Wiping up another Dutton smear

On Wednesday the Minister for Home Affairs did what he and the Prime Minister have consistently claimed, and complained, he couldn’t do.[1]

He blocked a medevac transfer, using the medevac law he and the PM had previously sworn made it impossible for him to block transfers.

Apart from the stunning hypocrisy and barefaced lying this action has exposed, what’s even more disgusting is the weakness of the “evidence” Dutton cited as good reason for his action.

[Edit 2019-10-19. Added after post by “Save the children Nauru” Facebook group]

Before you read Dutton’s allegations, you might want to read part of an interview with the woman being medevaced, which totally repudiates much of Dutton’s smear. Then, read on.

In summary—in Australia we enjoy the rule of law. If you’re suspected or accused of a crime, the process goes something like:

Suspicion/allegation⇒Investigation⇒Arrest/Charge⇒Decision to prosecute⇒Trial⇒Verdict.

You innocence goes:

Innocent⇒innocent⇒innocent⇒innocent⇒innocent⇒innocent/guilty.

Not if you’re at the mercy of Peter Dutton, the Minister with extraordinary powers and a clear history of their abuse. With Dutton, the process goes:

Allegation⇒Guilty, or Investigation⇒Guilty.

Watch a shameless smearer at work, and see how easily the innuendo and half-truths can be exposed.

Here’s what Dutton said “convinced him” to stop a father accompanying his child to hospital:

The department of home affairs has advised me that the accompanying family member has a history of violent and manipulative behaviour, including allegations of physical assault against his children, been investigated by the Nauruan police force for criminal activity, engaged in military service in Iran and that the department has been unable to verify his identity.

Did he say “has been convicted of” anywhere? No. Innocent.

Did he even say “has been tried for” anywhere? No. Innocent.

Did he so much as say “has been arrested for” or “has been charged with” anywhere? No. Innocent.

The entire basis for Dutton’s decision is anonymous, unsupported allegations and a report of an investigation, nothing more.

Let’s just parse this.

A history of violent and manipulative behaviour

This sounds damning, doesn’t it. Not just violent, not just manipulative, but both, and a history of such behaviour. Terrible.

So, if there’s a history, where is it? Does Dutton actually cite a single, verified act of violence? Does he give a single example of manipulative behaviour?

No!

If there actually was a history, there should be more than one of each of these, and it should be easy to give concrete, verifiable examples. Certainly, to support a claim of “history” you should provide more than one. But Dutton provides none.

Not only is there no history, there’s not even evidence of a single instance of either. Dutton just says there is, but fails to cite any arrest, any trial, any conviction, anything.

Straight away, the credibility of his claim is looking shaky. Dutton might as well say he has a history of benevolence and acts of charity, because there’s as much evidence for that as his claimed “violence and manipulation”. More, in fact, because unlike all the other alleged acts we know for sure that the father is actually trying to accompany a sick child to hospital – benevolent, and neither violent nor manipulative.

Strike one.

allegations of physical assault against his children

I allege that Peter Dutton is a cynical hypocrite.

That’s an allegation of cynical hypocrisy against Peter Dutton, and that’s all it is – an allegation. Dutton doesn’t say who made the allegations, and more particularly he specifically fails to show that the allegations were tested, for example in court, and found to be true. In fact, his particular failure to call out any actual offences either tried or convicted shows just what a smear campaign this is.

The best Dutton can do is cite an anonymous, unsubstantiated allegation for which he can provide no proof. For all we know, it’s Dutton himself who’s alleging this, but we’ll never know.

What we do know is that if Dutton had ACTUAL proof of this, he’d be the first one to show it. It’s important for him to show why he has exercised this power he claimed he didn’t have, and deliberately separated a child from its father, so if he had something concrete, he’d show it.

But he hasn’t.

So what Dutton should have said was “Anonymous, unsubstantiated, unproven allegations”. In fact, it’s possible the allegations have been tested and found to be false, because otherwise Dutton would produce the proof. But he hasn’t. Nor has he said what he probably should have said: “Anonymous, unsubstantiated, false allegations”. Can we guess why?

