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Peter Dutton believes the Liberals are capable of winning the next federal election as he jokes he’s “not the prettiest bloke” amid a campaign to soften his public image.

The only contender for next week’s Liberal party leadership ballot has told 2GB he has the experience across a range of portfolios to head the party.

He believes the Liberals can win the next federal election but said there was a lot of work to do between now and then.

Former defence minister and the federal member for Dickson Peter Dutton with his family (left to right) son Tom, daughter Rebecca, wife Kirilly and son Harry in Brisbane. Dan Peled

“The Liberal Party has to get back to being the Liberal Party and being the broad church and making sure that we represent all Australians, but with a particular focus on people out in the suburbs, people who are doing a tough,” Dutton said.

“We’re not the conservative-moderate party, we are the Liberal Party. And that’s that’s the approach that I want to take.

“It is a broad church and there were people from … the left and the right when John Howard led the party.

“We’re a better party if we listen to those views and come up with policies, but we’re a centre-right party. That’s the reality of who we are and who we need to be into the future.”

Addressing criticism against him, following Tanya Plibersek comparing him to Voldemort, Dutton said he was “not the prettiest bloke on the block”.

“But I’ve hope I’m going to be pretty effective (as likely Liberal leader),” he said, dismissing Plibersek’s comment as “water off a duck’s back”.

He said the fact he believed strongly in supporting families and small businesses “doesn’t make me some extreme right-wing person” and believed in god but didn’t bring that into public life.

Dutton believed Coalition MP Karen Andrews would have made a great deputy leader, it wasn’t tenable to have both the leader and their deputy coming from the same state.

“There are candidates there with, you know, significant experience,” he said.

“In this game, you need time under your belt, you need to have the experience, the highs, the lows because I think you’ve come out a tougher character and you’re able to deal with the realities of high office.

“There are some candidates there and I’m very fortunate that there are a number who could serve very ably as the deputy and we’re just working on that at the moment.”


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