Peter Dutton wants you to delete that photo, but really we should just delete Peter Dutton
On Tuesday — this afternoon, at time of writing — Peter Dutton was captured in photograph being lit by some really sinister lighting. If a shot like that was included in a movie we’d think it was heavy-handed. Dutton’s social media team went into panic mode, trying to get the photo as removed as possible from the internet. Obviously that didn’t happen, and people were sharing it all over the place because it’s hilarious that we’ve finally got a photo that gives us a peek at that dastardly, awful man’s true nature.
That, by the way, is the reason it’s a viral image. A similar image of, say, Malala, might go viral too, because it’d be a humorous juxtaposition of someone who is generally agreed to be a good person lit up as though they’re not. Petter Dutton isn’t a good person; everyone knows it. He’s really bad! He’s a really, really bad person.
That same day, Peter Dutton also held a press conference. He said the following:
“Advocates should reflect on their messages of false hope and misleading portrayal of the situation in Nauru. While some may be encouraged by messages of false hope and some may resort to extreme action, this Government will not be dissuaded from its stated border protection policies.”
He’s literally trying to demonise hope. Like, literally literally, not the kind of literally that means figuratively. He’s just textbook, straight-up, fully doing it. He’s saying that giving hope to desperate people is bad. The bottom-lit photo is heavy-handed imagery; this quote is dialogue that would be unrealistic outside of Lord of the Rings.
Also, it bears noting, the desperate people he mentions are desperate because of a situation he put them in. He didn’t start that fire, of course. The Labor Party stacked the logs on the kindling and his predecessor Scott Morrison made sure it was burning healthily. But he’s certainly been stoking the flames enthusiastically and so far it’s reduced two innocent people to ashes.
When asked to reflect upon why people might self-harm, Dutton suggested that it might be out of frustration that they paid thousands of dollars to people smugglers but didn’t get their money’s worth. “I can understand that,” he said, perhaps remembering a time he remodelled his kitchen only to find out one of the cabinet doors clunked too loudly when it closed. He didn’t resort to self-harm, then, obviously, but he’s the minister for immigration; he’s got a healthy outlet for those destructive tendencies.
Here, I pull you in close for a whisper in case my subtext was too sub: his outlet is ensuring thousands of people are kept in conditions so miserable that they kill themselves.
He’s an awful, despicable man, and I feel that it’s a moral duty of anyone with inklings of righteousness to declare him an enemy. I do agree with him on one thing, though, and that is people should stop sharing that damn photo. People should stop mocking his weird potato head. There are good people in the world who are poorly lit sometimes; there are decent folk with potato heads. The visuals are a distraction from the issue, and the issue is our minister for immigration is a man entirely devoid of any compassion or decency. It’s deplorable that he is in power; his treatment of asylum seekers is reprehensible. It’s a shame that he was born at all.
For those of you feeling like that last sentence went a little too far: look. He’s alive, and that’s more than you can say of some of his victims.