Peter Dutton has demanded an apology from one of Anthony Albanese’s ministers after she accused him of ‘protecting paedophiles’.
Embattled Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil first cast the aspersion on Mr Dutton on Wednesday and it was reiterated on live breakfast television by Sports Minister Anika Wells on Thursday.
Mr Dutton, a former cop who has long been an outspoken advocate for child safety, lashed the comments and said they indicated the government is ‘really getting desperate’.
‘I’ve arrested sex offenders before. It’s one of my life’s passions to make sure women and kids are safe. I feel very genuinely and deeply about it.
‘I think I am owed an apology from Anika Wells and the Prime Minister.’
Approval ratings for Mr Albanese and his cabinet are on the slide and Labor is now polling 50:50 with the Opposition on a two-party preferred basis, according to the latest Newspoll.
Mr Dutton, a former cop who has long been an outspoken advocate for child safety , lashed the comments and said they indicated the government is ‘really getting desperate’
And in an attempt to shift the blame of the High Court debacle which saw 141 asylum seekers released from indefinite detention into the community, several ministers have sought to link Mr Dutton to the case which sparked it all.
The High Court found the indefinite detention of paedophile rapist Rohingya asylum seeker NZYQ was unconstitutional on November 8, prompting the Labor government to release dozens of asylum seekers.
Mr Dutton sensationally suggested on Thursday that NZYQ was the only detainee who needed to be released after the decision, and that the government pre-emptively released the remaining 140 people when it did not need to.
‘The government completely botched this,’ he told Ray Hadley.
‘The government itself has made a decision in relation to the other 140-odd when there was no need to do so.
‘No wonder they’re panicking. This is a complete and utter disaster.’
Embattled Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil (pictured) first cast the aspersion on Mr Dutton on Wednesday and it was reiterated on live breakfast television by Sports Minister Anika Wells on Thursday.
For weeks now the government has been under fire for not having draft legislation in place ahead of the decision to deal with the potential fallout.
Instead, it worked with the Opposition in the days that followed to swiftly pass through legislation which would allow police to fit offenders with electronic ankle monitors and subject them to a curfew.
Despite the bipartisan efforts to improve the situation for the good of the wider community, Ms O’Neil launched a scathing attack in the House of Representatives on Wednesday, claiming Mr Dutton was protecting paedophiles over children because he refused to support a motion which included punishing paedophiles caught within a certain distance of schools.
She also claimed he was a child sex offender apologist after one of his frontbenchers, Senator Dean Smith, campaigned Immigration Minister Andrew Giles to have a convicted sex offender released into the community.
In a letter to Mr Giles, Senator Smith noted the offender, whose visa was cancelled on the back of his convictions, had sex with a girl who was aged between 13 and 16. The refugee was 21 at the time of his offending.
Speaking to 2GB’s Ray Hadley after the allegations were levelled against him, Mr Dutton said it was the ‘complete opposite of the truth’, admitting that ‘of course’ he was impacted by it.
‘I think the government’s showing now, it’s really getting desperate,’ he said.
‘He (PM) hasn’t had the guts to say what he’s sent out the ministers to say.’
Mr Dutton said the Coalition voted against the proposed bill on Monday because they had tried to argue for tighter restrictions which weren’t included.
‘The personal attacks – yes they hurt. But they don’t mean anything to me. It’s the complete opposite of who I am and what I believe… This is a desperate Prime Minister running out of options.’