When I reflect on what I have written this year it is abundantly
clear that the center of my attention has concentrated on two issues.
Firstly the subject of lying, or more accurately the Prime Minister’s
lying, and secondly the state of our democracy. But of course the two go
hand in hand.
On the first issue I am wholeheartedly sick of writing an ongoing
commentary on the lying of Tony Abbott. I have become frustrated and
aggravated by the consistency of his untruth. But it must be revealed.
In the past few weeks he has resorted to telling lies about lies
already told in a manner in which one has to question whether he is
actually conversing in English or just corrupting it.
In the first instance the best way to turn the profession of politics
on its head in this country and create a new democracy would be to
demand they tell the truth.
You can shape truth by telling lies for your own benefit and you can use the contrivance of omission to create another lie.
However, the ability to admit you are wrong is an absolute pre
requisite to discernment and knowledge. It requires truthfulness. If we
are to progress as a country we must accept that there can be much pain
in admitting we were wrong but there is no harm in it.
And if humility is the basis by which intellectual advancement is
made then it is only on the basis of truth that we attain human
progress. Telling the truth should not be delayed simply because we are
not sure how people might react to it. It is far better to be comforted
by truth than to be controlled by lies.
It is often difficult in politics to distinguish a broken promise
from the convenience of a change of mind, but with Abbott there are no
shades of hue. It takes courage to change one’s mind for the greater
good. It requires the telling of truth. I see no capacity for it in our
It seems so ingrained in his persona that distinguishing between
truth and lies is beyond his private and public morality. He has little
trouble merging his faith into his political philosophy but eliminates a
cornerstone of his faith, “truth”, when applied to his politics.
Some recent examples.
Prior to writing this I was watching the ABCs morning news service. The PM was asked about his changes to his Medicare policy.
“Did you consult with doctors before making the changes”.
Without blinking (or was that winking) the PM answered; “Yes of course”.
It turns out that they were told of 20 minutes prior to the announcement.
But let’s take a step back in time.
In an astonishing feat of deceit and denial Tony Abbott insulted the
intelligence of every Australian voter by insisting his GP Tax was not a
Tony Abbott – ABC AM – 8 December 2014
Abbott: Well the GP co-payment was very extensively talked about in the lead up to the Budget.
Uhlmann: Not before the election.
Abbott: Well look it certainly wasn’t ruled out before the election.
In fact the GP Tax, and every other tax increase was specifically ruled out by Tony Abbott on numerous occasions.
“The only party that will raise taxes after the election is the Labor Party.”
Tony Abbott – Sydney – 11 August 2013.
Even when news leaked the Government was considering the GP Tax Tony
Abbott continued to lie, to deceive voters in both the Griffith
by-election and the Western Australian Senate election re-run.
Journalist: Mr Abbott, can you guarantee there won’t be a Medicare co-payment?
Tony Abbott: Michelle, nothing is being considered, nothing has been proposed, and nothing is planned.
Tony Abbott – Doorstop – 1 February 2014
Tony Abbott now insists his repeated denials he was planning a GP Tax are evidence it was “extensively talked about”.
At other times he stands before the camera and unequivocally tells
the people that every family has benefited by $550 of their power bills
with the repeal of the carbon tax knowing that it is a blatant lie.
The other method of lying of course is not to tell, or to lie by
omission. The government before the election gave a promise that they
would be more open and transparent. A decent leader shouldn’t have to
promise something that should be an enshrined component of any
democracy’s moral compass.
Not so. Instead of being open about what our politicians spend they
are refusing to release ministerial travel costs because it could damage
our international standing.
Yes that’s right. The Abbott government is refusing to release
documents detailing the cost and purpose of overseas travel by Coalition
ministers, claiming they could “cause damage to Australia’s
international relations” if made public.
That sounds like an admittance of guilt.
And of course it is pressing ahead with changes to the Freedom of
Information regime that will make it much more difficult to access
On top of that the government is now authorised to secretly collect
vast amounts of information about its citizens under the new data
retention laws passed this year.
And to finish, we find that Christopher Pyne was planning an
advertising campaign in support of deregulation of university fees since
October. Christopher Pyne says it was a suggestion of John Madigan.
Madigan refutes it. Who would you believe? The ad is full of lies or at best misleading information.
If all this means I am saying the Prime Minister and his ministers
are pathological liars then so be it. I am. It’s not a nice thing to say
about people but we are dealing with truth here. It’s not so much that
the PM is a serial offender, he is. I think the electorate has finally
woken up. It shows up in the polling. It is why his polling is so poor.
The fact that he lies is easily supported by volumes of readily available, irrefutable evidence. (I can provide it if need be).
And after a long period of protection from the main stream media (the
so-called fourth estate) the supposed people’s custodian of truth, it
could be that some have seen the light of truthful examination. Could it
be that they have realised that telling the truth and reporting it
should be more important than creating a narrative where controversy
In any worthwhile and truly representative democracy truth should,
together with governance for the common good, be a first order
principle. In fact the first priority in the restoration of democracy in
this country should be to insist that our politicians tell the truth.
I would like to think that this is the last piece I will write on this subject but I know it won’t be.
And that’s the truth of it.
Having said that, if you believe the polls 48% of the population would still vote for his party and him as leader.