|Minister for Home Affairs|
|Assumed office |
20 December 2017
|Prime Minister||Malcolm Turnbull|
|Preceded by||Jason Clare (2011–2013)|
|Minister for Immigration and Border Protection|
23 December 2014 – 21 August 2018
|Prime Minister||Tony Abbott|
|Preceded by||Scott Morrison|
|Succeeded by||David Coleman (as Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs)|
|Minister for Health|
18 September 2013 – 23 December 2014
|Prime Minister||Tony Abbott|
|Preceded by||Tanya Plibersek|
|Succeeded by||Sussan Ley|
|Minister for Sport|
18 September 2013 – 23 December 2014
|Prime Minister||Tony Abbott|
|Preceded by||Don Farrell|
|Succeeded by||Sussan Ley|
|Minister for Revenue and Assistant Treasurer|
27 January 2006 – 3 December 2007
|Prime Minister||John Howard|
|Preceded by||Mal Brough|
|Succeeded by||Chris Bowen|
|Minister for Workforce Participation|
26 October 2004 – 27 January 2006
|Prime Minister||John Howard|
|Preceded by||Fran Bailey|
|Succeeded by||Sharman Stone|
|Member of the Australian Parliament|
|Assumed office |
10 November 2001
|Preceded by||Cheryl Kernot|
Peter Craig Dutton
18 November 1970
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
|Political party||Liberal (federal)|
|Liberal National (Queensland)|
|Alma mater||Queensland University of Technology|
Peter Craig Dutton (born 18 November 1970) is an Australian Liberal Party politician serving as Minister for Home Affairs since 2017, and has served as Member of Parliament (MP) for Dickson since 2001. Dutton served as Minister for Health and Sport from 2013 to 2014, and Minister for Immigration from 2014 to 2017 in the Abbott and Turnbull Government.
On 18 July 2017, he was named Minister for Home Affairs and officially appointed by the Governor-General on 20 December 2017 to lead the Department of Home Affairs, a newly created portfolio giving him oversight of ASIO, the AFP and Border Force. He previously served as Minister for Workforce Participation and Minister for Revenue and Assistant Treasurer in the Howard Government.
In the first August 2018 spill he challenged Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull for the leadership of the Liberal Party, but was defeated by 48 votes to 35. In the aftermath of the spill Dutton announced his resignation from the Second Turnbull Ministry and rejected an invitation from Turnbull to remain in the Cabinet. In the second leadership contest, Dutton was defeated by Treasurer and Acting Home Affairs Minister Scott Morrison by 45 votes to 40. Following the appointment of Scott Morrison as the new Prime Minister on 24 August by the Governor-General, Dutton was re-appointed home affairs minister in the Morrison Government, but relinquished his duties and responsibilities for immigration and border protection.
- 1 Early years
- 2 Howard Government (2001–07)
- 3 Opposition (2007–13)
- 4 Cabinet minister (2013–present)
- 4.1 Minister for Health
- 4.2 Minister for Immigration (2014–17)
- 4.3 Minister for Home Affairs (2017–present)
- 4.4 2019 federal election
- 5 Political views
- 6 Personal life
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Dutton was born in the northern Brisbane suburb of Boondall, the eldest of five children, with one brother and three sisters. His mother Ailsa Leitch worked in childcare and his father Bruce Dutton was a builder. Dutton finished high school at the Anglican St Paul's School, Bald Hills.
Dutton joined the Young Liberals in 1988. He became the policy vice-chair of the Bayside Young Liberals the following year and chair of the branch in 1990. At the 1989 Queensland state election, the 19-year-old Dutton ran unsuccessfully as the Liberal candidate against Tom Burns (former state ALP leader) in the safe Labor seat of Lytton.
Dutton graduated from the Queensland Police Academy in 1990. He was a Queensland Police officer for nine years, working in the Drug Squad in Brisbane in the early 1990s. He also worked in the Sex Offenders Squad and the National Crime Authority. As a second job, he worked with his father in a building business.
