An effective opposition leader, one who can reframe his party around mainstream values, is good for us all.
His forays into racial stereotyping –saying in 2018 that Melburnians were afraid to go out to dinner because of “African gang violence”, and his 2016 comments on the “mistake” of resettling Lebanese Muslim immigrants in the 1970s – were deeply disappointing.
Dutton is also notorious for boycotting the apology to the Stolen Generations (something he later said he regretted), which will put him, and his party, in an interesting position when they formulate a response to a referendum on the Voice to parliament. Dutton, as a former Queensland cop, has seen Aboriginal disadvantage up close, and perhaps he believed the apology was tokenistic.
But symbols matter in politics, and the Uluru Statement from the Heart is not virtue-signalling from a white-woke minority. Besides, what the right-wing of the Liberal party calls “woke” is becoming increasingly mainstream, especially when these issues are framed for what many of them are – a request for fairness.