for those kids he's so worried about.
Biloela kids are "anchor babies"
Never forget Dutton is part of a core group of Coalition politicians who think it is perfectly reasonable that we are currently holding one single family of four in detention on Christmas Island while the government keeps trying to kick the family out of Australia. It's been three years since they were sent there with their two Australian-born children. So while having a private chat with just his good mate Ray Hadley and a few many thousands of talkback radio listeners about 18 months after his department had sent the family to Christmas Island, Dutton decided to claim these two Australian kids were "anchor babies". Yeah, real solid humanitarian here. Another top shelf example for Aussie kids – you know, like Kopika and Tharunicaa Murugappan.
Boycotted the apology to The Stolen Generation
This one doesn't take much explaining. When Labor returned to power in 2007 and Rudd made a symbolic (if minimally helpful) formal apology to indigenous victims of the horrific policies that led to the Stolen Generation, Peter Dutton was one of six politicians (all Liberal) who refused to turn up to the apology in Parliament. Wouldn't even turn up.
Amputee opponent used disability as "an excuse"
Ali France challenged Peter Dutton at the last election to try to knock him out of politics after 18 years of his quality brand of toxic white dude-ry. She didn't succeed, but during the campaign an issue arose where France – an amputee after losing a leg after being pinned to a wall in a shopping centre carpark – had not been able to find a suitable wheelchair-accessible home in the electorate so her move had been delayed. Dutton, ever the charitable and empathetic fellow, acted like a cartoon landlord and declared that she was using her disability as an excuse. France pointed out that Dutton himself owned one home in Dickson and a further eight homes outside the electorate. Maybe we should call that his anchor house.
"Mad fucking witch"
Like a potty mouthed shouty man found in many a GTA storyline, Dutton decided he wanted to show some support to one of his buddies who had just been rinsed by News Corp's political editor Samantha Maiden (you know, because he'd acted inappropriately toward a public servant in a bar in Hong Kong – lad stuff, nothing toxic here). So he sent him an SMS calling her a "mad fucking witch" – definitely nothing toxic there, mate. Anyway, turns out he's really shit at sending text messages because he accidentally got his contacts mixed up and sent the message not to Jamie Briggs but to Samantha Maiden herself.
But yes, sure. If only the kids would learn their respect for women from our national leaders and not from nasty videogames.
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