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‘Cuddly Pete’ shows off softer image by offering free hugs in Queen Street Mall

Determined to prove that he really does have a softer side, incoming Opposition Leader Peter Dutton – or ‘Cuddly Pete’ as he’s known to friends and colleagues – was snapped giving away free hugs to shoppers in Brisbane’s Queen Street Mall on the weekend.

Shouting “Line up in an orderly fashion to receive your complimentary cuddle’, Dutton implored passers-by to accept his offer. “I am a gentle and kind human being! Look at how tender and loving I am!” he screamed, as shoppers crossed the road to avoid him.

Colleagues, friends and journalists who know the Liberal MP personally, insist the real Peter Dutton is funnier, kinder and more compassionate than his public persona suggests. Dutton’s office said the shopping mall visit was a chance for him to show voters this more genuine side of his personality.

“I am compassionate, kind and funny!” Dutton bellowed, as the visit stretched into its second hour. “Come and hug me! It’s free!”

At the time of publication, no voters had taken up the generous offer.

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