| 13.04,19. 02:55 PM |
Peter Dutton apologises to Labor Dickson rival Ali France for disability comment
Peter Dutton has apologised to his Labor opponent Ali France for suggesting she was using her disability as an "excuse" for not living in the Dickson electorate.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison yesterday defended Mr Dutton, saying he did not believe the Home Affairs Minister was using her disability as a basis of a political attack.
But Mr Dutton apologised on Twitter this afternoon.
"My argument with the Labor candidate is about how our respective policies would affect the people of Dixon," he wrote.
Ms France, Labor's candidate for the south-east Queensland seat of Dickson, had her left leg amputated above her knee after a car crashed into her at a shopping centre in 2011.
She lives in the neighbouring electorate and said she has been looking for a wheelchair accessible home in Dickson.
Mr Dutton yesterday told The Australian there were plenty of people living with a disability in the electorate.
"A lot of people have raised this with me. I think they are quite angry that Ms France is using her disability as an excuse for not moving into our electorate," he said.
"Ali has been telling people that even if she won the election she won't move into our electorate. She has now changed that position, but I don't think it is credible."
Earlier today, Labor senator Kristina Keneally ramped up the Opposition's attack on Mr Dutton, urging the Prime Minister to force him to apologise.
"Is Mr Morrison afraid of Mr Dutton? Mr Dutton, after all, is a thug," she said.
"Mr Dutton is the most toxic man in the Liberal Party."
Tanya Plibersek slams Dutton over disability comments (ABC News)
Chief executive of disability service group Community Connections Dougie Herd said Mr Dutton's comments were insensitive and offensive.
"I am completely appalled and I simply cannot imagine [in] what universe Peter Dutton thinks an amputee would use her disability to get an advantage out of life," he said.
"It is bizarre and it is offensive."
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten also earlier said the comments were offensive and called on the Prime Minister to urge Mr Dutton to apologise.
"How can you launch a personal attack on a person who has suffered an above-the-knee amputation trying to protect their child?" Mr Shorten said.
"And then say somehow they are exploiting that."
Meanwhile, Labor deputy leader Tanya Plibersek called Mr Dutton a hypocrite and said Ms France's home was "a lot closer to the electorate than Peter Dutton's Gold Coast mansion".
"I hear from some people that Peter Dutton is a horrible human being — put that on the record," Ms Plibersek said.