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Day to Day Politics: Why do they think that telling lies works?

Monday 28 May 2018

What follows is part of a transcript of an interview by Barrie Cassidy with the Health Minister Greg Hunt on Insiders yesterday. We break in where the subject of border protection raises its ugly head.

HUNT:  Well, you’re absolutely right about the tricky issues. It doesn’t matter when, where or how, they are divided on Border Protection. You’ve got a new MP, Ged Kearney who wants to rip apart the national border protection regime, and that means more drowning’s at sea, more arriving by boats…

CASSIDY: Well, hang on just before you go on you said ‘rip apart the police’, what she says is she doesn’t like indefinite detention. Do you like indefinite detention?

HUNT: We have a position which is crystal-clear and that is…

CASSIDY: Indefinite detention?

HUNT: We have a position which is crystal-clear and that is we will not allow people who come to Australia via people smugglers to settle in Australia, crystal-clear, and the ALP with Anthony Albanese, on the one hand, leading a push internally to weaken border protection will open the floodgates. And what will the consequences be….

CASSIDY:  But what she is critical of is this concept of indefinite detention. What is so wrong with people expressing concern about indefinite detention? You can understand why the argument behind having offshore processing, the Labor Party started that. Why, though – what is wrong with saying indefinite detention is just too cruel?”

HUNT: There is something much deeper here and that is the ALP has a large section, virtually half of the party that wants to rip apart their current border protection, alleged support – alleged support for the Government’s regime.

CASSIDY: But who is saying that? Who’s saying that? Who is saying they want to rip it apart?

HUNT: When you look at what Ged Kearney is focusing on. When you look at what Anthony Albanese is focusing on.

CASSIDY: Indefinite Detention.

HUNT: When you look at what the motions are that are coming before…

CASSIDY: Sorry, what has Anthony Albanese said around this issue that rips the policy apart?

HUNT: They are not committed to maintaining the current border protection regime and…

CASSIDY: But I haven’t seen anything that Anthony Albanese has said that supports that?

HUNT: I think you will find that there is a schism at the heart of the ALP, you have Bill Shorten who pays lip service, but when they were in government, they had 1,200 lives lost at sea. That was a catastrophic human failure, catastrophic. We stopped those drowning’s, we had people taken out of detention. They put people into detention, and we have had them taken out. That is a shameful record that they have and they do it allegedly for humanitarian reasons, but with a humanitarian outcome, which is shocking and shameful and tragic.

The Prime Minister had the same message in his address to the Liberal Party State Council on Saturday.

Every time Peter Dutton gets to his feet in the Parliament he repeats the same story verbatim.

But where is the truth of these words? As Cassidy says “Who is saying that? Who’s saying that? Who is saying they want to rip it apart?”

The fact is that every time they say it they are telling a lie and they know so.

Where is the evidence?”

Before he became the current incarnation of himself Malcolm Turnbull said this:

“The politicians and parties that can demonstrate they can be trusted, that they will not insult the people with weasel words and spin, that they will not promise more than they can deliver, that they will not dishonestly misrepresent either their own or their opponents’ policies – those politicians and parties will, I submit to you, deserve and receive electoral success”.

Clearly, because there is no evidence that any official of the Labor party is on the record as saying that they intend to bring back an old policy it must then be evidenced that those saying so are making it up. In other words, they are telling lies.

The only truth is that there are a number of people on Nauru and Manus who are incarcerated indefinitely when they haven’t committed any crime. Why is it so?

Well, you would have to ask the Government but the first it would seem is that the government cannot find another country that will take them. The second is that they are using them as an example to others who might want to come.

If that is the case then the Government needs to make it clear to the public that seeking asylum in Australia, contrary to international conventions, is punishable by indefinite detention. Shame my country shame.

Why I think the truth is a necessary part of society and in particular politics

How important is truth in politics? As a writer who happens to love the way words can be constructed to shape a thought, send a message, express love, anger, or convey an action I am lost without them. Without them, something vanishes from our discourse. Without words, the ability to communicate the seemingly endless aspects of human emotion is taken from us.

Words, of course, are at their best when they are accompanied by a factual truth of what they are wanting to convey.

An observation

”Have we reached the point in politics where TRUTH is something that politicians have convinced us to believe, “like alternative facts” rather than TRUTH based on factual evidence and sound arguments”

The acceptance of lying generally and more particularly in politics is not only alarming but is also a reflection of the decline of ethical standards in society.

