Comparing Peter Dutton to Malcolm Fraser

Peter Dutton and Malcolm Fraser
Peter Dutton and Malcolm Fraser

AFTER watching Peter Dutton appear on Andrew Bolt's show and take a shot at former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser's migration legacy I can't help but draw some comparisons between the two men.

For those who missed it Mr Dutton said last night that if we reflected on the immigration policies of the Fraser years we had to concede that mistakes were made in terms of the people that were accepted. 

Let's start our comparison between the two men by looking at their education.

Fraser attended Magdalen College at Oxford University where he studied economics, politics and philosophy.

Dutton went to the Queensland Police Academy in Brisbane.

Later in life, when he was about 29, Dutton attained a Bachelor of Business from QUT.

Of course education is not everything - it would be remarkably snobbish to say a person who went to Oxford was a better qualified leader than an ex-copper with a Bachelor of Business.

Let's move on and make a comparison between the pair's political careers.

When he was elected at 25-years-of-age Fraser was the youngest MP to ever set foot in the Federal Parliament.

Fraser held the same seat until his retirement - he represented the people of Wannon for 28 years.

Dutton was elected to the seat of Dickson in Brisbane's north in 2001.

In 2009 a boundary redistribution made Dutton's seat marginal and he tried to move to a safer one Gold Coast - except he was rejected by the local branches of the Liberal Party.

"My first instinct is to dig in and fight, but in politics the numbers don't lie and I have to be realistic in the circumstances," Dutton before making the ill-fated move.

To his credit he won that election and has held the seat since.

And of course being loved by the people of your electorate isn't everything.

Let's move on and look at the two men's achievements.

Malcolm Fraser will go down as one of the most historically significant Prime Minister's in Australian history.

His role in the Whitlam dismissal will be taught in history classrooms across the nation for generations to come - as it is already.

However, what's more significant about Fraser is not what he did when he went to John Kerr to ask for Whitlam's head, it's the fact he united the country under a stable government for eight years afterwards.

Peter Dutton's legacy will plausibly be a little more low-key.

He has held a number of ministerial portfolios, most recently immigration.

While Fraser went on to become a leading diplomatic figure in the Commonwealth of Nations and strengthen Australia's diplomatic standing, Dutton has been the ardent champion of immigration policies which have been condemned by organisations like the United Nations and Amnesty International.

While one man successfully united a nation during turbulent times the other appears to have been a lot more divisive.

I wonder whose policies will be viewed as mistakes in 30 years time. 

Topics:  immigration lachlan thompson malcolm fraser peter dutton

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