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TDA sits down with Opposition Leader Peter Dutton

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Tom Crowley
Peter Dutton, thank you for speaking to The Daily Aus. The Coalition’s got some trouble attracting young voters. What do you think matters to young people and why do they feel that they’re not getting that from you?

Peter Dutton
I think a few things. I think we’ve allowed the Liberal Party to be defined by our opponents as opposed to making it very clear as to who we are. I mean, we stand for aspiration, we stand for rewarding effort and for young people as a particular focus at a different stage in life maybe than right now on home ownership.

Peter Dutton
And how are you going to balance the budget once kids come along? How you can save money for retirement? I mean, they’re all things that we believe in supporting people on that journey and helping them through those different stages of life. So I think it’s important for us to recognise what we did on the environment when we were in government.

Peter Dutton
The incentivising of renewables, we’ve got probably the biggest take up on a per capita basis of solar anywhere in the world. And that aspiration, I think, is a really important piece to talk about, because parents want the best for their children. You want the best for your children, and it’s how we can give people the best start in life.

Peter Dutton
When I left school, I mean, unemployment was very high. There were all these signs all over Closedown shops, and it was hard to get work. And we’ve been in a different environment for some time. But hopefully we can demonstrate to people that the true value of the Liberal Party is being able to manage the economy well so that you can do well in your own life.

Peter Dutton
And also, I mean, the final point is, if the government’s doing well and the economy is being run well, then you can afford to put money into all sorts of projects, social projects, environmental projects that otherwise couldn’t be funded.

Tom Crowley
You mentioned the climate there briefly. It’s obviously an issue that is front of mind for a lot of young people since the election. The Coalition’s opposed Labor’s climate target and is opposing another Labor climate policy now. But looking forward, what’s your climate policy?

Peter Dutton
Well, we’re in favour of the targets. We’re against the legislation of it and there are a few reasons for that. But our commitment is to make sure that we can reduce emissions in a credible way. And I’d love to say that the battery that we have at the moment, the technology is more advanced than it is, but it’s not.

Peter Dutton
So we have to be careful about turning the old system off before the new system starts. And all of us, you don’t have to be young to want to see a reduction in emissions or a responsible climate change policy. I want to have a credible pathway to get there. And I think part of the problem that the Labor Party has at the moment is that they talk a big game, but I’m just not sure that they’re going to achieve what it is they’re projecting.

Peter Dutton
So how do we get there credibly? We’ve started a conversation in relation to nuclear power, for example, many other countries. Justin Trudeau in Canada is a huge advocate of the small modular reactor. President Macron in France, Greta Thunberg now is talking about the value of nuclear, the new small modular reactors, not big plants, but the beauty is that they have zero emissions and they can firm up renewables coming into the system.

Peter Dutton
So that conversation is something I think as a country we have to have. We already deal with nuclear waste from nuclear medicine. We have one of the most stable environments in the world. We export uranium now. Bob Hawke was strongly in favour of a nuclear industry. John Howard strongly in favour of a nuclear industry. And I think we have to be mature enough to have that conversation because that is one way that we can credibly and quickly reduce our emissions and contribute to a global effort.

Tom Crowley
A lot of the experts on nuclear point to the fact that it’ll take a long time to come on line and it’s unlikely in the Australian context to account for all of our needs. Do you accept that a lot of the volatility we have, the energy market at the moment is, as some experts say, because of underfunding in renewables over a period of time.

Peter Dutton
I think the difficulty at the moment and why people are seeing a big increase in their power bills is that you’ve still got to pay for the firming up. So again, if the technology meant that the solar panels went overnight time and provided energy, fantastic. But that’s not the technology. The technology was solar so that you can run it during the day.

Peter Dutton
Obviously, you can store some power. I mean, we’re just looking at a battery system at home at the moment and it’s still an expensive technology. There’s some capacity to store, but not enough. And wind can firm up, hydrogen firm up. There’s a lot of talk about hydrogen, but it’s a highly volatile energy source. So I just think in a sense, you want to be agnostic about it, because if the achievement is to reduce emissions and to have stability within the energy market as well, then you have to weigh up all of this.