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 is always pain in truth but there is no harm in it.”


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  1. auntyuta

    It reminds me of “1984”

  2. Ella miller

    and Animal Farm….sickening.

  3. Terence Mills

    Indefinite detention was never a policy it was the result of political scaremongering to which Greg Hunt added fuel to the flame on Insiders and Peter Dutton will continue to cry wolf for political gain.

    The Liberal policy appears to be to hold these people for the term of their natural lives : no trials, no convictions just indefinite servitude.
    Just this week, Labor parliamentarians (Linda Burney and Ged Kearney) had the temerity to suggest that a future Labor government would end indefinite detention only to be ravaged by a coalition government committed to what they see as the politically popular use of lifelong humiliation and detention as a claimed deterrent to those seeking asylum.

    Even the panel on Insiders agreed that nobody was in favour of indefinite detention and gradually people are starting to see through Peter Dutton’s deceptions.

    We have even thumbed our noses at the Supreme Court of Papua New Guinea who bravely told Australia that, detention without trial was abhorrent to their constitutional arrangements and that the people held on Manus Island must be released. We chose to open the gates of their detention centre and told them that nobody was being detained, they are free to move around the community during daylight hours : it’s now called the Hotel California gambit :

    **You can check out any time you like but you can never leave....**

  4. Wam

    What a great start to the day.
    Mr lord giving his truth as better than hunt’s truth so hunt lies.
    Where is the lie in people who paid smugglers drowned?
    Where is the lie in labor set up nauru and manus
    Where is the lie in MPs who want the camps closed
    Where is the lie MPs want to bring those asylum seekers to Australia
    Where is the lie that Australians don’t want those that paid smugglers to reach Australia.
    Where is the truth in the labor pollies knew they were dual citizens when they nominated but believed the truth that it would be ok because they tried and it was someone else’s fault.
    Where is the truth in truth based on some facts that Mr Lord knows from his experiences being not harmful.
    Folau’s truth is not harmful, mr lord, or anne aly blasphemy truth or the invisible not so dark Aborigines or the shiny black gangs.
    Sorry, Mr Lord truth is what you believe and your ethics and observed facts may not be good enough but you are honest in your words and that is what chipp wanted 43 years ago for politicians. Honesty is a matter of conscience and that is what Australia needs HONESTY not hiding behind truth based on sound arguments and ‘known’ facts.

    Where is the truth in shorten being 17% behind trumball oops that is true
    Where is the lie that 2/3 people approve of company tax cuts oops true
    Where is the lie in polling well that is part lie and part true?

  5. etnorb

    Just another of the very many so-called “liberal” pollies who do noting but tell untruths, lie almost every time they open their mouths, & continue to blame the last Labor government for any & all suppose “sins & wrong doings”, which are ALL the fault of this lying lot of obscenely over-paid, flat earth, right wing excuses for a “political party”, & we are saddled with this bunch of idiots until the next election! WTF?? Another great think piece Mr Lord!

  6. Lurline

    @Wam You don’t speak for all Australians. I’m more than happy for those desperate enough to pay for a boat rather than a plane ticket to be settled here. The ALP may have opened the camps, they never envisaged them becoming a life sentence. It was merely a holding place while claims were processed. Perfect – not by a long shot, but nothing like what the LNP have turned them into.

    The dual citizenship saga – all of those concerned screwed up, on both sides of parliament. The whole of section 44 needs to be re-examined.

  7. Andrew Smith

    Unfortunately indefinite offshore detention does vaguely represent the ignorant and unethical views of many Australians of all political persuasions.

    What would be the views of society if asylum seekers were still retained but made to be endlessly shunted on train from railway siding to railway siding (in urban areas, if bush they would probably be released), or transported up down the coast in live sheep transport ships?

    Australia has already reinforced the stereotype of being conservative, shallow and racist, maybe we need to be reminded more directly by some public figures respected by voters eg. Ian Chappell, and err, anybody else?

  8. helvityni

    Excellent post, Andrew Smith !

  9. Regional Eld

    Thanks John Lord.

    Yes, Greg Hunt, possesses advanced skills in ‘ look over there ‘ strategies designed to camouflage the truth.

