Jack's column: Dutton masters the art of ignorance
TWO things shocked me this week.
First, there was Peter Dutton.
Then, there was the announcement of a particular casting in the Australian version of 'Aladdin - The Musical'.
They've found their Jasmine.
Believe it or not, though, there is a link between the two.
I'll start with Peter.
Earlier this week, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton made some negative press for himself by basically saying anyone desperately seeking settlement in Australia is - well - stupid.
"Many (refugee) people, they won't be numerate or literate in their own language, let alone English," he said, with about the same amount of emotion and empathy as a fatigued peanut.
I enjoy quite immensely the irony in the fact that we actually use the Hindu-Arabic numeral system; I guess none of us are quite numerate when it comes to English either.
Please, deport me, Mr Dutton.
Of course, he didn't end there.
Instead, he went on to point out how refugees would do nothing but steal our jobs and welfare payments, and, rather miraculously when you think about it, steal both of them at the same time.
What Peter Dutton said this week, however, was not of particular shock or interest to me.
Instead, it was the timing of our Foreign Minister Julie Bishop's statements that had my head suddenly itching.
Which brings me back to the Aladdin cast.
American Arielle Jacobs is the lucky gal who will have the chance to get her Disney princess on when the hit musical hits Australian shores.
Only trouble is, she will hit Australian shores not too long before it.
But believe it or not, there are actually actors in Australia.
Female ones too!
Are you seeing where I am going with this, Peter?
Hiring an American actor may not seem like a huge travesty.
I mean, she is American, after all; their actors must be better.
Heck, that is the nation that gave us 'Freddy Got Fingered', 'Sharknado' and 'Dude, Where's My Car?'.
What could possibly go wrong?
None of this is Arielle's fault.
I'm sure she has the talent to justify her selection, the look to suit her role and she's probably a perfectly delightful human to boot.
But that's not the point.
The point is that there are countless Australian women who fit that description as well.
Look, I was probably never a chance to play Jasmine.
I'm not of Arab descent, I'm not a female and, if I'm truly honest with myself, I just don't have the eyes for it.
Perhaps none of my friends would have played Jasmine either.
But to fly in an American artist to do an Australian's work in one of the most competitive industries there is basically flies a "You're not up to it" banner in the faces of hundreds of Australian actors who work tirelessly on their craft each day for opportunities such as this.
The arts is hardly the only employment sector affected by this.
That said, Mr Dutton, if you truly are as passionate about work for Australians and only Australians as you claim to be, perhaps you could start by stopping people with careers and livelihoods in their own countries from taking our jobs before continuing to punish those who have clearly been left with no choice.
But hey, if you listened to me, that would be my third shock for the week.
And there's only so much I can take.