Peter Dutton
Now, just in terms of the timeline, if you look at Justin Trudeau and he’s not he’s not a, you know, right wing prime minister, I mean, he’s a liberal left wing prime minister and strongly embraces nuclear power in the small modular reactor. I don’t support the establishment of Big nuclear facilities here at all. I’m opposed to it. But for the small modular reactors, we can have them essentially replacing brownfield sites now.

Peter Dutton
So you can turn coal off and put the small modular reactors in and it’s essentially a plug and play. You can use the existing distribution networks. At the moment, the government is talking about 28,000 kilometres of new poles and wires going through national parks, through farming land, through communities that don’t want the poles and wires on their landscape.

Peter Dutton
And you can understand that. So if you can use the existing distribution network, you can use a technology that’s proven and you can have the small modular reactors in place by 2030, that’s a pretty significant outcome. And as I say, I think it’s one that we should be open minded to and at least have the conversation on. But we can’t pretend that we don’t need to firm up, which is why, as Chris Bowen said, we need more gas in the system.

Peter Dutton
And at the moment companies are being incentivised by the Federal Government to extend and to sweat out some of the coal assets because they’re worried that you can’t firm up sufficiently to keep the renewables backed up in the system. And so it’s a complex debate, but I think it’s one that’s really worth having.

Tom Crowley
I want to move on to the cost of living, which is something else where you’ve been quite critical of the Government’s management and said prices are going up. But if you were the Prime Minister, what would you be doing to stop prices from dying?

Peter Dutton
Well, I think if you look at the industrial relations system, everybody wants a system where people are paid fairly and get proper remuneration for their work. But if you’ve got a system which is inflationary and it’s not just in the area of industrial relations but some of the policies, policy decisions that they’re making otherwise and that they made in the October budget, they’re fueling inflation.

Peter Dutton
And so the Reserve Bank governor gets all the blame, but he has to deal with the economic settings that are a result of the government’s policies. And at the time when he’s trying to increase interest rates to get above inflation, the government’s driving inflation further. And it’s no mistake that during the Coalition’s time in government, in nine years out of 100 meetings of the Reserve Bank, they increased interest rates on one occasion.

Peter Dutton
Labor’s been in power. They’ve had eight meetings, they’ve increased interest rates eight times. But you go back to the Keating years as well and compare that to the Howard Times. Again, much higher interest rates in Labor’s time.

Tom Crowley
But then this is I mean the interest rates at the moment are a global issue and the interest rates began to rise under the Coalition. It’s not a problem at the moment that’s unique to Australia. And so I guess when you’ve talked about wages, yeah, but, but in terms of positive steps that the government could be taking, you’ve been very critical about prices going up under Labor.

Tom Crowley
What specifically would you do?

Peter Dutton
Well, again, the government can’t fuel the cost of living pressures.

Tom Crowley
So I’m not so much asking you about the government. I’m asking about what positive steps that you would see.

Peter Dutton
Well, I suppose the point I’m making is that you don’t want to be fueling inflation if you’re in government. So the decisions that you’re making, if you’re in government, need to have that in mind. And I think the Reserve Bank governor has made this point about the spending that Labor is undertaking at the moment in a number of programs.

Peter Dutton
And so if they’re increasing spending and they’re putting more money into the economy, that is driving up inflation. So you’re right to point out that there are global factors, but there are always global factors. There was the avian bird flu. There was the collapse of Ansett. If you go back over the last 20 or 30 years, there have been different economic circumstances, both domestic and international, that Liberal and Labor governments have had to deal with.

Peter Dutton
But interest rates have always been higher under Labor governments over the last 30 or 40 years, not just because of the international factors which always exist. The war in the Middle East, the situation in Asia where there was a financial collapse, there have been all sorts of international factors. And don’t forget that the Prime Minister promised 97 occasions, including 27 occasions after Ukraine had been invited by Russia.