    The indefinite detention depersonalising outcome of Liberal policies is that those incarcerated without hope on Manus Island, five years on, translates to the fact that they are no longer just asylumseekers or refugees. Increasingly, they have become political prisoners of this government.

    We now need to refer to them publically as such, as ‘ Dutton’s political prisoners’ .

    In Dutton’s ( and this government’s ) sad demonology of humankind, the boat arriving asylum seekers he includes among the worst, and Dutton is cynically milking the Manus and Nauru fiasco of the government’s own making, to beat the ALP and the Greens about the head, so as to scare the Australian electorate into voting for the Coalition again.

    Unwittingly, the asylum seekers on Manus and Nauru have become agents in the Coalition’s never ending campaign of deceit and lies, the objective being the continuation of this appalling government.

  10. John O'Callaghan

    Out of all the Govt Ministers, the one i dislike intensely is Greg Hunt,and it is not in my nature to dislike anyone really,but this creep just rubs me up the wrong way,i dont know what it is but there you go…. Greg Hunt makes my skin crawl!

  11. Kaye Lee

    Greg Hunt a liar? What is the evidence of that?

    25 Nov 2015

    The Federal Government says it has met its 2020 greenhouse emissions target, ahead of this week’s climate change talks in Paris.

    It has released figures from the Department of Environment showing Australia had already achieved a 5 per cent reduction based on 2000 levels.

    Australia’s annual emissions for the year to December 2017 are estimated to be 533.7 Mt CO2 -e. This figure is 2.4 per cent below emissions in 2000 (547.0 Mt CO2 -e)

    Since emissions have increased ever since the fools abolished the carbon price, I fail to see how we can come anywhere near meeting even our paltry 5% target. A 2.6% reduction in two years? I don’t think so. Not without a carbon price and significant and fast adoption of renewables and a halt to destructive land-clearing.

    Or lies.

  12. Srs21

    Of course telling lies work! How do you think the Mad Monk and crew got back in ‘13 and again in ‘16?

  13. Ill fares the land

    The perverse irony is that migration through legitimate has done so much more damage to the fabric of Australian society. The government has slavishly and blindly continued to ramp up immigration numbers to achieve the aim of propping up a weak economy. The pitiful numbers of refugees that are being abused by our politicians for their own political advantage would make no difference when compared to the overall migrant intake.

    The government espouses that migration has always been “good for Australia”. Perhaps it was in the post-war era, but that was at a time when work was available for all and infrastructure more or less kept pace with population growth – many of those migrants built the goddam infrastructure! The economic pie grew for all – what happens now is the pie gets no bigger, but distributon of the “pie” is now massively skewed towards the wealthy and, in case no-one noticed, it is not pensioners, people with disabilities or the unemployed who determine policy it is the rich and powerful (the health spend is another example – patient outcomes are becoming more and more variable, but it is the corporate psychopaths, wealthy doctors and their colleges who dicate what health policy will be – not patients).
    In the modern era, migrants take something like 70% of the “new jobs” that are created – and the number of unemployed remains locked at around 700,000. How is migration actually helping the rest of society – all it is doing at present is driving up demand for limited resources. This benefits the rich but does little for many others, especially those under 25, many of whom can no longer look forward to leaving uni, getting a job, buying a house and the other “rites of passage” that were once part of our social fabric. Now perhaps many under 25’s don’t want to tie themselves down in the modern era, but lots do and the opportunities for them, unless they come from wealthy backgrounds are shrinking. Migration is not responsible for all of the ills that our society faces, but it sure as hell exacerbates them.

  14. Glenn Barry

    For parties which have amongst their membership an avowed religious contingent they have an ethical deficit producing a moral vacuum.
    If their actions reveal an agenda, what is seriously lacks is any heading towards positive outcome – they are truly barren

  15. blair

    The truth, is the truth, is the truth
    Everything else in Lying!
    Abbott,, Turnbull, Trump have made lying an deceptive artform
    As the Nazis said, Tell a lie, tell it often, eventually it becomes the truth!
    Except it will always be a lie!

  16. Kieran Butler

    The LNP knows that a majority of Australians revel in the torture and deaths of refugees in concentration camps. It is what wins them government. If you don’t detain refugees indefinitely there is no torture and little chance of the regular suicides Australians love so much. The ALP should promise to execute all the refugees, one per day, live on TV. They would win in a landslide. Having won, they can just say “We lied”! Simple.

