The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet have instructed IT experts to remove the “reply all” button from all Immigration Minister Peter Dutton’s digital communication devices. The move comes as a safety precaution after Minister Dutton sent an SMS message describing Newscorp journalist Samantha Maiden as a “Mad fucking witch”, intended for colleague Jamie Briggs, to none other than Maiden herself. The text was intended to console Briggs who had been criticised in Maiden’s weekend column for The Daily Telegraph.
This is the latest in a string of gaffes involving digital communications by the Immigration Minister. In September, Minister Dutton was slammed for making offensive jokes in front of a running television camera and beneath a boom microphone. He habitually publishes Tweets which diminish his stature as a Cabinet Minister and degrade the standing of the government. It is unclear whether the minister is aware that these Tweets are available for public viewing.
A statement by the Prime Ministers press office said that with Dutton’s track record, the chances of “an accidentally hitting reply all incident” were “dangerously high.” Royal Commissioner Dyson Heydon was surprised to learn of the existence of a “Reply All” function, telling The (un) Australian that he would normally just ask his assistant to individually retype the message for everyone included in the initial correspondence.