18 things you don’t know – or have forgotten – about Peter Dutton


Photo contributed

Dickson MP Peter Dutton has been forced to apologise to his Labor opponent

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has had an 18-year-career in federal politics. So, before the election, here are 18 things voters may not know – or remember – about him.

1. At the 1989 Queensland election, a 19-year-old Mr Dutton was the Liberal candidate for the safe Labor seat of Lytton. He spent so much time campaigning he failed his first year of university.

2. He was ridiculed on Twitter last year for claiming people in Melbourne were “scared to go outside at night to restaurants” due to “African gang violence”.

3. He believes the Medevac Bill will displace Australians from medical services.

4. He was a police officer for nine years before he joined politics, serving in the drug squad, sex offenders’ squad and National Crime Authority.

5. In 2014, Mr Dutton pushed for a child sex offender register that would list the name, age, location and photograph of known child sex offenders in Australia and would be available to the public. The Prime Minister at the time, Tony Abbott, rejected the idea.

6. “Time doesn’t mean anything when you’re about to have water lapping at your door,” Mr Dutton joked to Mr Abbott in 2015. Mr Dutton was caught saying this on a three-metre boom mic above his head while waiting with Mr Abbott and Scott Morrison for Pacific Island leaders to arrive for a meeting about Syrian refugees.

7. The Home Affairs department spent more than $450,000 on wining and dining last year as well as spending $100,000 on office upgrades.

8. Mr Dutton abstained from supporting Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s Apology to the Stolen Generations in 2008. He was the only Opposition frontbencher to abstain.

9. He graduated with a business degree from the Queensland University of Technology in 1999.

10. He owns a dog, a cat, two cows and some chooks. He has a passion for rose bushes.

11. He’s essentially the reason Mr Morrison is our 30th Prime Minister. Mr Dutton challenged then-PM Malcolm Turnbull for his position and was defeated. In a second challenge, Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop and Treasurer Mr Morrison also nominated for the top job after Mr Turnbull resigned. In the end Mr Morrison defeated Mr Dutton.

12. He says he only challenged Mr Turnbull for his position in 2018 to keep Labor leader Bill Shorten from becoming Prime Minister.

13. Mr Dutton has three children: Tom and Harry with wife Kirilly and daughter Rebecca with his previous wife.

14. Mr Dutton led the push in Cabinet for there to be a non-compulsory, non-binding postal survey on marriage equality in 2017.

15. He voted against marriage equality in the 2017 postal survey but voted for the legislation in Parliament after a majority of Australians voted Yes.

16. As Immigration Minister in 2018, he was found to have allowed two European tourists to enter the country even though Border Force officers deemed they were at high risk of working in breach of their tourist visas. Earlier that year he warned Australia against showing compassion towards refugees.

17. When he was Health Minister in 2014, he tried to add a $7 fee to visit GPs but the Government later dumped the idea. After a year of being in the health portfolio, he was voted the worst Health Minister in 35 years by readers of the Australian Doctor.

18. Mr Dutton bought his first home when he was 18.