10 September 2019

Mungo McCallum: “The Greens reckon that Peter Dutton is a sadist — that he positively enjoys inflicting cruelty on his defenceless victims. But this is probably unfair to the potato-headed potentate. Dutton is certainly heartless, but his cruelty, while undoubtedly real, is more of an inevitable consequence of his demeanour than a deliberate agenda. What the Home Affairs minister really enjoys is power — what George Orwell once described as the image of a boot stamping down on a human face. He exults in trampling his opponents, leaving them defeated and demoralised. He gets his kicks not so much from tormenting them, but from crushing them into impotent misery. Thus the brutality of his treatment of the Sri Lankan asylum seekers from Biloela is almost incidental. What matters is his demonstration of supremacy — his ability to override all the normal standards of decent behaviour just because he can.”