Dutton ‘regrets’ disability comments

HOME Affairs Minister Peter Dutton says he regrets accusing his Labor opponent using her disability as an excuse for not living in the electorate.

A day after apologising to Labor's candidate for Dickson Ali France on Twitter, the senior cabinet minister confirmed he was sorry.

But he was keen to shift the subject to the election campaign.

"I made comment yesterday obviously in relation to it, I regret having said the words I said," Mr Dutton told reporters at an LNP rally in Brisbane on Sunday.

"Now the focus, as the Prime Minister said, in this campaign is making sure we can manage the economy well and pay for the services we need."

 

Ali France is Labor's candidate for the federal seat of Dickson. Picture: AAP Image/Darren England
Ali France is Labor's candidate for the federal seat of Dickson. Picture: AAP Image/Darren England

Ms France, who had her leg amputated after she was hit by a car protecting her child in 2011, said she had been unable to find an accessible home in Dickson but would buy a house and modify it if she won.

But Mr Dutton said voters in his seat were angry that Ms France was using her disability as an "excuse" for not moving into the electorate.

Asked whether the comments had hurt his chances of re-election in Dickson, which he holds with a 1.6 per cent margin, Mr Dutton said: "No."

 

Mr Dutton has come under for his comments about Ms France. Picture: Tracey Nearmy/Getty Images
Mr Dutton has come under for his comments about Ms France. Picture: Tracey Nearmy/Getty Images

 

"My focus is always been on what's best for the local area, that's why I've been so passionate about making sure we can deliver."

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Friday Mr Dutton's comments had been taken out of context.

Disability advocates, union figures and Labor all savaged Mr Dutton over the issue.

ACTU president Michele O'Neil told AAP Mr Dutton was a "disgrace".

 

POWERFUL STORY BEHIND PM'S BIGGEST ISSUE

Scott Morrison has revealed the reason why he thinks jobs for young people is the biggest issue at the coming election, after he received a rock star's welcome in Brisbane this afternoon.

The Prime Minister arrived a Liberal National Party rally in Brisbane to cries of "ScoMo, ScoMo" as the AC/DC song Back in Black played.

About 150 people gathered at the Brisbane Showground on Sunday afternoon to support the party with guests including ministers Peter Dutton, Michaelia Cash, Josh Frydenberg, Karen Andrews, Mathias Cormann.

Taking to the stage, Mr Morrison preached about the importance of supporting young people and shared a story about his parents, who ran boys and girls brigades for 45 years.

"They invested themselves in the youth in their community," he said.

"In my view I'm honouring their mission for young people."

 

The crowd went wild for Scott Morrison at Brisbane Showground. Picture: AAP Image/Mick Tsikas
The crowd went wild for Scott Morrison at Brisbane Showground. Picture: AAP Image/Mick Tsikas

 

He said one of the achievements he was most proud of was 100,000 young Australians had got a job last year.

"Jobs change lives, jobs change communities, jobs change nations.

"So if you want to ask me what this election is about, it's about jobs because people matter."

Mr Morrison said young people were facing many pressures today.

"We'll be reaching out to young people to ensure they know this very important fact, that they are not alone, that Australia loves and cares for its young people," he said.

"They deserve not to have the legacy of debt, they deserve not to have our generation spend their future on our standard of living."

But he said they also deserved not to be burdened with higher taxes or lost opportunities, denied because of an economy that was weighed down.

"They deserve to have hope," he said.

Mr Morrison acknowledged that young people also deserved to know there was a focus on issues that concern them.

 

Mr Morrison said this election is all about jobs. Picture: AAP Image/Mick Tsikas
Mr Morrison said this election is all about jobs. Picture: AAP Image/Mick Tsikas

"Of course we have to take action of climate change and we are taking action on climate change."


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