What makes “untouchable” personalities able to get away with everything? 31

Let's Talk


View Profile

“Untouchable” people often get away with bad behaviour, and Australians have seen a number of these personality types within our government.

Untouchable people have upsides and downsides, so its worthwhile knowing how to recognise them in your life.

Eleanor Shakiba from the University of Sydney says that untouchables often lack a sense of guilt which allows them to engage in unscrupulous behaviour.

“They don’t worry and they operate in a ways that involve taking risks. They’re able to walk away from shameful situations and remain resilient”.

Having a friend, colleague or family member who is untouchable can often be exasperating, especially when they say or do outlandish things.

“It can be incredibly frustrating as (people living with untouchables) expect consequences for this type of inappropriate behaviour”, says Shakiba.

Untouchables are highly-functional, so we often see them in powerful positions of politics and business.

Author Emily Chantiri believes Immigration Minister Peter Dutton is almost untouchable. He has made inappropriate jokes about Pacific Island nations facing rising seas, and sent insulting text messages about a female journalist.

Despite this, Dutton still maintains an influential position with Federal Parliament.

Likewise, Labor leader Bill Shorten could be considered untouchable. He was cleared by a royal commission into trade union corruption and has received poor popularity ratings.

According to Emily Chantiri though, Shorten still enjoys the support of his party.

With untouchable people often being so prominent, its helpful to know how to recognise one in your own life.

The downsides about untouchable people are:
– They can often be perceived as insensitive or cold
– They are often offensive and don’t worry about the feelings of others
– They have an intolerance of different people’s capabilities
– They don’t like being challenged

Despite this, there are some positive aspects about untouchable people:
– They have a capability to withstand enormous amounts of pressure
– They are confident in their abilities, likely to succeed and will take on difficult tasks
– They can ignore criticism and don’t worry about outside opinions
– They speak their mind even in large groups of people, and can work fluidly in different social contexts

Have you encountered somebody in life who seemed “untouchable”?How do you deal with challenging personality types like this? Are you worried that Australian politics is full of untouchables?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. I think there are quite a few untouchables in politics, people I would quickly show the door, look at George Brandis, he is defying a court order to for a print-out of the Attorney-General’s weekly electronic diary for dates between September 2013 and early 2014 , he is taking it back to court. All this is costing the taxpayer and what does he have to hide? Bronwyn Bishop is another one who can seem to rort and get away with it. Then we have Mal Brough and The Peter Slipper affair and others are involved with that as well, Christopher Pyne and Wyatt Roy. In any normal job they would all be sacked.

    1 REPLY
    • Interesting. Maybe you have to be that sort of personality to survive in politics. I have often thought that a ‘normal honest’ person would not last. I wonder if this is part of the reason why Pauline Hansen was persecuted by both sides of politics. I don’t always agree with her and sometimes she can be a loose cannon but at heart I feel she is an honest, decent person. Food for thought.

  2. Unfortunately there are a lot of them in Management positions, not to mention within the community at large.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *