Dutton, cringeworthy and (literally) un-Australian

Peter Dutton’s attempts to promote an “uprising” in support of Christmas, and against “political correctness gone mad” are un-Australian in all sorts of ways, but most obviously in the stunning cultural cringe they reflect. He’s borrowed the catchphrase of a British tabloid in an attempt to import a US culture war campaign that has been going on so long it’s a Christmas tradition in itself (I observed that it was old stuff, back in 2004). This guy is the best the Trumpist faction of the LNP/ON can come up with?

40 thoughts on “Dutton, cringeworthy and (literally) un-Australian

  1. Twitter response to Dutton shows an interesting coming together of political and Christian dissent in showing up the hypocrisy of his appeal to Christianity. See the Twitter thread #DuttonsChristianXmascarols

  2. Dutton is preparing the ground to challenge Turnbull. The Liberal Right know that they can’t go back to Abbott, but that doesn’t mean sticking with Turnbull. Dutton won’t have it all his own way, though. The neo-Howardist Morrison will also have a crack, as might Frydenberg. Abbott won’t go away quietly either.

  3. You’ve got to back him on this one. He’s obviously upset at the crass commercialism that is modern Christmas. As a true conservative he yearns for simpler more religious times when it wasn’t all about over indulgence and buying all sorts of rubbish that people don’t want.

    How can you criticise him after hearing his heartfelt plea to give generously so that the poor can also enjoy Christmas? And then there was his impassioned delivery of the parable of the samaritan, his hope that this Christmas would see a rebirth of the idea of loving your neighbour as yourself, no matter what creed, colour or nationality your neighbour is (or how they got here).

    Dutton’s clear goal – to put the Christ back in Christmas is something we should all embrace. Its obvious that this great man is trying to bring out the best in his parliamentary colleagues, and build an Australia that we can all feel justly proud of.

  4. How shallow does your commitment to your religious beliefs have to be if you can’t live in accordance with them without the government validating them for you?

    But I suppose such dependency is the inevitable result of decades of government coddling that has allowed people to abdicate their personal responsibility for their own spirituality. Reform is desperately needed to restore independence and dignity to their lives.

  5. How shallow does your commitment to your religious beliefs have to be if you can’t live in accordance with them without the government validating them for you?

    Reactionaries are, all of them, deeply flawed people. I think there’s obvious patterns to the flaws that point to “reaction” being a manifestation of clinical mental/cognitive problems — as I’ve mentioned — but even if you just treat the signs as being within the bounds of normal personality variation you’re still left with, “they’re all horrible”.

    [weak sense-of-self: thus the costumes, too.]

  6. Lemmings with herd mentality
    Ostriches with their heads in the sand.
    Once were liberals ‘n’ one nation
    The nationals too, not so grand.
    Now all ever so smart
    Looking over new horizons.
    The wisdom of government or
    More like a cabal of morons

  7. Well, Dutton is pretty thick; but even so, a beatup that might have legs in America, where 60% of people still claim to go to church, will still have trouble getting traction here, where only 15% of us do (claim, that is; actual attendance would be about half that). For Australians Christmas is as secular as Cup day and a good deal more secular than Anzac day.

  8. Oh come on – Dutton (or rather his media people) know its the silly season. This is solely aimed at getting his name onto the front page of the Daily Telecrap under its traditional “the greenies that stole xmas” headline .

    But I do like John Brookes’ deadpan takedown above. Dutton is one of the more personally charmless politicians I’ve met (which combined with a simple shortage of smarts is the reason he’ll never be PM – unlike Abbott no-one likes him), and hence transparent in his hypocrisy within a political faction prone to hypocrisy.

  9. Perhaps you are all being unfair. It is afterall called ‘the Silly Season’ . Perhaps Dutton is just getting into the spirit for our amusement.

    Alternatively maybe he is trying to remind us that really Bah Humbug is a lot closer to the truth when one remembers back to the nonsense the modern Xmas has been host to for a long time…and I dont just mean Santa Claus conquers the Martians or other Xmas media options everyone of which is hokey.

    Take for example ‘White Xmas’ much loved of the 1960s and probably one inspiration for Dutton’s dreamtime of what Xmas is really about….according to Dutton.

    In my childhood I remember how Bing Crosby was the archetype of old time Xmas (and probably Jimmy Stewart with a Wonderful Life) – so wonderful with his smile and love and big catholic family oblivious to population explosion and situation this put so many women in.

    But the reality was far more messy and tragic. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bing_Crosby#Personal_life

    and even just plain weird http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/6334616/bing-crosby-triumphs-tragedies-rediscovered-in-new-documentary

    Bing Crosby and David Bowie in a duet??!!

