Bad Cop: Peter Dutton’s Strongman Politics: Quarterly Essay 93 by Lech Blaine

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Where will Dutton lead the Coalition?

Who is Peter Dutton, and what happened to the Liberal Party? In Bad Cop, Lech Blaine traces the making of a hardman – from Queensland detective to leader of the Opposition, from property investor to minister for Home Affairs. This is a story of ambition, race and power, and a politician with a plan.

Dutton became Liberal leader with a strategy to win outer-suburban and regional seats from Labor. Since then we have seen his demolition of the Voice and a rolling campaign of culture wars. What does Peter Dutton know about the Australian electorate? Has he updated Menzies’ Forgotten People pitch for the age of anxiety, or will he collapse the Liberals’ broad church? This revelatory portrait is sardonic, perceptive and altogether compelling.

“Dutton doesn’t need to become prime minister to redraw the battle lines of Australian politics. His fight with Albanese over parochial voters was always going to drag the political conversation rightwards- on race, immigration, gender and the pace of a transition away from fossil fuels … Dutton’s raison d’atre? Make Australia Afraid Again. Then he will offer himself as the lesser of two evils. A serious strongman for the age of anxiety.”-Bad Cop, Lech Blaine

This issue also contains correspondence discussing Quarterly Essay 92, The Great Divide, from Nicole Haddow, Joseph Walker, Judith Brett, Brendan Coates & Joey Moloney, Mark Walker, Peter Tulip, Nicholas Reece, Pete Wargent, Peter Mares, Saul Eslake, Stephen Smith, Evan Thornley & Jane-Frances Kelly, and Alan Kohler.