Dutton plans new approach

Peter Dutton says he is ready to insist on a new approach to meetings of federal Liberal Party MPs if, as expected, he is endorsed as party leader today.

“The way I want to see our party-room meetings operate is the way I ran staff meetings in all of my previous ministerial offices,” he explained.

“It’s another aspect of me that most people don’t know about, but I have always placed a lot of emphasis on inclusiveness, respect, and sensitivity to the views of others.

“At the start of my staff meetings I insisted that we all hold hands (main picture) and together acknowledge the traditional First Nations’ owners of the land on which we were meeting.

“As a minister who travelled extensively I also insisted that I and all my staff should memorise and be able to recall and recite the names of local First Nations wherever we happened to be in Australia so that we could pay proper respect.

“I also asked all those attending my staff meetings to declare what pronoun they wished to be referred to and, as each responded, I would hand them a sprig of lavender I had brought in from my garden at home. It’s such a peaceful and calming plant.

“We then worked through the listed agenda items during which time I insisted on incense candles and an essential oil burner being lit to aid our thought processes.

“I also introduced the concept of the speaking stick, which meant nobody around the meeting table including me could speak without holding the stick. That meant fewer interruptions and a more civil and productive discourse.”

Mr Dutton said his preferred meeting procedure was not foolproof and on occasions voices were raised at his staff meetings.

“But whenever that happened I insisted that everyone pause, close their eyes, and then in a soft and soothing voice I’d ask them all to meditate for a full minute on what had just gone wrong.

“At the end of the minute I would initiate a group hug and we’d quietly resume our meeting.

“All of these simple but effective meeting procedures worked wonders in my office and I’m sure my Liberal Party colleagues will embrace them as we move forward in the new term of parliament.”

Mr Dutton said he had explained his preferred meeting procedures to current National Party leader Barnaby Joyce who had enthusiastically committed to implementing them in his own party room if he retained his leadership position.