Peter Dutton
He promised that he would deliver a $275 cut to your power bill. He’s never mentioned that figure since the election and he knew of all those international factors and knowing that Russia was already into Ukraine and knowing that that would be a pressure on cost of living and inflation here in Australia, oil prices and gas prices, he still made that commitment knowing that he couldn’t deliver it.

Tom Crowley
But again, I mean, you mentioned industrial relations there and talking there about wages. You know, the story over the last decade in Australia has been that wages have not kept up with prices, which is part of the reason why this current cost of living crunch is so difficult for people. Is the implication of what you’re saying on wages there that you believe that wages need to stay low now because of inflation?

Peter Dutton
No, but I mean, to go back to the point that you were making before, I mean, you made the point that interest rates started to go up because of international factors. And I suppose that the adjunct to that, the point you’re making otherwise is that inflation had been low before that remained low. And therefore the independent Fair Work Commission who sets wages in this country.

Peter Dutton
It was created by Julia Gillard when she was in government and we used that model when we were in government. No changes made to it. They made the recommendations about wages growth and wages growth is not high when inflation is low and that’s below inflation. Well, the point that you make is that inflation is higher now than it was two or three years ago.

Peter Dutton
Fair point. But as a result, wages don’t go up as quickly when inflation is low and the government relies on Fair Work, the independent arbiter, if you like, and this government’s taken the advice of Fair Work as well. So there’s a continuation, but they haven’t changed the arrangement with Fair Work Independence and they take the advice.

Tom Crowley
That the Government expressed the view that 5% minimum wage increase was appropriate and the Coalition did not express that view well.

Peter Dutton
They expressed it in a higher inflationary environment, which as you point out, has really taken off under Labor and inflation is higher, but interest rates are higher as a result. And as the Reserve Bank governors pointed out, and as the Treasurer said, you don’t want to get yourself into a situation where wages go up by 5%, inflation goes up, interest rates go up as a result because you’re getting more in you pay packet, you end up paying more to the bank at the end of each month or each fortnight when you pay your mortgage or your rent because rates go up as a result of increased interest rates as well.

Tom Crowley
Well, on that issue of rent, there are a lot of renters who are struggling under stress at the moment. Is there more that the government can be doing specifically?

Peter Dutton
Well, we went to the last election with a pretty strong policy which the Labor Party rejected, but allowing people, young people, for their first home purchase to access their superannuation. Now that takes pressure off the rental market. If you’re pulling people into home ownership, there’s obviously a lot of rental assistance that’s provided both by the federal and state government.

Peter Dutton
But social housing is a responsibility of the state government and this support that they provide the federal government, Liberal or Labor doesn’t give offsets, if you like, or pay for rental accommodation for young people or for all people. Social housing.

Tom Crowley
The Federal Government is funding social housing.

Peter Dutton
Well, we provide a contribution to the State government. But as you know, I mean there are three levels of government in our country. There are lots of things that the federal government does that the states don’t pay for, and state governments have their own responsibility. So it’s right that the federal government contributes. And during our time, the investment into social housing went up very significantly.

Peter Dutton
But how do you help people get off sort of the rental cycle and and help them incentivize them to get into their own home, which is, again, the aspiration of many young people and also for older women, there’s a huge issue with women who separate life later in life, just can’t reestablish their lives. And so the idea of allowing people to access their own money that they’ve worked hard for and put into their own super account, allows them to access that to buy a first home or to buy a home later in life.

Peter Dutton
In those circumstances, I think that I mean, it provides dignity. It provides a financial windfall for them. And what we said was that when you sell a house and you have a capital growth or you have a profit in the house, then that proportion that you draw out of your superannuation should go back in because you want it to compound by the time you retire and joy, the benefit of that in retirement.

Tom Crowley
Now later this year there’s going to be a referendum on an Indigenous Voice to Parliament. Have you made a decision yet? Do you support a Voice? Well, I.

Peter Dutton
Certainly I certainly support the Voice of Indigenous people and we went to the last election with that policy, concentrating.

