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Day to Day Politics: Don’t they realise we woke up to them ages ago?

Monday March 26 2018

To see the Australian cricketer Cameron Bancroft looking as though he was fiddling with the crown jewels when he was actually tampering with the ball wasn’t just a bad look for Australian cricket, but also an inditement of just how much public and private morality has slipped in our country. Call it ethics if you want l, or boil it down to cheating or better still, call it plain old-fashioned lying. Like rust it has now permeated itself into all facets of society. Or maybe we have just inherited another of America’s worst traits.

We have had two examples this week in politics. Trust in politicians in recent surveys has them at a well deserved 13%. These are the people we trudge of to polling booths every three years to vote for and entrust to do their very best to govern for us until we form judgment on their efforts the next time around. Well, at least 10 to 20% do.

For the last 10 years or so deceit or lying in politics has reached outrageous proportions. The contempt with which politicians treat us is so perfunctory that they believe we actually believe them. Now we are not talking about little white lies … we are talking about whoppers. You know the ones that leave you breathtakingly open-mouthed for there unconscionable audacity.

An observation

“When you tell a lie you deny the other persons right to the truth.”

Writing for The New Daily on Sunday, Paula Mathewson identifies them (politician’s lies) as follows:

1 “The Labor opposition constantly peddled its claim that the proposed company tax cut for big business is $65 billion. It’s not. The whole company tax cut package costs $65 billion, but the cost of the cut for the big end of town is $36 billion.
The tax cuts that have already been implemented for smaller businesses account for $29 billion of the $65 billion.
Now $36 billion is still a truckload of money, with which Labor could just as easily make its point. But no, it continues to talk about the Turnbull government planning to give a $65 billion gift to big business – which is an outright lie.”

2 “The Coalition is no better, of course. It peddled its own porkies this week about the opposition’s new proposal to scrap cash refunds on dividends.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was one of the chief offenders, asserting his opponent, Bill Shorten, was “robbing pensioners and retirees of their tax refunds”, and that “these are not rich Australians”.
The PM then doubled down on the deception, claiming “Bill Shorten is targeting mothers, fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers on low incomes who rely on a tax refund to help pay the bills”.

This is a lie by omission – Mr Turnbull was referring to pensioners and retirees on low taxable incomes, which means they may also be (and most likely are) rich in assets and superannuation. That is why the Grattan Institute reported this week that the government’s conflation of low-income and low taxable income in this debate was “deeply misleading”.

What is it with politicians that they would believe that we are dumb enough to believe they are telling the truth when with every lie they tell they are simply reinforcing the fact that we know they are telling them, regardless of whether they are blatant or lies of omission?

All they do is increase our scepticism of everything they say.

When politicians lie over a long period of time, it only serves to denigrate the liar and show contempt for the voters intelligence. Especially if the lies are chronic and systemic. The current use of the term “no direct knowledge” is a lie within a lie pretending to absolve a person who is fully conversant with the facts.

There are many reasons why people think lying is wrong; which ones resonate best with you will depend on the way you think about ethics.

Lying is bad because a generally truthful world is a good thing: lying diminishes trust between human beings. If people generally didn’t tell the truth, life would become very difficult, as nobody could be trusted and nothing you heard or read could be trusted – you would have to find everything out for yourself and an untrusting world is also bad for liars – lying isn’t much use if everyone is doing it.

If we were truly enlightened we would treat our fellow human beings, with respect love and faithfulness. We would do unto them as we would expect them to do unto us and we would strive to do no harm. We would love life and live it with a sense of joy and wonderment.

We would form our own independent opinions on the basis of our own reason and experience; and not allow ourselves to be led blindly by others. And we would test all things; always checking our ideas against our facts, and be ready to discard even a cherished belief if it did not conform to them. We would readily admit it when we are wrong in the knowledge that humility is the basis of intellectual advancement and that it is truth that enables human progress.

And of course we would enjoy our own sex life (so long as it damages nobody) and leaves others to enjoy theirs in private whatever their inclinations, which are none or your business.

We would uphold the principle that no one individual or group has an ownership of righteousness. We would seek not to judge but to understand. We would seek dialogue ahead of confrontation.

An observation

“Humility is the basis of all intellectual advancement. However, it is truth that enables human progress.”

We would place internationalism before nationalism acknowledging that the planet earth does not have infinite resources and needs care and attention if we are to survive on it. In doing so we would value the future on a timescale longer than our own. We would recognise that the individual has rights but no man is an island and can only exist, and have his rights fulfilled, only by the determination of a collective.

We would insist on equality of opportunity in education acknowledging that it is knowledge that gives an understanding. We would seek not to indoctrinate our children in any way but instead teach them how to think for themselves, evaluate evidence, and how to disagree with us. We would, in our schools open their minds equally to an understanding of ethics and the history and practice of religion.

An observation

“Free speech does not mean it should be free from ethics. Like truth, for example.”

