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When the PM normalises lying

“It is an absolute principle of democracy that governments should not and must not say one thing before an election and do the opposite afterwards. Nothing could be more calculated to bring our democracy into disrepute and alienate the citizenry of Australia from their government than if governments were to establish by precedent that they could say one thing before an election and do the opposite afterwards.” Tony Abbott, August 22, 2011

Every time Abbott lies to the citizens of this country we become increasingly disaffected, and not only from our Prime Minister, but from the institution he represents. Abbott has normalised the discourse of lies. He has taken the dishonesty of politicians to a whole new level. We barely expect anything else from him, and from his fellow politicians. Under the leadership of our mendacious Prime Minister, we have increasingly abandoned hope of fairness, straightforwardness, belief and trust. Our Prime Minister doesn’t think we are worthy of the truth.

One of the many unpleasant effects of being lied to is that the liar insults and patronises me by creating a false reality that I have to inhabit, until I discover I’m the victim of deception.The liar denies me the right to know the truth, a serious offence against me, because truth is something no one has the right to deny me.

Whether it’s on a personal or a political level, lying to me signifies the liar doesn’t consider me as entitled to the truth as is he or she. This infantilises me, is disrespectful to me, and denies me the knowledge I need to make informed decisions about my life. There’s little more insulting than being lied to, kept in the dark with lies of omission, and intentionally misled because the liar doesn’t consider you capable of handling the truth, or is acting entirely in their own self-interest because you knowing the truth will in some way threaten them.

The Prime Minister of our country, Tony Abbott, has never made any secret of his ambivalent relationship with truth. There is his notorious assertion that nothing he says is “gospel” truth unless it’s written down.

There’s his prescriptive declaration that “It is better to seek forgiveness than ask permission.” While this isn’t necessarily an endorsement of lying, it is a ruthless and callous prescription for relationship with one’s fellow humans. It recommends that one do that which one desires and if it backfires apologise, but it isn’t necessary under the terms of Abbott’s prescriptive to negotiate with or communicate intention to others, prior to taking an action. This has a similar effect to lying, in that it assumes an inferiority of some kind on the part of another that doesn’t require Abbott to enter into an equal, respectful relationship in which another’s opinions and wishes count for the same as his own.

We have a liar for a leader. When the lies start at the top, there’s little hope truth will ever see the light of day. Abbott is leading us into an abyss of normalised deception that will damage every one of us, because when dedicated liars are in power, the country will inevitably lose its way. If you don’t think this country is losing its way, you’re dreaming.

First published on Jennifer’s blog No Place for Sheep


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  1. Peter Ball

    excellent article , it shows that this Federal Liberal Government is broken and to justify itself it resorts to lies , the sooner the
    y are voted out the better it will be for Australia

  2. Kaye Lee

    The lies are also damaging relationships. There is nothing more frustrating than arguing with someone you care for when they are working from a whole different set of “facts”. This government has shown time and again, and in fact directly stated, that they will say anything to gain and stay in power. They are not there to serve the public. They are there to satisfy their personal ambition and to reward their mates. They are using this country’s assets as their personal property to sell off as they please with no thought of whether it is in the best interests of the people. Social justice is being sacrificed so Hockey can say look at my surplus (maybe…in about 10 years) while wealthy tax evaders are smiling all the way to the bank. Every move this government makes can be traced to their wealthy backers getting favourable legislation or government contracts. What Social Services Minister would undo gambling reform laws? One whose party accepts huge donations from the industry. Why get rid of the public broadcaster? Because it gives an alternative to their patron Murdoch’s version of the news. Why persist with fossil fuel subsidies? Because Gina is the welfare queen. What environment minister would brag about getting rid of “green tape” so he can open up the biggest coal mines in the world? One who has been bought lock stock and barrel by the coal mining industry.

  3. CMMC

    The Jesuit Order should stand up and disown the Abbott Reich.

    They should be ex-communicate from the Catholic fold.

