In Australia, there is trouble brewing in parliament. After the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, “embarrassingly backed down over his signature energy policy, the National Energy Guarantee,” according to Junkee, Peter Dutton, the Minister for Home Affairs, Immigration and Border Protection, decided that now might be the perfect time for a leadership spill.
Dutton’s attempt at a leadership spill (being called the libspill on social media) was unsuccessful, with Turnbull defeating Dutton, with 48 votes to 35. As a result of this, Julie Bishop was re-elected as Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party unopposed. Dutton then resigned from his position as Minister for Home Affairs, according to News.com.au.
Including this latest challenge, there have been 73 leadership spills in Australia since 1970. So, you could say that leadership spills happen regularly in the Australian government. In fact, Malcolm Turnbull came into power after challenging Tony Abbott’s leadership in 2015. So, it seems that Turnbull can now have empathy for both sides of the leadership spill.
However, for a man in the U.S. who shares the same name, this was all news to him.
Peter Dutton, from Austin, Texas, according to his Twitter profile, has been receiving messages from confused Aussies who think he is the Australian politician.
I wish the people of Australia would look at my profile and realize I’m a 30 yr old black man before sending me tweets and DMs. https://t.co/vzTF8JeMlZ— Peter Dutton (@PeterDutton5) August 23, 2018
In the tweet, the U.S. Dutton is unclear as to what sorts of messages he has received from confused Aussies. However, since his post, which has been liked more than 5,000 times and retweeted 1.7K times, many Australians have embraced the confusion.
Some Australians suggest that they have just found a prime minister alternative in the U.S. Peter Dutton.
The U.S. Dutton was impressed.
“Pretty sure my last tweet has made me the leading candidate for PM of Australia,” he responded via Twitter. “USA! It’s been real, mate.”
Others would like to offer the U.S. Dutton a place to stay in Australia should he ever decide to visit the country, especially if he decides his own leadership spill on the current Australian government.
I’ve now found a place to stay. Australians are my newest cousins. https://t.co/Dr8539SV0W— Peter Dutton (@PeterDutton5) August 23, 2018
“I’ve found a place to stay,” the U.S. Dutton replied when someone offered up their residence. “Australians are my newest cousins.”
Unfortunately, while leadership spills are common in Australia, according to the legislation, only Australian citizens are eligible to apply for a parliamentarian position.
How do we know that? Well, that seems to be the other way in which members can be ousted from their position. In 2017 through to 2018, the Australian government had a constitutional crisis when it was revealed that 15 members of parliament had dual citizenship and were, effectively, ineligible for their position on account of section 44(i) of the Australian Constitution that prohibits members from having allegiance to a foreign power, especially citizenship.
And, for the record, the Australian parliament member Peter Dutton does have his own Twitter account. However, his comes complete with the verified tick from Twitter.