  17. Keitha Granville

    They must be thinking now that they should have accepted the Malaysia solution – it is rather ironic that they fought against it on the basis that Malaysia wouldn’t be safe. Ha !!

    The Labor Party is on a hiding to nothing if they say they will change anything, as the electorate has been told so many times that Labor will wind back the policy and let anyone come to Australia however they like. I wish that more information about the number of visa overstays and those who arrive on planes was put before the public, but then that is just demonising another group – nobody wins.

    If I was a refugee on Manus or Nauru, I think I would be finding another boat so I could get away to a safe place.

  18. AK

    The lying is by no means new. What was refreshing in that interview was Barry Cassidy challenging the lie! The ABC has deteriorated due to repeated funding cuts and threats and appointments of ideallogues who just want to destroy it.
    Hockey and Abbott kept on using the lines about Labor and economic management after Wayne Swan was lauded around the world for how he prevented Australia having a recession from the GFC. They got away with it. But Hockey’s reply to the budget when Swan was Treasurer had only minor differences in overall spend.

  19. guest

    The Murdoch media has a phrase it loves to employ when putting down people who oppose them. It is “virtue signalling” and it refers to people who claim they are on the moral side.

    Strangely, it is Hunt here who is doing the “virtue signalling” by saying that the Coalition has saved refugees from drowning. Yet there are refugees who say they had rather drowned than end up in the indefinite detention of the Coalition gulags, where not only have refugees been abused but the host gulag countries have been exploited to do their dirty work for for filthy lucre, millions of dollars of it. It would have been cheaper to fly the refugees into Oz where their claims could have been processed.

    But no, they had to treat these refugees as sacrificial lambs, as scapegoats to ward off those demons who were threatening to invade Oz. Remember how they were systematically demonised: terrorists in disguise, taking our jobs and our welfare and our women and our houses and clogging up the roads of Western Sydney…etc, etc, jumping the imaginary queue.

    Let us remember how the indefinite detention came about. A portion of the populus was so fired up about boat people (NB, people, not boats) that Rudd said in his second appearance that if the populus was so opposed to refugees being brought to Oz (which is what Howard did), then let us make the law that no boat people be allowed to come to Oz – ever! And Abbott loved it. He seized it with glee.

    Meanwhile refugees were flying into Oz by plane in their hundreds. At the time it would have taken 10 years to fill the MCG with refugees. Wooooooh! Be afraid, be very afraid. Come on down, Pauline Hanson!

    But what I hate about this “virtue signalling” is the claim that all this hoo-ha about border protection is done in the name of the Western cultural tradition; that is, the Enlightenment and the Judeo-Christian religion and ancient Greek democracy and ancient Roman law and the Westminster…The USA is a shining example.

    We only have to turn to History (the Western Tradition is flavour of the week in Murdoch land at present) to see the Enlightenment at work. Take for example, the matter of Joan of Arc, whom the British defeated and put on trial in order to charge her as a heretic for claiming to have God on her side, whereas the British believed that God was on their side. So they burnt her at the stake, aged 19 in 1431, probably more than once just to make sure. Such is the Christian way, and of course Joan herself was of the Christian country of France.

    It is not hard to find many other examples of the hideous crimes and treacheries carried out in the name of Britain and other European countries as they plundered the world in the quest for wealth.

    Take this example:

    “The discovery of oil made the piece of paper signed by the Shah [of Persia] in 1901 one of the most important documents of the C20th. For while it laid the basis for a multi-million-dollar business to grow – the Anglo-Persian Oil Company eventually became British Petroleum – it also paved the way for political turmoil. That the terms of the agreement handed control of Persia’s crown jewels to foreign investors led to a deep and festering hatred of the outside world, which in turn led to nationalism and, ultimately, to a more profound suspicion of the west best epitomised in modern Islamic fundamentalism.” From “The Silk Roads” by Peter Frankopan, 2015, in the chapter ‘The Road of Black Gold’)

    Of course, Persia is now the pariah country of Iran.

    Greg Hunt is just one of the petty officials of the Western Tradition and Enlightenment.

  20. margcal

    Politicians don’t “think” that lying works … they “know” it does.
    Just look outside the AIMN bubble. It’s all around us.

  21. jimhaz

    [Where is the lie that 2/3 people approve of company tax cuts oops true]

    I smell a conspiracy in regards that Newspoll.