In 1999, Dutton left the police force to become a businessman, completing a Bachelor of Business at the Queensland University of Technology. He and his father founded the business Dutton Holdings, which was registered in 2000; it operated under six different trading and business names. The company bought, renovated, and converted buildings into childcare centres, and in 2002 it sold three childcare centres to the now defunct ABC Learning. ABC Learning continued to pay rent to Dutton Holdings for a commercial lease until at least 2007. Dutton Holdings continues to trade under the name Dutton Building & Development.
Howard Government (2001–07)
Dutton was elected to the Division of Dickson at the 2001 election, defeating Labor's Cheryl Kernot. He was elevated to the ministry after the 2004 election as Minister for Workforce Participation, a position he held until January 2006. He was then appointed Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Revenue. He successfully retained Dickson at the 2007 election, which saw the government lose office. However, his margin was reduced to just 217 votes more than Labor's Fiona McNamara.
Following the 2007 election, Dutton was promoted to shadow cabinet by the new Liberal leader Brendan Nelson, as Shadow Minister for Finance, Competition Policy and Deregulation. In 2008, he chose not to be present in the chamber during the apology to the Stolen Generations, which enjoyed bipartisan support. He said "I regarded it as something which was not going to deliver tangible outcomes to kids who are being raped and tortured in communities in the 21st century." Later, in a 2014 interview with the Sydney Morning Herald, Dutton said he regretted boycotting the apology: "I underestimated the symbolic and cultural significance of it."
In September 2008, Nelson was replaced as Liberal leader by Malcolm Turnbull, who appointed Dutton as Shadow Minister for Health and Ageing. He retained that position when Tony Abbott succeeded Turnbull as leader in December 2009. In June 2010, Dutton released the Coalition's mental health policy. The Australian described it as "the most significant announcement by any political party in relation to a targeted, evidence-based investment in mental health", but not all experts agreed.
Dutton retained his seat with a positive swing at the 2010 federal election, despite an unfavourable redistribution. In the lead-up to the 2013 federal election, he announced a range of Coalition health policies, which were received favourably by industry groups. The Australian Medical Association said "the Coalition has delivered a strong package of practical, affordable health policies that would strengthen general practice", while Cancer Council Australia said that "Dutton's promise to finalise the bowel cancer screening program by 2020 would save an additional 35,000 lives over the next 40 years."
Attempted seat shift
As the 2010 election approached, it looked like Dutton would lose to the Labor candidate due to a redistribution of division boundaries that had erased his majority and made Dickson notionally Labor. To safeguard himself, Dutton sought pre-selection for the merged Liberal National Party in the safe Liberal seat of McPherson on the Gold Coast (despite not living in or near McPherson). Some constituents complained, "The abandoning of a seat by a sitting MP halfway through a parliamentary term to contest pre-selection in a seat over 100 kilometres to the south is not looked upon favourably."
Dutton lost the McPherson pre-selection to Karen Andrews, reportedly due to misgivings from former Nationals in the area. He then asked the LNP to "deliver him a seat for which he doesn't have to fight other preselection candidates." Liberal MP Alex Somlyay (the chief Opposition whip of the time) said that Dutton's expectation of an uncontested preselection was "unusual." When the state executive didn't provide Dutton an unchallenged preselection, Dutton reluctantly returned to campaign for the seat of Dickson.
Cabinet minister (2013–present)
Minister for Health
As Health Minister, Dutton announced the world-leading $20 billion Medical Research Future Fund. As announced, the capital and any ongoing capital gains of the Medical Research Future Fund will be preserved in perpetuity.
Under Minister Dutton, projected funding in the health portfolio increased in the 2014–15 Budget to $66.9 billion, an increase of 7.5 percent from $62.2 billion in 2012–13, the final full year of the Labor Government. Projected expenditure on Medicare increased over 9.5 percent from $18.5 billion in 2012–13 under Labor to a projected $20.32 billion in 2014–15 under Dutton. Funding for public hospital services increased by nearly 14 percent under Dutton in the 2014–15 Budget to a projected $15.12 billion compared to $13.28 billion in the last full year of the Labor Government in 2012–13.
