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Senior Labor MP Tanya Plibersek apologises for brutal ‘appearance shaming’ of Peter Dutton

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Senior Labor MP Tanya Plibersek has apologised after launching a bizarre attack on Liberal MP Peter Dutton.

Speaking on Brisbane radio station 4BC, Plibersek compared Dutton, who is expected to become the new Liberal Party leader following the Coalition’s election loss, to Voldemort – the much-feared villain of the Harry Potter films and books.

“Well I think there will be a lot of children who have watched a lot of Harry Potter films who will be very frightened of what they will see at night, that’s for sure,” she said.

Watch the latest news on Channel 7 or stream for free on 7plus >>

Radio host Scott Emerson, who was interviewing Plibersek, seemed shocked at the reply and asked Plibersek for clarification.

“What, are you saying he looks strange, he looks odd?” he asked.

Tanya Plibersek compared Peter Dutton, who is expected to become the new Liberal Party leader following the Coalition’s election loss, to Voldemort – the much-feared villain of the Harry Potter films and books. Credit: AAP

“I am saying he looks a bit like Voldemort, and we will see whether he can do what he promised he would do when he was last running for leader, which is smile more,” Plibersek replied

Emerson then asked Plibersek if she was attacking the Liberal MP’s appearance.

Tanya Plibersek was blasted over her comments about Liberal MP Peter Dutton.
Tanya Plibersek was blasted over her comments about Liberal MP Peter Dutton. Credit: LUKAS COCH/AAPIMAGE

“No, I am just saying he is not the warm and friendly face of the Liberal party,” she replied.

“And if this last election taught us anything, it taught us that the Liberal Party has moved too far to the extremes of politics.”

Emerson – a former Queensland state Liberal National MP – later blasted Plibersek for her comments.

“It was a bit below her, I don’t normally hear her say those sorts of things, I was a bit shocked when she did say that,” he said.

“I think it was poor, and I suspect she is regretting that right now.”

Plibersek, who is tipped to be the next federal education minister, has since reached out to Dutton to apologise after coming under fire for her comments.

Former defence minister Peter Dutton speaks to the media (file)
Former defence minister Peter Dutton is expected to be elected unopposed as Liberal Party leader. Credit: AAP

2GB host Ben Fordham reported that she had reached out to Dutton to apologise directly.

“I shouldn’t have said it,” she said.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese told Sunrise that Plibersek had done the “appropriate thing” by saying sorry for her sledge.

“We should not refer to peoples’ appearance,” he told David Koch and Natalie Barr on Thursday.

Albanese said he was “dead serious” about “changing the way that politics operates” in Australia now that he’s in the top job.

“People, when they make a mistake, they shoulda apologise and we move on,” he said.

“That’s one of the ways that we can change the way that politics operates and Tanya has done the appropriate thing here.”

Watch the prime minister respond to Tanya Plibersek’s comments below

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It comes after West Australian Premier Mark McGowan also attacked Dutton this week.

“He’s an extremist, and I don’t think he fits with modern Australia at all,” McGowan said on Monday.

“He doesn’t seem to listen, he’s extremely conservative and I actually don’t think he’s that smart.

“I’ve seen him present on things (and) I don’t really pick up there’s much there.”

“As opposed to Scott Morrison, who is a clever guy, I don’t pick up that Peter Dutton is fit to be prime minister.”


Senior Labor MP Tanya Plibersek has apologised after launching a bizarre attack on Liberal MP Peter Dutton.

Speaking on Brisbane radio station 4BC, Plibersek compared Dutton, who is expected to become the new Liberal Party leader following the Coalition’s election loss, to Voldemort – the much-feared villain of the Harry Potter films and books.

“Well I think there will be a lot of children who have watched a lot of Harry Potter films who will be very frightened of what they will see at night, that’s for sure,” she said.

Watch the latest news on Channel 7 or stream for free on 7plus >>

Radio host Scott Emerson, who was interviewing Plibersek, seemed shocked at the reply and asked Plibersek for clarification.

“What, are you saying he looks strange, he looks odd?” he asked.

Tanya Plibersek compared Peter Dutton, who is expected to become the new Liberal Party leader following the Coalition’s election loss, to Voldemort - the much-feared villain of the Harry Potter films and books.
Tanya Plibersek compared Peter Dutton, who is expected to become the new Liberal Party leader following the Coalition’s election loss, to Voldemort – the much-feared villain of the Harry Potter films and books. Credit: AAP

“I am saying he looks a bit like Voldemort, and we will see whether he can do what he promised he would do when he was last running for leader, which is smile more,” Plibersek replied

Emerson then asked Plibersek if she was attacking the Liberal MP’s appearance.

Tanya Plibersek was blasted over her comments about Liberal MP Peter Dutton.
Tanya Plibersek was blasted over her comments about Liberal MP Peter Dutton. Credit: LUKAS COCH/AAPIMAGE

“No, I am just saying he is not the warm and friendly face of the Liberal party,” she replied.

“And if this last election taught us anything, it taught us that the Liberal Party has moved too far to the extremes of politics.”

Emerson – a former Queensland state Liberal National MP – later blasted Plibersek for her comments.

“It was a bit below her, I don’t normally hear her say those sorts of things, I was a bit shocked when she did say that,” he said.

“I think it was poor, and I suspect she is regretting that right now.”

Plibersek, who is tipped to be the next federal education minister, has since reached out to Dutton to apologise after coming under fire for her comments.

Former defence minister Peter Dutton speaks to the media (file)
Former defence minister Peter Dutton is expected to be elected unopposed as Liberal Party leader. Credit: AAP

2GB host Ben Fordham reported that she had reached out to Dutton to apologise directly.

“I shouldn’t have said it,” she said.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese told Sunrise that Plibersek had done the “appropriate thing” by saying sorry for her sledge.

“We should not refer to peoples’ appearance,” he told David Koch and Natalie Barr on Thursday.

Albanese said he was “dead serious” about “changing the way that politics operates” in Australia now that he’s in the top job.

“People, when they make a mistake, they shoulda apologise and we move on,” he said.

“That’s one of the ways that we can change the way that politics operates and Tanya has done the appropriate thing here.”

Watch the prime minister respond to Tanya Plibersek’s comments below

If you’d like to view this content, please adjust your .

To find out more about how we use cookies, please see our Cookie Guide.

It comes after West Australian Premier Mark McGowan also attacked Dutton this week.

“He’s an extremist, and I don’t think he fits with modern Australia at all,” McGowan said on Monday.

“He doesn’t seem to listen, he’s extremely conservative and I actually don’t think he’s that smart.

“I’ve seen him present on things (and) I don’t really pick up there’s much there.”

“As opposed to Scott Morrison, who is a clever guy, I don’t pick up that Peter Dutton is fit to be prime minister.”

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