Australia

Nick Bracks defends Peter Dutton’s son over ‘white powder’ photo scandal on The Project

The son of a former state premier, who was convicted of drink-driving and causing a violent car crash that was a factor in the end of his father’s political career, has taken over the defense of Peter Dutton’s son.

Last week, a photo of Tom Dutton, 18, holding a bag of white powder was all over the news.

Steve Bracks was premier of Victoria in 2007 when his son Nick, then 20, totaled the family car after days of drinking.

“I feel sorry for him,” Nick said of Tom on The Project on Monday night.

‘I wouldn’t condone this behavior, but he’s an 18-year-old boy who, like many other kids, experiments with things.

“When you grow up saying ‘you’re this person’s son’… you think, ‘What do I have to do to get people to see me as Nick Bracks and not Steve Bracks’ son?’

“Being so young and having people say these different things to you for something you did in your private life can be difficult to deal with.”

Last week, an image of Tom Dutton made public via social media appeared on the front pages of newspapers across the country.

A week ago, a photo surfaced on Snapchat showing Tom Dutton, 18, (pictured) carrying a bag of white powder

A week ago, a photo surfaced on Snapchat of Tom Dutton, 18, (pictured) seen holding a bag of white powder in his hands

Nick Bracks (pictured) told The Project he feels sorry for the opposition leader's son

Nick Bracks (pictured) told The Project he feels sorry for the opposition leader’s son

‘Birthday treat. Hello, how are you? The quickly deleted image was captioned.

“I haven’t had any contact with Tom yet, but I would love to speak to him if he ever wants to,” Nick said on television.

In 2007, 20-year-old Nick was injured, shattering his dream of becoming a professional athlete.

He himself admitted that his behavior was getting out of control and that he was using alcohol as a coping mechanism.

On a wet night in the suburbs of Melbourne, after back-to-back days of drinking, Nick spun out while driving 90 km/h in a 60 zone, crushing a tree and injuring his friend in the passenger seat. He was convicted of driving under the influence and fined $750.

As the son of the prime minister, the incident quickly made headlines, with reporters camping outside the family home.

Prime Minister Bracks had already planned to resign, but stepped down less than two weeks after the crash.

“Dad has always been wonderful,” Nick wrote in an opinion piece for Nine Newspapers this week.

Nick Bracks (pictured in 2007), who was caught drink driving at the age of 20, has spoken in defence of Peter Dutton's son

Nick Bracks (pictured in 2007), who was caught drink driving at the age of 20, has spoken in defence of Peter Dutton’s son

‘But that pressure from other people really got to me. He became prime minister when I was 12, and I spent my whole teenage years feeling like he was following me around.’

On Monday night, Nick said on television that he felt sorry for Tom Dutton being scrutinized for having a prominent father.

“So I felt sorry for that man and felt I had to talk about it.”

The political response to Mr Dutton’s son’s incident has been equally restrained and understanding from both sides of Parliament.

‘I have no comment at all. Peter Dutton is a public figure but his son is not,” Labor frontbencher Tanya Plibersek said last week.

Mr Dutton’s office also batted away questions from the media, other than saying the matter was a private matter.

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