In a 2015 poll by Australian Doctor magazine, Dutton was voted the worst health minister in the last 35 years by 46 percent of respondents. However, only 1,100 out of the magazine's 20,000 readers voted.
Minister for Immigration (2014–17)
In 2016, News Corp Sunday political editor Samantha Maiden wrote a column critical of Jamie Briggs. Dutton drafted a text message to Briggs describing Maiden as a "mad fucking bitch" but inadvertently sent it to Maiden. Maiden accepted an apology from Dutton.
Before the 2016 election Dutton said of refugees "many ... won't be numerate or literate in their own language let alone English", and "These people would be taking Australian jobs". Turnbull defended Dutton by stating he is an "outstanding Immigration Minister". Against a statewide swing against the government of 2.9 points, Dutton's margin fell from 6.7 to 1.6 points, leaving him with a margin of fewer than 3,000 votes against Labor candidate Linda Lavarch.
On 5 June 2015, Dutton denied claims made by Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young that she was spied on during a visit to Nauru. At the same time he called into question her credibility saying "I have evidence that Senator Hanson-Young over-states every issue. She gets her facts wrong most of the time. And I just think you need to look at it in the light of experience with Senator Hanson-Young. If she's got evidence, produce it." He also claimed that "What Sarah Hanson-Young is about is publicity. She loves the camera and she loves to see her own name in the paper. That's the start and finish of Sarah Hanson-Young." Hanson-Young responded that "Peter Dutton can attack and insult me as much as he likes, but nothing will change the fact that my work has revealed systemic child abuse and the rape of young women on Nauru under his watch." The spying claims were later confirmed by the Immigration Department and Wilson Security who carried out the spying operation.
Au pair cases
In June 2015, an au pair who was detained at Brisbane Airport made a phone call and had her tourist visa reinstated. In November, in a second case, Dutton granted a visa to another au pair, despite his department warning him that she was at risk of breaching her work conditions on her tourist visa. Dutton indicated that he knew neither tourist. In August 2018, Roman Quaedvlieg indicated that he had personal knowledge of one of the cases, and was seeking to correct Hansard if it did not match his knowledge. A third au pair was granted a visa due to lobbying by AFL chief Gillon McLachlan, she was due to stay with his relative Callum Maclachlan. Dutton's department again warned him there were indications that she was intending to work for Callum's family. A Senate inquiry into two of the cases is due to report on 11 September 2018.
Rising seas joke
On 11 September 2015, Dutton was overheard on an open microphone, before a community meeting on Syrian refugees, joking about rising sea levels in the Pacific Islands. He said "time doesn't mean anything when you're about to have water lapping at your door". Dutton initially refused to apologise, saying it was a private conversation, but later apologised. The foreign minister of the Marshall Islands at the time, Tony deBrum, responded by writing the "insensitivity knows no bounds in the big polluting island down [south]" and the "Next time waves are battering my home [and] my kids are scared, I'll ask Peter Dutton to come over, and he is still probably laughing,"
Comments on Lebanese immigration
In November 2016, Dutton said it was a mistake by the Malcolm Fraser administration to have admitted Lebanese Muslim immigrants. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said Dutton was making a specific point about those charged with terrorism offences. "He made it quite clear that he respects and appreciates the contribution that the Lebanese community make in Australia."
On 15 April 2017 shots were fired by the Papua New Guinea defence force into the Manus Island Detention Centre. Dutton responded saying "There was difficulty, as I understand it, in the community. There was an alleged incident where three asylum seekers were alleged to be leading a local five-year old boy back toward the facility and there was a lot of angst around that, if you like, within the local PNG community." "I think there was concern about why the boy was being led or for what purpose he was being led away back into the regional processing centre. So I think it's fair to say that the mood had elevated quite quickly. I think some of the local residents were quite angry about this particular incident and another alleged sexual assault."