Strike two.

been investigated by the Nauruan police force for criminal activity

and nothing found, is obviously the bit that Dutton leaves out. As an ex-policeman, Dutton of all people should understand and respect the principle of “Innocent until proven guilty”, but as an ex-Queensland policeman I guess we shouldn’t be surprised to find Dutton acting as the cop, prosecutor, judge, jury and executioner. For Dutton the mere fact of an investigation allows him to jump straight to “guilty”.

For those of us who respect the law he provides no evidence of anything, apart from an investigation, and we have to take his word even for that.

Moreover, as anyone who reads about the harassment and problems that asylum seekers suffer knows, baseless claims of all sorts of crimes are regularly levelled at the detainees.

Yet we have to assume that if a formal police investigation – the existence of which we’re taking Dutton’s word for – took place, then if there was anything of substance found it would have proceeded at least to charge or arrest. We can certainly assume that Dutton would cite anything more than “an investigation” if it existed to back up his claim.

But again, Dutton stops short of providing any concrete evidence of anything wrong this man has actually done.

There was an investigation. If it had found anything, Dutton would be the first one to point it out. He hasn’t, so again we have to assume nothing was found.

Every one of Dutton’s claims turns out to be totally unsupported by the tiniest piece of evidence.

Every. Single. One.

It’s ALL smear and innuendo, and as an ex-policeman Dutton knows all this unproven hearsay would be thrown out of a real court in an instant.

Strike three.

engaged in military service in Iran

This is doubly disingenuous, and doubly black-hearted. Dutton knows that military service is compulsory in Iran. It’s like saying an Australian voted in elections. It’s the law, he had to do it. It’s no more proof of ill-intent than voting. Moreover, Dutton’s main argument is that he’s “violent, criminal and manipulative”, not that he’s law-abiding.

So in presenting this as though it’s proof of bad or suspicious character, all Dutton is really proving to us is his completely bad faith intent.

And here’s the worm at the core of Dutton’s rotten apple. His final claim, which we’ll come to in a moment, is that Home Affairs can’t verify his identity.

But, hang on a moment… If they don’t know who he is, how do they know he served in the military in Iran? Because he told them!? But according to Dutton this man is a violent, manipulative criminal, yet the Department believes him when he says he served in the army, but not who he is? How stupid and gullible is the Department? Or how selectively half-truthful is Peter Dutton?

Strike four.

the department has been unable to verify his identity

Dutton presents this final piece of information as though it’s something bad, as though it’s something that, somehow, proves all of the previous totally unproven allegations he’s made.

Tommyrot.

Again, as Dutton well knows, it’s practically impossible to verify the identity of many asylum seekers. Many have lost their identity papers, or had them stolen or removed by people smugglers or other thieves. He also knows that requests to the current regimes in countries with which Australia has poor relations – such as most of the Middle East – or no relations, or in which civil records have been destroyed or damaged make it highly unlikely that the Department will ever be able to positively verify the identity of many asylum seekers.

This is not a crime by this man, or proof of anything other than a problem that faces both asylum seekers and the Department on a daily basis. To bring it up in this context is the final evidence of bad faith by Dutton and his clear intent to smear by innuendo and half-truth.

Further, and worst of all: if the Department hasn’t been able to verify this man’s identity, then the only things they know about him are things that have happened since he was interned – or imprisoned, really – on Nauru.

So all of Dutton’s alleged – and unproven – crimes relate to things that have happened under the noses of the camp guards and the Nauruan police.

Yet there are no arrests, no trials, no convictions and no evidence for any of the crimes Dutton alleges.

None.

Strike FIVE.

In other words, simply put, Dutton is full of shit.

He’s smearing and maligning an innocent man for his own political purposes, and in the process separating a father from his sick child.

He’s a monster.

[Edited 2019-10-17 to put a summary up front for tl;dr readers and to emphasise the kangaroo court Dutton is running]

[1] No, not smile. There are pictures where both sides of his mouth are higher than the middle.