  10. Dutton’s Xmas message dovetails nicely with the welfare bashing from Abbott, Bishop…and himself. Their pension changes kick in Jan 1, and they’re understandably feeling a little touchy, ever ready to feel misunderstood and underappreciated. Nothing like talking loudly about nothing, kicking a few greens while another property delicately negative-gears in the taxpayers juices.

  11. Well I hope Peter Dutton as the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection gives at least some thought to the words of Christian religious leaders on refugees and immigrants in the Christmas uprising, given the Christmas story of the Holy family’s flight from Herod’s massacre of the innocents, seeking safety, which has a lot of resonance with the current situation in Syria.

    “Jesus Christ is always waiting to be recognised in migrants and refugees, in displaced person and in exiles, and through them he calls us to share our resources, and occasionally to give up something of our acquired riches.” — Pope Francis, World Migrant Sunday, Jan 2015

    “Asylum seekers, who fled from persecution, violence and situations that put their life at risk, stand in need of our understanding and welcome, of respect for their human dignity and rights, as well as awareness of their duties.” — Benedict XVI, Message for World Day of Migrants and Refugees 2011

  12. @derrida derider

    ” Dutton is one of the more personally charmless politicians I’ve met (which combined with a simple shortage of smarts is the reason he’ll never be PM…”

    Can’t argue or dissent from any of that – just glad I didn’t have to meet him in order to grasp it.

  13. have a merry cherry cool yule all. without the log. it’s too bloody hot.

    cherries havn’t made an appearance just yet.
    all that rain,lovely as it’s been, hasn’t done the ripening cherries any favours.

    they’ve just knocked dental care on the head.
    is dutton rc?

  14. @Hal9000 No, Herod is the one who was fearful of a challenger to his position and when in possession of news of a new leader being born he had all male babies killed. In fear of this Mary Joseph and the baby Jesus sought refuge in another country this being Egypt, under roman rule.

  15. Dutton is no brainwave. He is just a conservative who longs for a past where most of us were Christians. As a non-believer myself I do appreciate the Xmas tradition. I have always enjoyed singing carols, giving and getting presents (it is not just “consumer capitalism”) and the notion of renewal through the birth of a baby. Does logic need to separate us from all our traditions?

  16. Ernestine Gross :
    I wish you and your readers a Merry Christmas and Mr Dutton a happy holiday.

    I wish Mr Dutton every possible happiness in private life and the speediest possible return to it.

  17. Anyhoo, it seems that both Dutton and Hadley fell into a stitch up of their own making – Kedron State School website lists a full program of carol singing and other Christmassy jollity.

    “”It would be smart for Peter Dutton to check his facts before talking down a great local state school,” the spokesman said.

    “We should be supporting school communities as they come together to celebrate the great work of all staff and students throughout the school year.”

    Hadley and Mr Dutton have been contacted for comment.

  18. So, there was a Christmas concert for students participating in religious instruction at the school, and choir members could participate in a Christmas concert at a nearby church.


    I wonder if outraged grandpa bothered to attend either event.

    But of course it’s not good enough for these people for religion to be optional; it has to be part of compulsory school events, such as the end of year concert in question.

  19. Obviously, the people who have the most to gain from destroying Christmas are those whose birthdays fall on Christmas. I suggest putting them all on a list and keeping them under observation so we can determine who is naughty or nice.

    In addition, there is a middle-eastern death cult in Australia who worships a wizard called Jesus who was born on Christmas day. Clearly, they have a strong motive, so I’d put them at the top of the list.

  20. @rog

    Hmm, well actually rog, Herod – the Tetrach of Galilee – was essentially under Roman Rule himself, at the behest of Augustus Octavian. So I don’t think that he had anuthing at all to fear from some putative “new leader being born” who wouldn’t have been a challenge for decades and would have had to gain Roman backing anyway.

    Of course that this “new leader” was really God Part III (after God part I – the Father – and God Part II – the Holy Ghost) and therefore omniscient, omnipotent and immanent meant that Herod simply couldn’t have harmed him if he’d wanted to. Doesn’t it ?

  21. Totally agree regarding Dutton — but I think it’s a bad idea to use ‘un-Australian’ even in jest.

  22. I’ve always been of the view that Christian celebration shouldn’t be allowed in public government schools, in the same way that Hinduism or Islamic practises were never allowed. I feel that if people wish to celebrate it as Christians, then they are perfectly free to do so, just not on school time and not at the public school. That’s the expectation we hold for other major religions in Australia.

    Put another way, imagine the fit Peter Dutton would have if a public government school had its students practising some Hindu observances, including festivals and the like. Dutton would be apoplectic. So why the hypocrisy with respect to Christian observances and festive stuff?

  23. @Donald Oats

    Yes, the doctrine of separation of church and state would indicate that anything religious should be kept out of schools -so, for example, schools should not be allowed to celebrate religious holidays such as Xmas and Easter but should be required to be open and working on such days.