However, the regional police commander on Manus Island said a young boy who was 10, not five, had gone to the centre two weeks earlier to ask for food. He said "It's a total separate incident altogether" The Greens senator Nick McKim said Dutton had been caught telling an outrageous lie. "This has disturbing echoes of the children overboard affair lies."
On 31 October 2017, the Papuan Government closed down the Manus Island regional processing centre. However, 600 men residing in the processing centre refused to be moved to alternative accommodation in the town of Lorengau and staged a protest. Dutton defended the closure of the processing centre and asserted that the Papuan authorities had given notice of the camp's impending closure in May 2017. He also rejected Australian Greens Senator Nick McKim's report that there was no safe alternative accommodation available as false and claimed McKim was inciting trouble. Following a prolonged standoff with Papuan security forces, the remaining men were evacuated, many forcibly, to new accommodation. Arrangements have been made to resettle an unspecified number of the asylum seekers in the United States. The others will be moved to either a different part of Papua New Guinea or a different country.
In mid November 2017, Dutton rejected an offer by the newly-elected New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to resettle 150 asylum seekers from the Manus Island detention centre in New Zealand and warned that it would have repercussions for the two countries' bilateral relations. He also claimed that New Zealand's offer would encourage people smugglers. Dutton also criticised a New Zealand offer to provide $3 million for services for asylum seekers on Manus and Nauru as a "waste of money" that could be spend elsewhere, such as displaced people in Indonesia. In addition, Dutton criticised Australia's Opposition Leader Bill Shorten's call for Australia to accept the New Zealand offer as an attempt to appease the Labor Left with "cheap political stunts and mealy-mouthed words".
Minister for Home Affairs (2017–present)
On 20 December 2017, Dutton was appointed the Minister for Home Affairs with responsibilities of overseeing the Department of Home Affairs which was established on 20 December 2017 by Administrative Arrangement Order. The Home Affairs portfolio is a major re-arrangement of national security, law enforcement, emergency management, transport security, border control, and immigration functions.
South African farm attacks
- Further Information: South African farm attacks#Australia
In March 2018 Dutton made calls to treat white South African farmers as refugees, stating that "they need help from a civilised country". However, his offer was rejected by Afrikaner rights organisation AfriForum, which stated that the future of Afrikaners was in Africa, as well as by the survivalist group the Suidlanders, which took credit for bringing the issue of a purported "white genocide" to international attention and for Dutton's decision, and was met with "regret" by the South African foreign ministry. The Australian High Commissioner was subsequently summoned by the South African foreign ministry, which expressed its offence at Dutton's statements, and demanded a "full retraction".
His proposal got support from some of his party's backbenchers and Liberal Democrat Senator David Leyonhjelm with Leyonhjelm later clarifying that he thought that South African farmers should be admitted under existing visa programmes, and could not be regarded as refugees. National Party of Australia MP Andrew Broad warned that the mass migration of South African farmers would result in food shortages in South Africa. Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema encouraged white farmers to take up Dutton's offer. After initially leaving the door open to changes, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop subsequently ruled out any special deals for white South African farmers, emphasising the non-discriminatory nature of Australia's humanitarian visa programme. In a subsequent interview, Dutton vowed to push forward with his plans, saying that his critics were "dead to me".
Later, in April 2018, it emerged that Dutton's department had previously blocked asylum applications by a white farmer, and another white South African woman, with the decisions upheld by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.
Immigration from New Zealand
As both Immigration Minister and Home Affairs Minister, Peter Dutton has defended an amendment to the Migration Act 1958 that facilitates the denial or cancellation of Australian visas for non-citizens on "character" grounds. This stringent "character test" also affects non-citizens who have lived most of their lives in Australia or who have families living in the country. New Zealand nationals living in Australia were disproportionately affected by this "character test" with over 1,300 New Zealanders having been deported from Australia in the period between January 2015 and July 2018. According to a Home Affairs Department report, 620 New Zealanders had their visas cancelled on character grounds in 2017 alone.