    I sure hope some other pollster does a poll on this as well – with the question phrased something like
    “Would you prefer company tax cuts or to pay off the deficit first?”

  22. jimhaz

    “Also featured is a poorly framed question as to “when should company tax cuts be introduced”, which primes responses favourable to cuts both in the wording of the question and the structure of the response options, two out of three of which are pro-tax cut. For what they are worth, the results are that 36% favour such a cut “as soon as possible”, 27% do so “in stages over the next ten years” and, contrary to polls that haven’t privileged a positive response in this way, only 29% want one “not at all”.

  23. Kronomex

    And now, magically, the LNP is pushing for their “benefits ALL Australians” tax cuts since that wanker Senator in Tasmania has joined the Nationals and bought off cheap and Hanson has been “swayed” by the supposed 63% poll result all within about 24 hours or so.

  24. guest

    Just a few brief comments.

    @wam 8:05am Half-baked nonsense is only part of the story. Asking spurious questions gains nothing. Nor does assertion that whatever people believe is true for them. All that does is allow the truth to be lost in a fog of smoke and mirrors. When the truth is revealed there is a great deal of anxiety and resentment. Chipp was not altogether successful in making the bastards honest.

    @Ill fares the land 11:32am All of us here in Oz are immigrants, including Indigenous people who of course arrived here much sooner than the rest of us.

    @jimhaz 3:41pm The whole business of tax cuts and trickle-down economics has been criticsed by economics experts, but the Murdoch group-think scribblers choose to attack Emma Alberici. Why is that? Is it because she is female and working for the ABC?

    It is interesting how the Murdochians are presently posing as champions of “free speech” but not for everyone. They are especially vitriolic about anyone who criticises Coalition policies.They love anyone who passes a lump of coal around in the Lower house, but are vicious in attack on anyone advocating renewable energy. They love someone such as Dr Ridd who says the Great Barrier Reef is doing just fine. It seems it does not matter if he is wrong; for them he has the right to criticise other scientists at JCU. They love anyone who is politically incorrect: that is, who attacks political correctness (which is to say, anything the Murdochians-cum-IPA do not agree with). And they hate ” ‘leets”, because they themselves are not elite.

    And central to all this are first of all the belief they are the chosen ones born to rule, and secondly they are terrified that climate change is really real because it challenges so much of their myopic ideology.

  25. captianwise

    I watched with incredulity as this mealy mouthed knob lied to us all. Cassidy pulled him up on it but to no avail, the talking point was already set and no amount of truthfulness was going to sway this argument. It is of course the way politicians operate, say what you wish as long as you’re scoring points with the brain dead uninterested public.
    I would suggest interviewers take a page out of David Speers tatic (although he only uses it for headline hunting), and that is to repeat the question over and over until it’s answered or the interviewee gives up and leaves or is exposed.

  26. John L

    No.42 on the IPA list – reduce Company tax to 25%. ……..
    My missus had to turn the tv off when g hunt was on – she couldn’t take any more outraged “criticism” from me ripping through the house.
    What disgusting people they are, Hunt, Dutton, Tudge, Frydenburg, Abetz, Morrison, Abbot, ………etc etc etc……

  27. Kaye Lee

    Lyle Shelton is running for Cory Bernardi’s party on the platform of opposing “political correctness, gender ideology and social Marxism”.

    Cory said “Lyle brings a wealth of political and campaign experience having headed up the no campaign last year that saw millions of Australians stand up against political correctness.”

    Silly me. I thought we were voting on marriage equality.

  28. johno

    We certainly need to vote these people out. And that can’t come soon enough.

  29. Maxoz

    Apparently, Dutton is about to introduce a new citizenship test: the applicant will be required to scale a five-storey building without using ropes!

  30. johno

    Using ropes is unaustralian.

  31. townsvilleblog

    There should be no such thing as infinite detention if a country does not want to admit refugees because of the majority of that country’s population is against admitting them, the government of that country has an obligation to find third countries that will take them.

  32. Wam

    Guest have a look at rashomon and tell me that what you or jl believe is truer than what I believe?
    Do the premise(s) you base your opinions on make them purer than the rabbott’s opinions??
    Regardless of ‘spurious’ chipp‘s aim was ‘keeping’ (a difficult but realistic task) them honest, not ‘making’.

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