Dutton whacks ‘supine’ CEOs in pitch to working class


Dutton is facing pressure from influential backbenchers to muscle up to big business by enacting policies such as forced break-up laws for supermarkets.

While he has signalled an appetite to fight big business on cultural debates such as when he backed a Woolworths boycott after the supermarket stopped selling Australia Day merchandise, the opposition is yet to release economic policies pitched at cash-strapped voters.

Anthony Albanese and Peter Dutton in parliament last month.

Anthony Albanese and Peter Dutton in parliament last month.Credit: Alex Ellinghausen

Flagging a crucial election fight on inflation and energy prices, Dutton’s speech claims Anthony Albanese’s agenda forced interest rates to remain higher in Australia than overseas.

Dutton will tell corporate leaders they had a moral imperative to use their public profiles to speak out about Labor’s economic and energy policies which he said were driving business offshore.

“I meet with CEOs and chairs in private who vigorously express their frustration about the government’s damaging policies,” he will say.

“Yet in public, their comments lack the same vigour, or they choose to remain quiet – many from the fear of a social media backlash. This is not a time to be silent or supine.”

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The governments of Tony Abbott, Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison largely shunned fights on industrial relations. But Dutton pledged to overturn some of Labor’s workplace changes that he claims have made running a business overly complicated and costly.

“Menzies also spoke about how employers and employees work in a common enterprise ‘in which neither can succeed without the other’,” Dutton will say, guarding against claims that any Coalition workplace reforms would hurt employees.

Despite jitters among some Coalition MPs revealed by this masthead last week, Dutton’s speech leans into the Coalition’s plans for nuclear energy to help lower the cost of doing business in Australia.

“Nuclear is the only proven technology which emits zero emissions, which can firm up renewables, and which provides cheap, consistent and clean power,” he will say.

“And yet bizarrely, Australia is the only country in the top 20 economies which hasn’t embraced domestic nuclear power or is taking steps to do so.”

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