Dutton outlines new plan


Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Defence Minister Peter Dutton have outlined plans to deploy Defence Forces personnel to boost COVID-19 pandemic response efforts in the aged care sector.

The news conference held in the Prime Minister’s courtyard at Parliament House in Canberra was the first time the two men had fronted a news conference together since former Labor Party foreign minister Bob Carr alleged it was Mr Dutton who sent derogatory text message about Mr Morrison to former NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian.

Mr Morrison started the news conference by apologising for Mr Dutton’s absence, but was forced to stop by the noise of an Australian Army Jeep arriving in the courtyard with the Defence Minister standing at attention in its passenger seat.

Mr Dutton alighted from the vehicle before it had stopped moving and marched rigidly to the lectern wearing what reporters observed to be a home-made military uniform. (main picture)

The Defence Minister waited patiently while Mr Morrison finished his remarks detailing the reasons for the deployment of troops to nursing homes before handing over to Mr Dutton.

The Defence Minister began by tapping a swagger stick on the top of the lectern and declaring he would not be entertaining any references by reporters to the allegations by Bob Carr.

He then began his remarks by saying: “I have personally supervised the development and will also supervise the implementation of what I have dubbed the seniors in confinement operation.”

The Defence Minister then explained the anticipated duration of the troop deployment.

“And I look forward to the day we complete SICO,” Mr Dutton said while fixing a stare on Mr Morrison.

The Defence Minister outlined in detail the various stages of the military deployment which he said would include looking after aged care residents’ physical as well as mental wellbeing.

Mr Dutton again fixed his eyes on the Prime Minister while saying: “As part of this work we will conduct a complete psycho…. analysis of residents.”

As reporters began firing questions at the two men, Mr Dutton held up his hand to silence them before saying he had to leave immediately.

 “I have a lot of work to do besides this, you know,” he barked at media representatives. “A pre-election war with China, or Russia, won’t start itself you know.”

Mr Dutton then resumed his standing position in the Jeep which roared out of the courtyard.