Tom Crowley
In the Constitution.

Peter Dutton
In legislation. I support a Voice in legislation. There’s no question about that. The question is whether or not the government’s proposed words in the Constitution deliver the practical outcome that we want for Indigenous Australians. And when I was moved around the country, we’ve been in Leonora in Labor to and way to Indigenous communities. We’re up in East Arnhem Land last week.

Peter Dutton
There are a lot of Indigenous leaders who are very nervous about what the Government’s proposing, wanting the detail. Frank Brennan You would have seen it came out and he’s a strong advocate for the Yes case, is very concerned about the words that the Prime Minister’s put forward and the Prime Minister himself has said that he’s open to changes. So we haven’t yet seen the final form of what the Government’s going to propose.

Peter Dutton
And what we’ve said is, I think, reflective of what millions of Australians are thinking, that is that we want the details so that we know even if we’re instinctively in support of the Voice, how it’s going to work and how it’s going to improve the outcome.

Tom Crowley
As you say, it is something that will be legislated, that you’ll have the opportunity to debate in Parliament and that you could change in government in future if you wanted to. The proposed wording for the Constitution does not make any specifications about the Voice. So why is that an issue that matters as far as enshrining it in the Constitution?

Peter Dutton
I talked to Thomas. It’s a huge issue because it’s open to the interpretation of the courts and the High Court can interpret a form of words in a way that you and I can’t.

Tom Crowley
But a number of high court justices and former high court justices have made assurances that there’s no particular issue with that wording. What specifically is the concern?

Peter Dutton
Well, there are high court justices who have made the opposite case as well. And this is this is why people like Frank Brennan, who’s an adjunct professor, I think in law and many others, and it’s why the prime minister himself has said that, you know, the crafting of the words is incredibly important and a different set of words can deliver a very different outcome than what you thought would be the desired outcome.

Peter Dutton
So it’s I, I just think we’ve got to take a step back and look at the question, for example, of when the Prime Minister says the Voice will only be concerned with issues relating to Indigenous Australians now, I mean, do you think that that includes health and education? Of course. Does it include law and order and policies around those areas and communities?

Peter Dutton
Of course it does, but it’s actually a racist statement to say that that an indigenous person is impacted differently than a non-Indigenous person in relation to any area of public policy. Defence affects Indigenous people in exactly the same way as it does non-Indigenous people, and that’s been ruled out by the Prime Minister. But but he can’t rule it out.

Peter Dutton
So I think there are just questions that are reasonably asked. But do I want to hear from Indigenous Australians about how we can improve the situation? Absolutely. And at least Arnhem Land, where I was the other day and the flamboyant Gove, they have a 90% attendance rate of kids at school, they’ve got employment programs, they have a huge housing initiative and many of the problems that we see in other Indigenous communities don’t exist in some of those communities.

Peter Dutton
They’ve got a dialect which is basically the Falklands coming together and almost a government of a small government or a cabinet. I suppose that’s set up. They’re now in their situation. They don’t that they want their Voice to be heard and they want their Voice to dictate the local policy.

Tom Crowley
I mean, why hasn’t it been I mean, you know, you talk about tangible outcomes in communities. I mean, you’ve been around governments for a long time. You’ve been in governments that have failed to make any progress on closing the gap talk. That’s what’s significant progress. Why is government failing to hear these Voices and is that not exactly the kind of problem that a Voice is trying to solve?

Peter Dutton
Well, I think if you listen to some of the elders at the moment and again, I’ve sat down and spoken with women in indigenous communities, elders in those communities who want the detail of the Voice, because some of them think that it can work well, others believe it’ll be another bureaucracy.

Tom Crowley
But what’s been going I mean.

Peter Dutton
What is this.

Tom Crowley
Going to keep any government.

Peter Dutton
Saying? Well, look, I think that there’s been a huge failure for the last, you know, a couple hundred years. I mean, let’s be very frank about it. The situation for Indigenous Australians didn’t improve during Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard’s time in terms of closing the gap indicators. It didn’t include, it didn’t improve sufficiently during the Coalition’s period through the Howard Government, through the Morrison government, It hasn’t improved now.