In July 2017, Dutton's Department of Immigration and Border Protection introduced a special Skilled Independent subclass 189 visa to provide a pathway for New Zealanders holding a Special Category Visa to acquire Australian citizenship. The visa requires NZ nationals to have held a Special Category Visa for five years and to maintain an annual income of $53,900. Between 60,000 and 80,000 New Zealanders residing in Australia are eligible for the Skilled Independent subclass 189 visa. By February 2018, 1,512 skilled independent visas had been issued by late February 2018 with another 7,500 visas still being processed. The Skilled Independent subclass 189 visa was criticised by Australian Greens Senator Nick McKim as a stealth means of favouring "English-speaking, white and wealthy" migrants.
In early July 2018, Dutton ordered the deportation of controversial New Zealand Baptist Pastor Logan Robertson, who had disrupted services at two mosques in Kuraby and Darra in Brisbane. Dutton approved Robertson's visa cancellation on the grounds that he had violated the conditions of his visa, stating that "we have a wonderful tradition in our country of freedom of speech, but we're not going to tolerate people going to a place of worship and harassing others." Robertson had early drawn controversy in New Zealand for his homophobic remarks and opposition to same-sex marriage.
In mid-July 2018, Dutton's immigration "character test" became the subject of a controversial Australian Broadcasting Corporation documentary, entitled "Don't Call Australia Home", focusing on New Zealanders who had been deported from Australia. In response, Dutton issued a tweet defending his deportation policy and claiming that deporting 184 "bikies" saved Australia A$116 million. In response, the New Zealand Minister of Justice Andrew Little, who also appeared in the documentary, criticised Australia's deportation laws for lacking "humanitarian ideals." The documentary's release also coincided with the release of a 17-year-old New Zealand youth from an Australian detention centre, which had caused friction between the two governments. In response, Dutton defended his Government's policy of deporting non-citizen criminals and chastised New Zealand for not contributing enough to assist Australian naval patrols intercepting the "people smugglers."
On 21 August 2018, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull called a snap ballot of the leadership of the Liberal Party following several days of feverish leadership speculation, of which Dutton was at the centre. Dutton responded to Turnbull's ballot call by formally challenging for the leadership of the party and won 35 of 83 votes available, 7 short of a majority. Dutton then resigned from the Ministry despite being offered by Turnbull to retain his position of Minister for Home Affairs, and the media speculated that Dutton and his conservative backers in the party were likely to challenge for the leadership again in the near future. Three days later, Dutton called for another leadership spill, and Malcolm Turnbull tendered his resignation to the Governor-General. Dutton was defeated by Treasurer and Acting Home Affairs Minister Scott Morrison by 45 votes to 40.
Doubts surrounding Dutton's eligibility to be elected to parliament emerged on the grounds of section 44(v) of the Australian Constitution, as the family trust owned by Dutton operated a child care centre that received over $5.6 million in funding from the Commonwealth Government, in a situation similar to Bob Day's case. Although Dutton had received legal advice stating that he was not in breach of section 44(v), Labor had received contrary advice; at Turnbull's request, the Attorney-General referred the matter to the Solicitor-General. On 23 August, Labor attempted to move a motion to refer Dutton's eligibility as an MP to the High Court, in a similar manner to referrals made during the recent parliamentary citizenship crisis. The motion failed by 69 votes to 68. On 24 August, the Solicitor-General advised that in terms of section 44(v) Dutton was "not incapable" of sitting as an MP, although he added that he had been provided with limited factual information and that, owing to differences of judicial opinion in earlier decisions of the High Court on section 44(v), Dutton's legal position could not be entirely clear without a referral to the High Court. Dutton was reappointed to his former Home Affairs portfolio by Scott Morrison in the Morrison Ministry, however the duties of Immigration and Border Protection were stripped from the role and were assigned to David Coleman.
