As the Coalition’s leadership implosion continued on Thursday, Peter Dutton’s phone was buzzing with notifications.
For the past year, Mr Dutton — a 30-year-old who lives in the American city of Austin — has received messages of support and criticism from Twitter users who have mistaken him for the man hoping to become Australia’s next prime minister.
As Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s front bench deserted him and things reached fever pitch, Mr Dutton fired off a tweet which has now gone viral.
“I wish the people of Australia would look at my profile and realize I’m a 30 yr old black man before sending me tweets and DMs,” he wrote from his account @PeterDutton5.
The Liberal Party’s Peter Dutton uses the verified account @PeterDutton_MP.
The American Mr Dutton has since been inundated with requests for him to come to Canberra.
“You would totally be welcome to come down and take over. You can stay at my place until they have the official residence ready for you,” one wrote.
“Sorry we’re mostly idiots out here. We didn’t mean to dump our nasty politics at you,” another said.
For Mr Dutton, a married father who works as a popcorn company sales manager, the added attention was something he was “not prepared at all for”.
While he is a newcomer to Australian politics, Mr Dutton has been a close follower of the Trump administration.
“A lot of things I thought I’d only ever see again in history books have awakened in our present day since the Trump transition,” he said.
“With that being said, I think it’s also brought a lot of people together and I’m optimistic that we’ll make the changes needed to bury the ugly side of history again.”
Make this guy our next prime minister! https://t.co/O0O510gNfB
— JOE! (@joe__boy) August 23, 2018
Mr Dutton said he would not be changing his account handle anytime soon.
“I’ll just keep redirecting those that get us confused to the right place, in hope they get heard,” he said.
“I wish the Australian people nothing but blessings and luck!”
I’ve now found a place to stay. Australians are my newest cousins. https://t.co/Dr8539SV0W
— Peter Dutton (@PeterDutton5) August 23, 2018
Mr Dutton joins a long line of Twitter users who have been mistaken for celebrities or high-profile events.
American Ashley Kerekes, who uses the account @theashes, still receives regular messages despite her bio stating she is “not a freaking cricket match!”.
ESPN sports writer Steve Smith also received a barrage of messages, after the Australian cricket captain was involved in the ball-tampering scandal earlier this year.