Peter Dutton
Why not? Well, because of a few reasons. You’ve had lots of bodies set up with strong Indigenous Voices about what policies should be rolled out, and even with that it hasn’t improved. It’s a ridiculous statement to say that in the Rudd Government or the Gillard government or the Abbott government that Indigenous people didn’t have a say or a Voice in policy formulation.

Peter Dutton
Of course they did. There’s a lot of anger within Indigenous communities about the amount of money that’s poured in by Canberra and the states and in many cases local governments as well. And by the time it gets down to those communities, it’s on some accounts 30% or less. So there are layers and layers and layers of bureaucracy, both in an Indigenous corporation and non-Indigenous corporations where a lot of that money is soaked up before the services are provided on the ground there.

Peter Dutton
Will a Voice improve that or add another layer of bureaucracy? Well, that’s a reasonable question to ask and that’s why I hope the Prime Minister can provide that detail. And that’s the sort of detail that we’ve asked for. And it’s also the detail that the indigenous leaders are asking for in communities where their programs are working at the moment and they don’t want to be disrupted by a Voice coming out of Canberra or.

Tom Crowley
Inconsistent polls showing that a strong majority of Indigenous people support a.

Peter Dutton
Voice. No question. No question. But but, but there are Indigenous people who don’t, and their Voice is as important as any others within the community. And it’s not an insignificant Voice. And I just think where we’ve got a practical demonstration of lives being improved, the life expectancy improving, of infant mortality rates improving, employment numbers improving and education and attendance rates at school improving in Indigenous communities.

Peter Dutton
Why wouldn’t we learn from that example and why would we seek to disrupt it when they’re doing a really good job at the moment?

Tom Crowley
I want to pivot to mental health, which is a system that for years there have been warnings about cost and access barriers getting worse. How did the system get into such a state and what’s the way forward?

Peter Dutton
Well, there’s certainly been an increase in demand as a result of COVID. I know anecdotally, I mean, you speak to friends here in Victoria, which is probably the hardest hit state by lockdowns of, you know, their daughters or their sisters self-harming and mental health issues that were never present before COVID. Now there are all sorts of pressures, an online body image, all sorts of bullying.

Peter Dutton
I think the prevalence of violence in in, you know, a lot of content, even on TikTok or on YouTube, that people are consuming now. I think all of that has had a compounding impact on people’s mental health. I mean, we’re in a pretty strong economy or we have been up until now where unemployment’s been low. So a generation ago, high unemployment, homelessness were very significant factors in mental health where people can get a job, where there is more housing.

Peter Dutton
You know, I mean, all of these factors always play a role. But I think in terms of what’s fed in over the last couple of years, to your point, I think that has been a significant factor. And again, when we were in government, we put significant billions of dollars more into mental health. The government cut some of that back in the most recent budget.

Tom Crowley
And I mean, that was something that was due to be cut back under.

Peter Dutton
Well, it was due to be renewed. And that’s what happens with policies.

Tom Crowley
Policies aren’t an expiry date. It was a COVID measure that was due to it.

Peter Dutton
But it was due to be renewed. I mean, there are many government programs that don’t go into perpetuity.

Tom Crowley
They have it’s clearly a much broader issue in terms of access to the system, that the system’s not providing people enough access. Yeah, there’s.

Peter Dutton
No question about that. I mean, if you look at what we did in headspace, I mean, we expanded our headspace dramatically. You speak to Pat got Pat McGorry, who’s, you know, a world leading expert clinician who was involved in the establishment of that program. I mean, he talks about acute care needs. The complete inadequacy at emergency departments is the sort of the interface for young people when they’re coming in who may have self-harmed or had, you know, difficulties otherwise in relation to relationship breakdowns, etc..

Peter Dutton
So I don’t think there’s a lack of effort or desire from anyone, frankly, on either side of politics. I think it’s above that issue. It’s a question of how, again, you can get the significant investment into the hands of the providers and the doctors and nurses and stop spending the money on the bureaucracy and get people the care that they need.