We would never seek to cut ourselves off from dissent, and always respect the right of others to disagree with us. Importantly, we would not overlook evil or shrink from administering justice, but always be ready to forgive wrongdoing freely admitted and honestly regretted.

Lastly, we would question everything. What we see, what we feel, what we hear, what we read and what we are told until we understand the truth of it because thoughtlessness is the residue of things not understood and can never be a replacement for fact.

Politicians currently are playing a dangerous game in thinking that we are all dumb and without understanding. Look what happened to Abbott when he tested us.

Meanwhile, the latest bunch of cheating, lying Australians are protesting their innocence despite trying to lie their way out of a situation that is simply not cricket. Last night the Prime Minister, in yet another display of hypocrisy, gave Steve Smith and the team a full-on blast. It seem politicians can tell lies and cheat as much as they like but for the national cricket team it’s taboo.

My thought for the day

“Do you shape the truth for the sake of good impression? On the other hand, do you tell the truth even if it may tear down the view people may have of you? Alternatively, do you simply use the contrivance of omission and create another lie. I can only conclude that there might often be pain in truth but there is no harm in it.”

16 comments

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  1. Terry2

    Interesting that the Prime Minister is calling the corporate tax cuts tax reform and I’m sure that we would all applaud a government that actually did spend some time and deliver on tax reform : but this isn’t tax reform

    We are also being told that this tax cut to companies will create economic growth which will lead to increased demand and more jobs yet all economic indicators point to tax cuts to workers (i.e. consumers) as being the the more effective way to create economic growth by putting money into the pockets of consumers who will then spend it thus generating growth and employment.

    By the end of this week and the end parliamentary sitting until the budget session it seems that there will be much back-slapping within the coalition and we will be told that the government is delivering and keeping its promises [to big business].

    It seems that Donald Trump is right on this at least !

  2. John Lord

    So very true Terry.

  3. Harry

    Some wise words there John. Very well put.

    Terry2: agree. Tax cuts for ordinary wage earners are far more effective than tax cuts for companies. There is also a case for more public spending which will boost demand and employment. Plus a Job Guarantee.

  4. townsvilleblog

    John a good article from you as usual except I can’t find ‘America’ on my map, I can find North and South America, or did you mean the country USA not the continent ? Given that Turnbull has exploited enough people to have a personal worth of approx $200 million it seems that there would be a substantial personal benefit for him in trying to get the $65 Bn in corporate tax cuts, if it were me and it looked as though the cut would arrive sooner or later, I would introduce a 10% minimum taxation amount on all corporate gross earnings.

    The corporations could not argue that this was unfair because many working people pay much higher rates than 15% and this new charge would relate to each and every corporation regardless of how much tax they actually paid.

  5. Overton K

    John, Trump’s “tell a lie 3 times” – if only.

    Here in Oz it is dozens of times a each and every day. All news clip associated with the $65B tax cut are along the lines of ‘the government is waiting for the Senate to approve the cut’ — as if it’s a foregone conclusion. The inference — the long-suffering public are only waiting on stupid Senators to understand how great this tax cut will be for Australians and pass it on our behalf.

    It’s gross manipulation by MSM on behalf of the LNP and the foreign corporations who will benefit.

    More than 80% of the public surveyed are NOT in favour of the tax deal.
    Good public policy is being subverted, by-passed by a parasitical mindset called neo-liberalism.

    @Terry2, Labor can identify policies where foreign companies are taking Aus for a ride and demand tax reform, eg. loopholes that allow overseas subsidiaries to debt-dump / profit-shift get closed.

    Win-win, the LNP govt agrees to close the loopholes, Labor agrees to tax cut to 25 percent.

  6. etnorb

    Yet another great & so true article John ! Your words ALL ring so true, that to me there should be a way of (perhaps) getting them written into a “constitution” or something so that all Australians could read them! Sadly, ALL politicians–but especially ALL the bloody Liberals!–tel lies, & expect the general public to believe them. However a bloody lot of us are not as gullible as they seem to think we are, & can see through the garbage they try to make us believe is real. Sadly though, the MSM & all the bloody shock jocks go out of their way to try & make us believe that everything they print or say is always the truth! Thank goodness we still have the ABC (although with that ex Mudrake employee in charge it is getting progressively worse), & the Fairfax press, we still have some avenues of facts to see & read.

  7. Wam

    Marcus, a bunda earthquake and almost agreeing with you, laud. The usual trilogy of events.
    The truth is Brown voted climate change down no harm there. Milne tore up the gillard agreement no harm there. She voted ending the debt limit no harm there. Diludbransimkims became a pragmatic organisaion no harm there.
    The truth is Labor held the reins for most of the last 10 years of deceit or lying with the rabbott doing the lying and milne’s mob doing the deceit. The truth is Milne tore up the gillard agreement and the rabbott succeeded no harm there. Milne realised the rabbott conned her and cannot be trusted and resigned leaving diludbransimkims in charge of the truth.
    The truth is the grins do visible things because they can. As they are out numbered as balancers their alternative is to defeat Labor no harm there.

