Raising the BARR – Week ending 18 October 2019

When did the truth become so unimportant to voters?

I realise that most voters believe that “all politicians lie”.  That’s not the truth and I am willing to vouch for most politicians, but certainly, there are liars among us.  And of course, this makes the problem even worse because if all elected officials were liars, then you would know that you couldn’t believe any of us, but if only some politicians are liars then you, the voter, have the problem of trying to figure out the impossible of who is and who isn’t telling you the truth.

If you go back 20 years, then any politician who misled the public or told the people a mistruth, would be expected to have his/her resignation on the desk of the Premier or Prime Minister by breakfast.  There didn’t need to be an inquiry, or trial by media, it was simply the expected standard that truth is essential.

Sadly, over the past 20 years, truth has been twisted into an unrecognisable shape by a simple word – spin.  And Premiers and Prime Ministers are as guilty as anyone of using plenty of spin when they front the media.  Pretty soon, spin was being spun so hard that it became lies and misinformation.

There is a whole host of lies being told in the political sphere today.  I guess the question is, if voters knew who was lying to them then how would the voters find that out from a source that they actually did believe and what would be the consequence next time voters went to the ballot box.  If voters honestly and sincerely care about the truth then that must be reflected when they vote because if it’s not, then the message to politicians will be that the truth doesn’t matter.

A frightening misuse of power sends us hurtling towards a police state

While I generally avoid using this column to talk about Federal issues, there are currently two things happening in the space of national politics that cannot be ignored if we care about democracy.

One is the issue of who works at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT).  This body is charged with the responsibility of reviewing decisions made by Australian Governments and Government bodies.  It is essential that this body be independent of political influence of any kind.

It should strike shock and fear into each of us that the AAT is currently being “stacked” with persons linked to the current Federal Coalition Government – in particular the Liberal Party.  No one should be frightened by someone belonging to, or serving, a political party, but what is concerning is that the intended independence of the AAT might take an ideological shape the simply reflects the Government.

Secondly, the broader media has this week taken aim at Government and Police action that has launched searches of news outlets that reported on stories that were inconvenient to Government.  It is quite shocking that the Government would be so afraid of a truth being told.  And rest assured, the message being received by other news agencies and reporters is that they should tread very carefully around some issues or topics sensitive to Government or else face the wrath of those with the ultimate power.

If Australians want to continue to live in a place where people get a fair go and where those in authority can be questioned, then Australians should be paying very close attention to what is happening at the very top of the decision making process in this country right now.