Tom Crowley
A couple more topics I want to get to. Well, one is family violence, and that’s another one where governments, despite the best intentions, including all governments, have failed to really deliver tangible progress on that. What’s going to break that cycle?

Peter Dutton
Well, look, I think there’s you know, it’s I mean, we could spend all day talking about what I think is an incredibly important issue. I was a policeman a long time ago. I went to many domestic violence situations. And I can tell you, when you arrive at a home and you hear screams of help and, you know, push away into a home and find a woman on the ground covered in blood or a child injured or sexually assaulted, they’re horrific scenes and they stay with you forever.

Peter Dutton
And I’ve always had as frankly, my number one passion, the desire to see a reduction in that violence. Domestic violence is it is a complete life destroyer. Sexual violence against children means that it’s more difficult for predominantly young girls, but boys as well, to start relationships to, you know, in many cases just have recurring talk about mental health issues, you know, recurring thoughts of of that abuse and that violence.

Peter Dutton
As home affairs minister, I put $18 Million into the Australian Center to Counter Child Exploitation. So that stops kids from being abused in the first place, takes kids out of harmful situations. And you know, again, I think it comes back to the normalization of violence through many computer games. I think it comes down to how people are educating, particularly their boys when they’re young and the circumstances, the conversations that they’re hearing within their own home and within the workplace as they get older.

Peter Dutton
I think all of that is, you know, we still haven’t got the mix right. And so all of those messages are out there. They’re consistent, they’re being pushed. But it’ll take time. And sadly, you’d want to change it overnight. But I just don’t know if that’s possible.

Tom Crowley
Bipartisan policy for years has seen refugees and asylum seekers detained indefinitely and often in reports of really appalling conditions within those detention centres, including during your time as a responsible minister, I’ll ask you the same question that I asked the Prime Minister. Why does Australia treat people this way?

Peter Dutton
Well, we have one of the most generous migrant intakes in the world. On a per capita basis. We settle more people in our country than any other country.

Tom Crowley
But the international community consistently expresses concern about the way that people are treated inside Australia’s detention centres.

Peter Dutton
Well, the UNHCR High Commissioner at the time said to me when I met with him that we had the best, probably equal best with Canada resettlement program, but.

Tom Crowley
I’m talking about the conditions within detention centres where thousands of people have been detained indefinitely. Well.

Peter Dutton
Again, that that wasn’t during my time. To your point, I mean, the prime minister I don’t know whether he said that they made a mistake in allowing women and children drowning at sea and then set up tents for them on Christmas Island when we were in government. I was the minister responsible for getting every child out of detention, getting women out of detention, and I didn’t have a single person drown at sea on my watch, and I’m proud of that.

Peter Dutton
At the same time, we increased the numbers of Yazidi women, for example, who were being raped and slaughtered by ISIL in the Middle East. We’ve resettled those women in their thousands in our country, and now they’ve started a life they could never have imagined. We did the same with Syrians. We did the same with Iraqis, and many others.

Peter Dutton
And the policy that we have is that and now adopted by the government is that you want people to come in an orderly way, because if you allow the boats to restart, there are millions of people that would want to come to our country tomorrow. And if I thought that that was the way that they could get here, there’s no amount of resource you could put in to stop that or to to prevent the tragedy of people drowning at sea.

Peter Dutton
I’ve spoken to sailors and to members of the Australian Border Force who pulled half eaten bodies out of the water, including of children. Now, I didn’t have that on my watch. I didn’t allow it to restart and I will do everything to support Anthony Albanese to make sure that it doesn’t restart because that is a human tragedy. So in terms of the appalling situations, the tents and and the conditions that you speak of that, that was during Julia Gillard’s period in government and Kevin Rudd.

Peter Dutton
It was not during the period of the Coalition. I’m very proud that we got kids out of detention and stopped people going into detention in the first place. Okay.

