‘Sorry for him’: Support for Dutton’s son

Nick Bracks and Tom Dutton.
Nick Bracks, left, has offered words of support for Tom Dutton.

The son of a former state Premier, who was convicted of drink-driving and causing a violent car crash which was a factor in the end of his dad’s political career, has come out in support of Peter Dutton’s son.

An image of Tom Dutton, 18, holding a bag of white powder was splashed across the news in the past week.

Nick Bracks’ father Steve was Premier of Victoria in 2007, when 20-year-old Nick totalled the family car after a multi-day binge.

Images relating to Nick Bracks speaking in defence of Peter Dutton's son. Picture: Channel 10
Nick Bracks had brushes with the public eye, until he was thrust into it for his criminal mistake. Picture: Channel 10
Images relating to Nick Bracks speaking in defense of Peter Dutton's son. Picture: Channel 10
The news of Mr Bracks’ crash contributed to his father’s career ending. Picture: Channel 10

“I feel sorry for him,” Nick said of Peter Dutton’s son.

“I wouldn’t condone the behaviour, but he is an 18-year-old kid experimenting with things like a lot of other kids,” Nick said on The Project Monday night.

“Growing up being referred to as, ‘you are the son of this person’ ... it makes you think, well, what do I need to do for people to say me as Nick Bracks and not the son of Steve Bracks?”

“Being that young and having people say these different things to you for something that you’ve done in your own private life can become a difficult thing to deal with.”

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton. Picture: NewsWire / Martin Ollman

Last week an image, which went out via Tom Dutton’s social media, wound up making newspaper front pages.

“Birthday day treat. Hello how u goin”, the quickly-deleted image was captioned.

“I haven’t been in touch with Tom but I would love to speak to him, if he ever wanted to,” Nick said on television.

Back in 2007, 20-year-old Nick had suffered an injury which ended his dreams of being a professional athlete.

On his own admission, his behaviour spiralled and he leant on alcohol as a coping mechanism.

Images relating to Nick Bracks speaking in defence of Peter Dutton's son. Picture: Channel 10
Nick Bracks has since worked in the mental health space. Picture: Channel 10

On a wet night in suburban Melbourne, after consecutive days of drinking, Nick spun out doing 90km/h in a 60 zone, smashed a tree and injured his friend in the passenger seat. He was convicted of drink-driving and fined $750.

Premier Steve Bracks’ son being involved in such an incident hit the headlines quickly, and reporters camped out outside the family home.

Premier Bracks already had plans to resign, but quit less than two weeks after the crash.

“Dad has always been amazing,” Nick wrote in an opinion piece this week for Nine Newspapers.

Images relating to Nick Bracks speaking in defence of Peter Dutton's son. Picture: Channel 10
Steve Bracks was Premier for eight years. Picture: Channel 10

“But that pressure from other people really played on me. He became premier when I was 12, and I spent my entire teenage life having that follow me around.”

On television Monday night, Nick said he felt sorry for Tom Dutton being embroiled in scrutiny for having a prominent father.

“So I felt sorry for the guy and felt I needed to speak out about it.”

The political response to Mr Dutton’s son’s incident has been similarly restrained and understanding.

“I’ve got no comment at all. Peter Dutton’s a public figure, but his son’s not,” Labor frontbencher Tanya Plibersek said at the time.

Mr Dutton’s office batted away media inquiries as well, other than to say the issue was a private matter.

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