My Pete’s no monster: Dutton’s wife
THE fed-up wife of Peter Dutton has launched a heartfelt defence of her husband, declaring "he's no monster", while revealing the sickening and vile death threats her family receives from "cowards".
The normally private Kirilly Dutton today exclusively provides an insight into the "horrendous" material targeting Peter and their children, and shares private moments of a loving father in a bid to show the other side of one of Australia's most hard-nosed politicians.
The pair have been married for 16 years - they met when Mr Dutton ran for his seat of Dickson in 2001.
A successful businesswoman Mrs Dutton said her husband's public profile was incongruous with the man she loved.
"He is a really good man. He is a really good father and he's not a monster,'' Mrs Dutton, 45, told The Sunday Mail.
She said it concerned her that people had the wrong idea about him, but also admitted she understood why.
"Anybody who knows him well gets quite riled up about the things people say about him, because they say, 'that's not him'. You've got to bear in mind he's the Minister for Home Affairs. It's not a light and bubbly subject.
"What he's doing - particularly in the national security, visas and changing people's lives, where they can stay or come and go and those sorts of things - it's not something he can afford to be glib or light about, so that is often the person people see.
"He's not sitting there randomly putting red pen strikes through visa applications and things like that. Everything that comes across his desk is very seriously considered. He is very pragmatic and considered in every decision he makes. He is a person of conviction."
Mr Dutton, 48, who has a daughter Rebecca, 17, from a previous relationship, is also father to Harry, 15, and Tommy, 14.
The Duttons constantly have a shadow.
The former detective has around-the-clock close personal protection and the Federal Police have a permanent station on his property.
Even on family holidays, the AFP are there because of the real threats from organised criminals, bikies and activists.
Mrs Dutton said the family did not change how they lived their lives, despite the constant threats, but said it shook her when the threats were so personal, especially about her children.
Emails sent to the childcare centres she owns have included shocking photoshopped images of her husband being killed or maimed.
"I've had some really, really disturbing stuff via email and the unfortunate part is they are sending it to my childcare centres and my staff are reading some really, really horrific things.
"They are so demented and perverted. They are personal attacks, death threats, threats of injury, threatening our children by name. It makes me angry and really upsets me.
"These are the times I'm extremely grateful to the AFP. We are really blessed with the close personal protection team and the team we have at home. They are really lovely people and they're fantastic for my peace of mind to have around home. We don't change how we live our lives one bit. We still go to our kids' sporting engagements, we go out to dinner with friends, we still go on holidays; we are just living our lives with a little bit more support, I guess."
Mrs Dutton said she was proud of her husband's professional achievements but was proudest of how he juggled career and fatherhood.
"There's a lot of dad jokes. He loves to give them a hard time at the dinner table. They pretend to find it completely horrifying but they actually love it and laugh like crazy.
"He's an amazing dad given the job he keeps. I feel that he is far better than me at compartmentalising everything.
"If he's got a colleague on the phone, they absolutely have his 110 per cent attention but he'll hang up from the phone call and one of the kids will have a question about an assignment or they'll want him to bowl a few balls outside in the backyard or Rebecca's driving lessons (he does that with them)."
Mrs Dutton said her husband did all of the required 100 hours of supervised driving with Rebecca so she could get her learner's licence.
"Obviously, his policing background gave him an insight into driving, but more than anything, I think it was just an opportunity too good to miss to have 100 hours in a car with his teenage daughter. They did do a lot of long drives (and) they'd get to talk about different things at different times perhaps he wouldn't have been able to touch on before."
Describing him as a "cricket tragic", she revealed that Mr Dutton last year also umpired a couple of matches of his kids' club cricket games.
She said the family worked as a team, but the pair also tried to have quiet moments with each other.
Mrs Dutton said her husband's attempted leadership coup against Malcolm Turnbull last year was a "crazy" period, but she said she and her husband had received much support from family, friends and those in the electorate.
The seat of Dickson is on a knife-edge margin of 1.7 per cent, but Mrs Dutton believes her husband can hang on again.
In 2016, he defeated former Queensland attorney-general Linda Lavarch. This time he is battling against disability advocate Ali France.
"He has fantastic staff and a fantastic campaign team," Mrs Dutton said.
"My role is basically to look after the kids, to make sure they are sorted, and be a sounding board if he needs it."