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The possible rise of Peter Dutton as PM is a horror that many can’t figure. However, it’s a reality that steps with the rest of the world.
To many, the sudden appearance of Peter Dutton as a potential Prime Minister is akin to the knife-wielding figure in the horror bathroom. He wasn’t there a minute ago, but zang, there he is, present to murder our dreams.
The possible ascension of the worst man in the world is one we can’t possibly bear. Not us. In the general eye, he’s a beast powered by hyperbole. He’s Auspol Voldemort. He’s the Australian Trump. He’s Bloody Peter. He doesn’t appear until we speak his name three times, and then we must cross ourselves until he goes away.
So here we are, presented with a man who is as dead to us and much as we are to him.
But we can’t say we didn’t see it happening.
A great Australian thing is pretending that we’re not subject to the horrors of the rest of the world. For the most part, it’s mostly true. We were barely scraped by the GFC, and the acts of terror visited on home soil have been kept to an unattached individual in Martin Place and a tropical holiday spot overseas. It didn’t happen here. Man Monis wasn’t actually Islamic State.
We are the lucky country in a greater sense, but here is very much like everywhere else. Conservatism is a breathing concept in 2018. The formative lesson of the whole Blair Cottrell/Sky News incident was that they put him on, as they believed there’d be an audience for it. There’s a denial in progressive minds, in that bested conservatism is not defeated conservatism. Marine Le Pen, Geert Wilders and Lauren Southern might have all tasted defeat in the public eye, but the forces that motivate them remain. It’s discourse wack-a-mole. Hit one on the head, another will appear.
We live in strange times. There was Turnbull–a man without a spine–condemning Fraser Anning–a man without a brain–while not daring to say a word against Peter Dutton–a man without a heart. #insiders
— Duncan Watson (@DuncanWatson8) August 18, 2018
Conservatism does exist. But every time it reveals itself, we recoil in shock. Our broadsheets might bang the drum, but the percussive claps from our neighbours, or those in power, surprise us. The fact that the conservative powerbrokers of the Liberal Party would fall out of the arms of Abbott and slip into Dutton’s is a reality as obvious as it was uninspired. Of course, it was going to happen.
However, it would be a disservice to assume that a Dutton-lead Coalition would be a doddle come election day. Collect all the Horcruxes you want, but even an attack campaign solely focused on the off-shore horrors enabled in his name is barely a spell that will disarm him, as the dark mark exists on the other side, too.