Contributed from Victoria
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton is in trouble. Activist group GetUp is organizing a campaign, to have him kicked out of his seat (Dickson) where he has a narrow 1.6 percent majority. He is vulnerable.
Dutton is that he is a leading light of the hardline faction of the Liberal Party and has a reputation for being particularly abrasive and lacking in humanity. This has been shown by his handling of refugees, including the events around the Manus Island detention centre and the treatment of children and the sick.
As minister for Health, Dutton was the architect off the GP copayment and a $57 billion cut to hospital funding. Doctors voted him as the worst health minister in 35 years.
Dutton is also a key supporter of mining magnate Adani and his bid for a $1 billion federal government grant, prominent advocate for the coal industry and a climate warming denier.
He was the only frontbencher to boycott the apology to the Stolen Generations and was behind the botched $55 million scheme to send refugees to Cambodia. While on a state visit to the region, made fun of nations sinking under sea rises due to global warming. Dutton was also behind the Operation Fortitude fiasco, to randomly check visas of Melbourne pedestrians.
peter Dutton has now
moved to restrict the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, by a change to the law that gives the last say to the minister. His justification is that it will get rid of “silly” decisions.
The bill for this and other elated changes is due before parliament this week. It comes on top of a similar power being transferred visa applications.
The Law Council of Australia has attacked the move as “draconian” and others have called it a power grab. The Council’s president, Fiona McLeod said that “Any attempt to wind back review powers should be treated with concern”.
GetUp aims to train 1,000 activists to lead a campaign to build action Groups around the country and a crowdfunding campaign raised about $200,000 in less than a week.
Dutton is a key player in the hardening of the government and the push for a more extensive version of neoliberalism, spending cuts and privatisations. Being a leading light of the hardline faction and current leading contender to replace Malcolm Turnbull in the Prime Ministership, his demise would be a major blow to the faction’s ambitions, which is the ultimate objective of the campaign.