    What Terry said was true? Arguably the use of ‘seems’ ‘could’ ‘might’ ‘may’ ‘will’ ‘can’ etc auxilliary words are the tools of the purveyors of lies as truth.

    Still if you think your truth is truer than my truth that is your right to have such an opinion. If you think the people I use to garner the truth are not a truth inspired as the people you use that is your right. If your experience defines your interpretation of what you see, hear and read that forms your truth then that is your belief. If your intellect allows you to form an understanding of the complexities of climate change, economics, politics and 42 then your truth is absolute.

    The rest of us are just as honest and understanding as we can be.

    The truth is the daily serve of your words are enjoyable, laud, for both of us. Your thoughts often provide the giggle to start the day on the right oops left foot.

    ps harry ‘some’ norb ‘all’ both are the truth??

  8. David Bruce

    how do we know when a politician is lying?
    their lips are moving?

  9. Diane Larsen

    Company tax in this country is a joke billions not being collected because of loopholes and schemes thought up by well paid accounting firms, no matter what changes are introduced to try and fix the problem by the ATO new workarounds and schemes are hatched to combat the changes. I am certainly no tax consultant but unfairness rubs me and a lot of my fellow Australians the wrong way, so maybe we need to try something totally different drop the tax rate for all companies to 15% on all gross earnings with no deductions, write offs,offshoring or any other smart Alec accounting procedures whatever you make here is taxed here at 15% end of storey

  10. Michael Taylor

    Speaking of liars, I just saw that Tony Abbott will be launching Pauline Hanson’s new book.

    Pity she didn’t get me to launch it. I would have launched it, alright. 🚀

  11. Christopher

    Thank you John.

    Witness the lies told by PON that she would stand up for battlers, whilst denigrating the bludgers on Newstart. She seems to have taken as truth that the better employment numbers in the USA are due to the tax cuts there, when in fact the main reason has been the big clamp down on illegal immigrants and the ability for non citizens to get employment (unless you are a maid or cutting grass in the Hamptons of course).

    We are witnessing apathy on a big scale here in Australia where everyone feels dis-empowered to change the future.

    The death of the good sport, at least in Australian cricket, has as much to do with how Australians as a group have poor values. And where did our cricketers learn to sledge and cheat so well? All of our politicians must take the blame for that.

  12. David Evans

    John Lord: Yes, spot on. Australia is indeed in a downward spiral of lies and deceit, began under howard and sadly has increased rapidly since @ September 2013. abbott and turnbull should be in jail for the greatest ever frauds ever pulled against any electorate, anywhere. Disgraceful.
    Michael Taylor: Does that mean they will be flying first class all around the universe at taxpayers expense, to all their book signings? How times have changed, I wonder if they will share a cell, er, room “to save costs” of course. …”Australians For Honest Politics” indeed.

  13. Kronomex

    Would Heinrich Dutton have so rapidly granted the visa if the young woman had been black? I very much doubt it..sod it…no way.

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/mar/26/peter-dutton-defends-decision-to-intervene-and-grant-visa-to-detained-au-pair

    “Dutton has denied he personally knew the au pair and that she worked for him or his family.” I call bullshit on this. If he wants to clear that part up then he should provide evidence to the contrrary. Will he? Not bloody likely, he’s a tin pot god that answers to no-one.

    Will we hear any disenting views from Trembles the Meek? Not a word I expect.

  14. Zathras

    Any gardener will tell you to promote growth, water the plant at the roots rather than just wetting the leaves.
    As for the “trickle-down effect’ ask an incontinent person what is wetter – their thighs or their shoes?

    The greatest period of economic growth in our history wasn’t The Howard Era, it was the post WW2 boom where the workforce was paid fairly and paid well.

    I think that the unquestioning gullibility of voters can no longer be assumed – even that of the critical swinging voters who ultimately decide outcomes – and it’s time our elected representatives realise this.

  15. Miriam English

    Speaking of lies, wam continues the attacks on the Greens. Why? I guess it’s easier than questioning myths.

  16. Kyran

    There was a comedian on TV the other night talking about ‘trust’.
    He mentioned that on internet sites where people transact business with complete strangers, they have a ‘rating’ system. Both vendors and purchasers are rated by those they have transacted with and have a rating, to enable those they are transacting with in real time to have some idea of their ‘trustworthiness’. Ratings of 90-100% are the norm.
    He made the point that if you engaged in a transaction, as a prospective vendor or purchaser, with somebody with a trust rating of 20%, you were a fool who would get absolutely no sympathy whatsoever from anyone when you were ‘dudded’.
    Engaging in such behavior every three or so years just underscores your foolishness. So he says.
    The obvious difference is that, every three or so years, we are compelled to transact with people of low repute. The option is to pick the best of the specimens.
    We woke up to them ages ago. It didn’t improve our choices though.
    Thank you Mr Lord. Take care

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