2019 federal election
Dutton was re-elected at the 2019 federal election. The political think tank GetUp! identified Dutton as "Australia's most unwanted hard-right politician" after surveying more than "30,000 members". GetUp! mounted a campaign in an attempt to defeat Dutton in Dickson. In response, Dutton said GetUp! was, "deceptive", "undemocratic" and "unrepresentative" and that he would back "parliamentary processes to bring the activist group to heel." GetUp! has defended the effectiveness of its campaigning in Dutton's electorate.
Dutton is aligned with the right-wing, conservative faction of the Liberal Party. He has been described as a right-wing populist, and is opposed to an Australian republic.
Dutton opposes same-sex marriage. In March 2017 it was reported in The Sydney Morning Herald that Dutton "said privately it was inevitable that same-sex marriage would become law in Australia so it would be better for the Coalition, rather than Labor, to control the process". Dutton's actions publicly have been in opposition to same-sex advocates and "the forcefulness of Mr Dutton's attack on corporate chief executives last week – in which he told them to 'stick to their knitting' – has aroused suspicion among some colleagues who believed he was committed to achieving a breakthrough on [same-sex marriage]". The following month The Daily Telegraph reported that Dutton was asked by a lesbian for clarification on his position, and he "told her he had been clear that he was against same-sex marriage". In his political career, Dutton has voted "very strongly against same sex marriage". However, he voted in favour of the Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Act 2017, which legalised same-sex marriage; 65 percent of his constituency voted "Yes" in the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey.
In March 2017, 31 CEOs signed a letter to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull calling for a free vote in the Australian Parliament on same-sex marriage. In response to this letter, on 16 March 2017, Dutton said that the CEOs "shouldn't shove their views down our throats" and that CEOs who were "doing the wrong thing" should "be publicly shamed". Dutton repeated his criticism at a speech to the LNP State Council in Queensland on 18 March.
Dutton's comments were heavily criticised as an attempt to censor expressions of support for same-sex marriage, with some commenters also accusing him of hypocrisy given his support for changing Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act. Former New South Wales Premier Kristina Keneally said that according to Dutton, "Free speech is great and should be expanded, unless it's an Australian corporate CEO speaking about same-sex marriage. Then they need to shut up." Liberal MPs and ministers Julie Bishop and Simon Birmingham also expressed disagreement with Dutton's comments.
On 9 May 2017, a 67-year-old man pushed a pie into the face of Qantas CEO Alan Joyce while Joyce was speaking at a function in Perth. The next day, the assailant confirmed that the attack was to protest against Joyce's support for same-sex marriage. Dutton had singled out Joyce in his criticism of pro-same-sex marriage CEOs, leading some LGBTI advocates to hold him partially responsible for the attack. Dutton condemned the attack on Twitter.
Dutton, who owns six properties with his wife, including a shopping centre in Townsville, opposes any changes to negative gearing which currently offers tax breaks to wealthy property investors, stating that changing it would harm the economy.
South African farmers
Dutton has been accused of supporting and promoting the white genocide myth. In 2018, he declared that Boers required refugee status in Australia because of "the horrific circumstances they face" in South Africa. BBC News reported that the Suidlanders group's "message of white genocide" had "resonated" with Dutton, prompting him to offer fast-track visas to white South African farmers due to their being "persecuted", claiming they needed help from a "civilised" country. However, there is no evidence to support the claims of a "white genocide."  Meanwhile local media contribution from The Greens leader Richard Di Natale labelled the process of bringing white South African farmers to Australia as thoroughly racist. He also labelled it as a policy that would restore the semblance of policy that was not dissimilar to that enacted under the White Australia Policy.
Dutton married his first wife when he was 22 years of age; however, the marriage ended after a few months. His eldest child, a daughter, was born in 2002 to another partner, and splits time between her parents in a shared parenting arrangement. In 2003 Dutton married his second wife, Kirilly (née Brumby), with whom he has two sons.
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|Parliament of Australia|
| Member for Dickson
| Minister for Workforce Participation
| Minister for Revenue and Assistant Treasurer
| Minister for Health
| Minister for Sport
| Minister for Immigration and Border Protection
as Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs
| Minister for Home Affairs
| Minister for Home Affairs