Leadership tilt rumours soar


CANBERRA: For the second time in only days, Defence Minister Peter Dutton has pointedly declared a policy position at odds with Prime Minister Scott Morrison, inflaming rumours here that a leadership challenge is imminent.

Earlier this week, The Bug reported that Mr Dutton wanted a far more aggressive approach taken to the Novak Djokovic deportation saga, his minders briefing the Canberra media gallery that the minister thought Djokovic should have been towed out to sea off north-west Australia and sent on his way strapped to a dilapidated fishing boat.

And now, the former Immigration and Home Affairs Minister has clearly tried to differentiate himself from the PM on wider national security issues, loudly banging the drums of war by publicly warning Chinese President Xi Jingping to “stay the hell out of our South Pacific region”.

At a hastily arranged media call on the lawns of Parliament House yesterday afternoon (pictured above), Mr Dutton said he was appalled to hear that Xi Jingping was considering offering billions of dollars to repair tsunami-ravaged Tonga.

Analysts believe China could afford this from pre-Xmas sales across the Australian retail sector alone, and possible just at K-Mart.

“The South Pacific – indeed the whole bloody ocean – is Australia’s patch and when our neighbours have water lapping at their doors, it’s Australia they naturally turn to for compassionate help,” Mr Dutton said.

“We’re sending Tonga a million dollars and that should be plenty to repair all their belts and roads so my advice to Communist China and its aggressive leader: Stay. Out. Of. Our. Backyard.”

Before he spat out those final words in a menacing staccato, Mr Dutton had grabbed the F88 Austeyr assault rifle that had been slung over his right shoulder and casually mounted a short but deadly looking bayonet to it without even looking down.

Patting the rifle’s stock affectionately, Mr Dutton then added to the growing rumours of a leadership bid by moving onto general campaign topics well outside his ministerial responsibilities.

“The current Prime Minister has agreed with me that Australians want the federal government to bloody well get out of their lives,” Mr Dutton said.

“And for that reason, I’ll be arguing forcibly that a return of my … sorry… the LNP government will be assured by going to the polls with a promise of a major further flattening of income tax scales that will allow greedy … sorry … I mean average Australians to keep more of their own money in their own pockets!

“This will mean of course that the government won’t have the resources to do much at all – my preferred position – so it’s probably best that the government’s getting out of people’s lives anyway.

“It’s why Tonga should be bloody grateful it’s getting a million dollars from us while we’ve still got it to reluctantly give,” Mr Dutton concluded, before trusting his F88 Austeyr at the gathered media, giving them a taste of the Aussie steel Xi Jingping and his Red Army thugs could expect if they don’t behave.

He then shouted: “FREEDOM! FREEDOM!” several times before marching at quick time back inside Parliament House.