    I also remember when I was at school that we had to sing the British National Anthem on manifold occasions. And as we all know, her Britannic majesty is also head of Her Church of England and thus singing the British National Anthem is clearly a religious action and should also have been banned – now that we have the National Australian Dirge instead, that problem has fortuitously ended.

    But perhaps Mutton Dutton is really only complaining about the slow destruction of his world with the things that are meaningful to him being replaced by things that are meaningful to others. A bit like the situation in Britain (Brexit) and America (Trump) perhaps.

    I know in my own case that I resent the growing popularity of soccer and thus the declining popularity of Aussie Rules. There’s a whole wide world out there in which soccer can happily be “most popular”, but only one place in which the game I played at school and the sporting heroes I revered could be most popular. So, how long before Aussie Rules virtually disappears ? And will the world be a better place for it ?

  24. @GrueBleen
    I know in my own case that I resent the growing popularity of soccer and thus the declining popularity of Aussie Rules.

    Is Aussie Rules really in decline? I get the impression that the advent of the AFL improved its fortunes considerably. But otherwise – hell yeah! Sectarianism is much better when it’s about sport than religion – in fact, it’s actually fun. If you ask me, the real enemy of Aussie Rules is not the round-ball game, but that abomination practised by north-eastern barbarians known in their primitive tongue as “Rugby League”. 😉

  25. @Tim Macknay

    Oh, can you still see the tags when you reply ? They’ve completely disappeared from my browser – hence no formatting from me until they reappear.

    But yes, Tim, Aussie Rules is in decline against soccer, and so are the Rugby codes. Just a couple of indicators:

    1. in the SMH of Nov 12 2013:
    “A big increase in the number of people playing soccer in Australia over the past three years has led to claims the game can soon become the biggest in the country.”

    2. In the Herald Sun of 23rd Feb, 2015:
    “NEARLY three times as many Australians play soccer as Aussie rules footy, but participation in sport generally is down, says the latest ABS data.”

    Now maybe the population of Australia is growing so lightning fast that regardless of the hugely preferential takeup of soccer, nonetheless, Aussie Rules is still powering ahead … or maybe at least still holding its own. What do you think ?

  26. @GrueBleen
    I didn’t realise soccer was surging to that extent – I wonder if the increase in popularity of women’s soccer has much to do with it. It appears to create something of a conundrum in that soccer may be becoming (or already be) the most popular code in terms of participation, but Aussie Rules is by far the most popular code in terms of spectatorship and attendance at professional games. I’m not sure what that means in the long term, but I don’t think Aussie Rules is in danger of disappearing as an Australian cultural institution, even if fewer people are playing it.

    In terms of participation, all the football codes seem to have been eclipsed by non-team and even non competitive sports or sporting activities like golf, martial arts and aerobics. In my parents’ generation (baby boomers), the choices of team sports in youth were AFAIK largely limited to Aussie Rules, Rugby Union and rowing for boys, and Netball and Hockey for girls. It’s a bit different nowadays.

  27. @GrueBleen
    re the tags – no, I can no longer see them either. I try to put the tags in manually when I remember, but the absence of the buttons makes it easy to forget.

  28. @Tim Macknay

    Pssst: cricket, mate. Still the favourite.

    Indeed ‘Rules’ is still the big one for spectatorship and attendance, but how long can it withstand the growing numerical superiority of soccer players and fans ? Yeah, there is now women’s soccer, and also women’s Aussie Rules so I’m not sure what any of that means.

    But otherwise, the growing takeup of soccer might just have something to do with the fact that all of our millions of migrants -including moms and kids – come from soccer states and places (except NZ, but they’re not Rules either). Apart from the fact that soccer is considered ‘gentler’ (which I guess it is aside from brain scrambling ‘headers’), it has a smaller team (especially compared to Rules) and a smaller, easier to get onto ground (again compared to Rules). And the capacity to earn orders of magnitude more money in international competition.

    So yes, I can foresee an end to Aussie Rules – it just has to fall below a critical threshold to become unsustainable – but hopefully not in what remains of my lifetime.

    I must say though, that back in my schooldays it was Rules, cricket, some athletics once a year and some swimming – plus a privileged few did tennis, but hardly anyone did golf (how many government schools had a golf course handy for Wednesday arvo sports period ?). Aah, the good ol’ daze.

  29. @hc

    It’s odd to me that a non-believer could like Xmas. I would think a person would have to be a believer either in Christianity, Capitalism or crass commercialism to like Xmas.

    As to treating people well, wouldn’t a real Christian endeavour to do that all year long?

    Meanwhile certain nations talk about peace and goodwill and then press the drone strike button.

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