Everything you need to know about Peter Dutton, the man who could topple Malcolm Turnbull to become the Australia's next prime minister

Peter Dutton/ FacebookPeter Dutton

Former Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has had a vast political career spanning 17 years.

With portfolios ranging from health to immigration, the ex-Queensland Police officer has a broad range of policy experience and has served in a range of senior roles in both government and opposition.

On Tuesday Dutton challenged Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull for the leadership of the Liberal party. While he lost the vote 48-35, the conservative politician delivered a mighty blow to Turnbull’s authority which saw at least 10 ministers offer to resign.

Today, Dutton, who has been publicly campaigning after Tuesday’s failed bid overthrow the PM, is pushing for a second tilt for the top job.

This morning he tweeted: “A few minutes ago I spoke with Malcolm Turnbull to advise him I believed the majority of the party room no longer supported his leadership. Accordingly, I asked him to convene a party room meeting at which I would challenge for the leadership of the Parliamentary Liberal Party.”

A petition for a second ballot was circling in Canberra last night. If it gains 43 signatures, Turnbull will be forced to call a meeting of MPs and have his leadership tested again.

One of Dutton’s weaknesses is his low public recognition. As he’s putting himself forward as an alternative prime minister, we thought we’d compiled a quick profile on the member for Dickson.

Here’s everything you need to know about Peter Dutton.

Peter Craig Dutton was born in Boondall, Queensland in 1970. He was the eldest of four children to Ailsa Leitch and Bruce Dutton.

Archive Photos/Getty ImagesQueen Street, the main street in Brisbane, Australia, circa 1965, just before Dutton was born.

Source: SBS.

As a kid, Dutton earned pocket money mowing lawns and delivering newspapers, before getting a job at a butcher’s shop at 12.

iStock

Source: News Mail.

After high school, Dutton attended the Queensland Police Academy from which he graduated in 1990. He worked as a police officer for nine years as part of the Drug Squad, the Sex Offenders Squad and the National Crime Authority.

Queensland Police Service/ Facebook

Source: SBS

At 22 years of age, Dutton married his first wife. That marriage only lasted a couple of months.

iStock

Source: News.com.au

In 1999, Dutton left the police force and undertook a Bachelor of Business at the Queensland University of Technology.

QUT (Queensland University of Technology)/ Facebook

Source: SBS

He and his father later founded the business Dutton Holdings, which bought, renovated, and converted buildings into childcare centres and later sold the businesses in 2002 to defunct ABC Learning. That business continues to trade under the name Dutton Building & Development.

iStock

Source: Courier Mail

His political aspirations flared much earlier however, with Dutton joining the Young Liberals in 1988 and later chairing the branch in 1990. And at the 1989 Queensland state election, Dutton ran unsuccessfully as the Liberal candidate against Tom Burns for the seat of Lytton. Burns went on to become the Deputy Premier of Queensland until 1996.

Impressions / Getty Images

Source: The Australian.

In November 2001 at the age of 30, Minister Dutton was elected as the Member for Dickson in Queensland.

Peter Dutton/ FacebookPeter Dutton (Far R)

In his maiden speech, Dutton reflected on his time in the police force:

I often say to people that, as a police officer, I have seen the best and the worst that society has to offer. I have seen the wonderful, kind nature of people willing to offer any assistance to those in their worst hour, and I have seen the sickening behaviour displayed by people who, frankly, barely justify their existence in our sometimes over tolerant society.

Source: Ministry of Home Affairs.

In 2003, Dutton married his second wife, Kirilly. He has a daughter, and two sons.

Source: News.com.au

In 2004, he became one of the youngest ministers since Federation when he was appointed Minister for Workforce Participation. Later in 2006, he was promoted to Minister for Revenue and Assistant Treasurer. During this time, Dutton worked closely with the then Treasurer, Peter Costello.

Michael Dodge/Getty ImagesFormer federal treasurer Peter Costello (C).

Source: Ministry of Home Affairs.

Following the change of government in 2007, Dutton was promoted to Shadow Cabinet as Minister for Finance, Competition Policy and Deregulation. Then in 2008 he was promoted to Shadow Minister for Health and Ageing.

Peter Dutton/ FacebookPeter Dutton

Source: Ministry of Home Affairs.

In 2008, when then-Prime Minister Kevin Rudd delivered an apology to the Stolen Generation, Dutton abstained from the vote and refused to applaud. When later asked why, Dutton said he viewed the apology as tokenism, and had no regrets. He has since modified this view, saying last year he didn’t appreciate the symbolism of it and its importance to Indigenous people.

