Everything you need to know about Peter Dutton

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·News Reporter
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  • Peter Dutton
    Australian politician
  • Charles Dutton
    Australian politician (1834-1904)

With the next Federal Election likely to be called for May 2022, Yahoo News Australia has answered the most popular questions people are Googling about Minister for Defence, Peter Dutton.

Where did Peter Dutton grow up?

Mr Dutton was born in the northern Brisbane suburb of Boondall and is the eldest of five children.

He completed high school at the Anglican St Paul's School in Bald Hills.

Minister for Defence Peter Dutton speaking in Parliament.
Minister for Defence Peter Dutton was a Queensland police officer for nine years. Source: Getty Images.

Who is Peter Dutton married to? Does he have children?

Mr Dutton had a short-lived marriage at the age of 22.

He has a daughter born in 2002.

He married his second wife, Kirilly (née Brumby) in 2003, with whom he has two sons.

How tall is Peter Dutton?

185cm (6’1).

What is Peter Dutton's ethnic background?

Mr Dutton is the great, great grandson of the pastoralist squatter and former Queensland lands minister Charles Boydell Dutton.

He is also a descendant of Captain Richard James Coley, who was Queensland's first Sergeant-at-Arms.

Was Peter Dutton a police officer?

Mr Dutton was a police officer in Queensland for nine years from 1990.

He worked in the Drug Squad, the Sex Offenders Squad and the National Crime Authority.

Mr Dutton left Queensland Police in 1999 following injuries sustained in an accident on duty where his unmarked car rolled while in pursuit of an escaped prisoner.

What is Peter Dutton's religion?

Peter Dutton identifies as a Christian but his public activities are rare.

When did Peter Dutton enter politics?

Mr Dutton was elected to the Division of Dickson at the 2001 election, defeating Labor's Cheryl Kernot.

Peter Dutton faces the media in Canberra
Peter Dutton has faced a string of controversies in his time on the Coalition frontbench, including the au pairs scandal. Source: Getty Images.

What political positions has Peter Dutton held?

Mr Dutton held positions as Minister for Workforce Participation and Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Revenue until the Coalition’s defeat in the 2007 election, where he hung onto his seat by just 217 votes.

He was appointed to the shadow cabinet by the new Liberal leader Brendan Nelson, as Shadow Minister for Finance, Competition Policy and Deregulation.

When Malcolm Turnbull won the Liberal Party leadership in September 2008, he appointed Dutton as Shadow Minister for Health and Ageing.

When the Coalition won government at the 2013 election under Tony Abbott, he appointed Mr Dutton Minister for Health and Minister for Sport.

In later reshuffles Mr Dutton became Minister for Immigration and Border Protection (2014-17), Minister for Home Affairs (2017-2021) and Minister for Defence (May 2021- current).

In August 2018 discontent with Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership resulted in a leadership ballot, to which Mr Dutton was the main challenger.

Mr Dutton lost the ballot but Turnbull resigned, with Scott Morrison eventually being voted in as leader over Mr Dutton.

What controversies has Peter Dutton been involved in?

Stolen generations apology

In 2008, Mr Dutton chose not to be present in the Parliament chamber when then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd delivered the apology to the stolen generations.

He explained his boycott saying that it would not “deliver tangible outcomes to kids who are being raped and tortured in communities in the 21st century.”

He later said he regretted boycotting the apology.

The 'mad witch' accidental text message

In 2016, News Corp Sunday political editor Samantha Maiden wrote a column critical of former Liberal MP Jamie Briggs.

Mr Dutton drafted a text message to Briggs describing Maiden as a "mad ***** witch" but accidentally sent it directly to Maiden, forcing him to apologise to her.

Illiterate refugee comments

Mr Dutton publicly criticised refugees as "illiterate and innumerate" and "taking Australian jobs" before the 2016 election.

The comments caused a stir nationally and internationally and at the election his margin fell from 7.6 to 1.6 points against Labor candidate Linda Lavarch.

Sarah Hanson-Young

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young accused Mr Dutton of spying on her during a visit to the detention facility on Nauru in 2015.

Mr Dutton denied the claims saying: “She loves the camera and she loves to see her own name in the paper.”

Senator Hanson-Young’s claims were later confirmed by the Immigration Department and Wilson Security who carried out the operation.

Au pair cases

In 2015 it was revealed that Mr Dutton and other senior bureaucrats at the Department of Immigration had intervened in granting visas to two au pairs.

One of the au pairs from Italy had worked for a former colleague of Mr Dutton’s in the Queensland Police, and after she was due to be deported for breaching her visa conditions, Mr Dutton used his Ministerial powers to reverse the decision.

Mr Dutton was also implicated in the case of stopping a French au pair’s deportation after lobbying from AFL CEO Gillan McLachlan who was related to the family the au pair worked for.

The scandal sparked a senate inquiry as Mr Dutton claimed he had no personal connection to either case, but he hung onto his job despite the inquiry recommending he be censured.

Rising seas joke

An open microphone caught Mr Dutton joking about rising sea levels in Pacific nations before a community meeting on Syrian refugees in 2015.

Mr Dutton was speaking with then Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Minister for Social Services Scott Morrison before the meeting and joked about a previous meeting Mr Abbott attended at Port Moresby that ran late, saying: “Time doesn’t mean anything when you’re, you know, about to have water lapping at your door.”

Comments on Lebanese immigration

Mr Dutton also took aim at Lebanese Muslim Immigrants, saying during a parliamentary debate in 2016 that it was a "mistake" by the Malcom Fraser government to allow them to settle in Australia.

The comments drew anger from Lebanese Australian Muslims but Mr Dutton stood by his words, claiming he was only referring to those that had been charged with terrorism offences.

Peter Dutton stares at the camera.
Some sources claim Peter Dutton has a net worth of up to $300 million. Source: Getty Images.

Manus Island shootings

Mr Dutton was blasted in 2017 for his account of an alleged incident at the Manus Island detention centre where shots were fired by the PNG navy.

Mr Dutton claimed that the shooting was sparked by refugees seen leading a boy of about five into the centre, but local police and defence force evidence stated it was the result of a football match.

Greens Senator Nick McKim accused Mr Dutton of blatantly lying over the incident, saying it had “disturbing echoes of the children overboard affair lies."

The Manus Island detention centre was closed later that year.

Controversial Manus Island contract 

Mr Dutton and his department came under heavy criticism when it was revealed in 2019 that a little-known company had been awarded a contract worth up to $17 million a month to provide security at three refugee centres on Manus Island. 

The contract was secretly awarded through a closed tender process with the relatively unknown company later found to be registered to a beach shack on Kangaroo Island and a PO box in Singapore.

South African farm attacks

Mr Dutton again attracted widespread criticism following moves to settle white farmers from South Africa in Australia in 2018.

He said that the farmers needed help from “a civilised country”, which was met with anger from the South African foreign ministry.

What is Peter Dutton worth?

Peter Dutton’s net worth in 2021 is estimated by some sources as up to $300 million.

After leaving the Queensland Police he and his father founded the business Dutton Holdings, which bought, renovated, and converted buildings into childcare centres.

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