Tom Crowley
Now the final topic that I want to come to is another thing that I asked the Prime Minister about, which is, you know, what do you see as the traits that are most important in a leader and how do you want people to view your leadership?

Peter Dutton
Well, I think you need stability first and foremost. You need people to see that you a steady hand, particularly in a time of crisis or a time of need when the nation needs its prime minister to stand up. I think people want that reassurance in their leader. They want to see experience that people have had a breadth of experience that they can bring to the table, because as Prime Minister, I’ve seen this in the leadership group, I’ve seen it in the National Security Committee, in the expenditure review committee, in Cabinet, etc. over many years.

Peter Dutton
You’re dealing with a broad range of issues every day. I always think the Prime Minister has 20 balls in the air each day. You’ve got to land 18 instinctively and sweat the two and not have 40 the next day. And I’ve seen some prime ministers where they just can’t deal with the pressure of that office. So being able to deal with that I think is important.

Peter Dutton
I think also a consistency around the commitments that you give and deliver on those. There’s no sense saying to the public that you will do one thing before the election and then breaking that trust after the election. You need to maintain the trust that people have put in you and you need to accept where you’ve got it wrong and put your hand up on occasion to say that I’ve made a mistake, I should have done this instead of that.

Peter Dutton
And I think people are accepting of that. I think you need to show the human side that you’re a leader, that you’re a father, that you’ve had a diverse experience in life, and people need that to be able to relate to you as well.

Tom Crowley
Do you have negative perceptions to overcome there? I mean, opinion polls quite consistently paint a picture that a lot of people over many years that you’ve been in public life have accumulated quite a negative image of you. Why is that?

Peter Dutton
Well, look, you know, my mum says to me, you know, you should small more when you’re in front of a camera. Fair point. But if you’re the home affairs minister and you’re talking about the levels of sexual abuse against kids, if you’re talking as defense minister about an evacuation from a particular village or particular town or airport. They’re not issues that you can just sort of, you know, crack a joke over.

Tom Crowley
Well, I understand that, but it just doesn’t go beyond that. I mean, you recently apologised for boycotting the Apology to the Stolen Generations and acknowledge that that was something that you would do differently. Are there more things of that nature and actions that you take in public life that that faith and perception?

Peter Dutton
Again, I think I’ve had tough jobs and I think I’ve had to deal with those tough jobs. And I’ve done that in the best interests of our country, and that does require you to to have a look at. Normally, by the time that some of these cases get to the minister, they’re not they haven’t been dealt with at ten levels below.

Peter Dutton
You’re dealing with two dreadful proposals in front of you and you’re taking the least dreadful decision. Right. And if there was an easy decision, it was made before it got to you. And that’s often the case with leadership. You have to make decisions that that aren’t publicly palatable but are in our country’s best interests or in thousands of cases, frankly, where I was able to provide support as immigration minister to kids who are sick, to elderly women who had had a heart attack here, had their visas cancelled, people had run out of money.

Peter Dutton
I mean, you make all of those decisions in the background that would put you in a different life, but the people in a different light, but the people, the public never see those cases. Right. But yeah, that’s no doubt formed a view about who I am. But I think as leader now and I mean you see that the polling you refer to the people’s view of me I think has changed and softened just over the last 12 months.

Peter Dutton
And I think that’ll continue because people can see in a more holistic way who you are, your background. You know, the reason, given your life experiences, particularly around my time as a police officer, you know, people I think can put into perspective who they see you. And I think even in relation to the Voice, I think our position in relation to the Voice has been perfectly reasonable, reflective of the views of literally millions of Australians.

Peter Dutton
And I think people can reconsider you when you’re in this role as no doubt they’ve done with Anthony Albanese when he was Infrastructure Minister. People had a very different view of him than they do now. And that’s, I suppose the opportunity in this job is to show the whole product who you are and what you’ve done in your life and why that’s influenced you.

Peter Dutton
And, and I hope that people can, can reconsider on that basis.

Tom Crowley
Peter Dutton, thank you for your time.

Peter Dutton
Thanks, Tom.

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