Stefan Postles/Getty ImagesPeter Dutton

Source: The ABC.

In 2009, friend and fellow Liberal MP Steve Ciobo said of Dutton: ‘Not everyone loves him, that’s for sure… but that’s a consequence of him being a straight shooter — and that’s a very good thing.’

Stefan Postles/Getty ImagesPeter Dutton

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald.

Following the 2013 federal election Dutton was appointed Minister for Health and Minister for Sport and in 2014 he was appointed Minister for Immigration and Border Protection.

Stefan Postles/Getty ImagesMinister for Immigration and Border Protection Peter Dutton is sworn in by Governor-General Peter Cosgrove at Government House on December 23, 2014 in Canberra, Australia.

Source: Ministry of Home Affairs.

In 2015, he was caught making a tasteless joke at the expense of neighbouring island nations saying: ‘Time doesn’t mean anything when … you’re about to have water lapping at your door,’ when referring to the threat of climate change to Pacific island nations.

Peter Dutton/ FacebookPeter Dutton

Source: News.com.au

In 2016, Dutton accidentally sent political journalist Samantha Maiden a message in which he called her a “mad f***ing witch.” The text message was intended for his colleague Jamie Briggs and was in response to a column the journalist had written that morning.

Stefan Postles/Getty ImagesPeter Dutton

Source: The ABC.

Also that year, Labor’s Tim Watt called Dutton “Potato Head” during a rowdy Question Time in which the Speaker had to remind the room that all MPs must use their colleagues’ titles, not their names. The nickname has stuck.

Stefan Postles/Getty ImagesPeter Dutton during Question Time.

Source: AFR.com

In 2016, as Immigration Minister, he suggested during Question Time that Malcolm Fraser’s government made a mistake in bringing Lebanese refugees to Australia in the 1970s.

Stefan Postles/Getty ImagesPeter Dutton

The advice I have is that out of the last 33 people who have been charged with terrorist-related offences in this country, 22 of those people are from second and third generation Lebanese-Muslim background.

Source: Courier Mail.

In 2017, he tackled the public’s perception of his personality head on, telling Fairfax:

Stefan Postles/Getty ImagesPeter Dutton

People never spoke about John Howard’s charisma. At many times during John Howard’s career, he was deeply unpopular.

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald.

He also, in 2017, was a key architect in the same-sex marriage plebiscite and was very clear about his opposition to the issue.

Stefan Postles/Getty ImagesPeter Dutton during question time at Parliament House.

I’ve already voted ‘no’ and I’d encourage people to do the same but it’s a democratic process.

Source: SBS.

In December last year that he was sworn in as the Minister for Home Affairs.

Peter Dutton/ FacebookDutton with Indonesian President Joko Widodo.

Source: Ministry of Home Affairs.

On August 21, Dutton challenged Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull for leadership of the Liberal Party. And while he lost the ballot vote just 45-38, the slim margin was a massive blow to Turnbull’s authority.

Peter Dutton/ FacebookMalcolm Turnbull (L) and Peter Dutton (R).

Source: Business Insider.

Despite an offer from Turnbull to stay on as Minister for Home Affairs, Dutton resigned and took up a position on the backbench.

Stefan Postles/Getty ImagesPeter Dutton speaks to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Source: Business Insider.

Following the leadership spill, more than 10 other ministers submitted their resignation to the prime minister, including Health Minister Greg Hunt and Trade Minister Steve Ciobo.

Don Arnold/Getty ImagesPrime Minister Malcolm Turnbull (L) Health Minister Greg Hunt.

Source: Business Insider.

Many expect Dutton is now building a support base to take on the prime minister for a second time.

Peter Dutton/ FacebookPeter Dutton (C, back)

Source: Business Insider.

This week’s challenge isn’t the first time Dutton has revealed his ambitions to be the Prime Minister of Australia. Last year, the former Home Affairs Minister said:

Stefan Postles/Getty ImagesPeter Dutton

You don’t sign up to play for the Wallabies or the Socceroos or for the Australian cabinet to not be leader or have the opportunity to become leader one day.

I think recent history has demonstrated that anybody that would seek to burst their way into leadership now or try to knock off the leader would be dead before they got out of first base.

So my perspective … is that loyalty is the new black and I think you are better off to be loyal to leaders … and if things work out how you want them to work out then that’s a great thing.

But my view is it’s in the best interests of our party to have a stability of leadership at the moment because ultimately it will be good for our country and then if that’s rewarded at some point, or if you are foolish because of that and the opportunity passes you by, then so be it.

Source: AFR.com

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