  4. Paul G. Dellit

    Dear Jennifer, you have the unqualified support of this reader for each of the arguments you make. They run beyond semantics to the core morality that underpins genuine human relationships. It is passing strange that the relationships we have with our political ‘leaders’ is so infected with their duplicity in ways and to such an extent that in commerce would be illegal and in our personal spheres would result in their termination.
    Abbott has reduced politics in this country to its lowest moral ebb. It will take the emergence of a moral, compassionate, charismatic leader who can capture the imagination of the electorate to begin the process of reforming trust in the political system.
    Significantly, throughout history, it has been men, like Abbott, who are susceptible to ideologies based upon wishful thinking rather than empirical observation, that have brought down the greatest social scourges upon our species.
    So now I’m off to my nearest Catholic Church to pray to the man who was born of a virgin, before returning to my afternoon listening, Alan Jones whom I understand has an interesting interview with Lord Monckton who will present the final word on the climate change myth. But, oh dear, I really need to catch upon on my correspondence with Cardinal Pell. He is having such a good time rearranging the Vatican’s finances. It’s so much easier dealing with numbers, which you can make add up, than people who you can’t stop saying that they were the victims of pedophile priests, and you really can’t control their numbers, not when the get the ears of those atheists running those Royal Commissions.

  5. JulieT

    And to add insult to injury…. he lies about lying. If the Gillard govt. was ‘illegitimate’, according to Abbott, then what the hell is his govt.? Elected under false pretences! Elected on lies…. taken the country for a ride. Wake up people!

  6. charles weldon

    Abbott and his team of shitmen and one shitwomen , will do and say anything to take away the rights and protections of the people , too only benefit his masters , murdock and the miners.

  7. Salstarat

    Abbott couldn’t tell the truth if someone held a gun to his vacuous head! Abbott’s endless exaggerations, phony character assassinations and unconscionable prevarications go way beyond the “garden variety” of on-again off-again political subterfuge, Abbott is the WORST most disreputable incorrigible PATHOLOGICAL LIAR this country has ever seen! Abbott, quite simply, is almost INCAPABLE of telling the truth about ANYTHING! He thrives in malignant deception. He takes perverse pleasure in trickery and duplicity, revelling in dishonesty and a depraved level of corruption that has no peer in Australia’s political history. I used to think that Robert Askin (NSW LNP premier) and Joh Bjelke Petersen were bad, but Abbott takes their moral bankruptcy to a NEW darker level of complete OVERDRAFT!

    Abbott has been internationally exposed as a discredited, disreputable swindler whose notorious condescension and contempt for the intelligence of the Australian electorate whom, Abbott truly believes, are stupid and gullible enough to believe the constant unscrupulous LIES and endless broken promises that flow from him like verbal diarrhoea! It would be impossible to find a WORSE more unethical, dishonest, nefarious and thoroughly undeserving person to be at the helm of political leadership! Abbott has taken Australia down a very dark road of malignant deception where, he believes, lying cheating and lack of transparency should be regarded as normal and routine. This ex-priest is sinking in bible bashing, sanctimonious hypocrisy .. you just have to really marvel at how this nauseating, venomous sociopath justifies and sanctions his iniquitous ongoing depravity with his shallow Christian beliefs?

    Abbott wants the Australian public to do four things:

    – Dumb down
    – Tune out
    – Put up and
    – Shut up!

    Really, anyone who is cheering on this unspeakable psychopath and his misanthropic cabinet NOW has achieved the first item on his list, ie they have managed to be DUMBED DOWN to the point of abject idiocy. With the help of Murdoch’s discredited, biased reporting, the rusted-on LNP sycophants are dumb, deaf and blind to Abbott’s staggering lack of moral fibre. They just don’t get it! Anyone who could LIE, cheat and deceive so blatantly, with so much gusto and with such sneering, snarling arrogance is capable of anything … absolutely ANYTHING. Australians can set the benchmark as low as it can go for this tyrannical little fascist who, quite rightly, has become the object of ridicule and scorn throughout the world .. a despised political leper ostracised and condemned by anyone with intelligence, foresight and common decency. It is every Australian’s DUTY to rid this country of Abbott and in so doing, regain our once fine international reputation and our self respect!

  8. John Kelly

    One wonders how this trait evolved in Abbott. In what way did it ferment and develop to the level that it now sits in his psyche. Whatever the answer, it is dangerous in the individual and when the individual is in a position of power, it is dangerous for all those affected by him.

  9. oldfart

    two things about being lied to,
    when someone has lied to me it saddens me because now I don’t know when I can trust what they say again

    what does a liar want me to do when he admits the lie, forgive or forget?

    and on the subject of “It is better to seek forgiveness than ask permission.” kind of says it all about his religious beliefs, more likely beliefs of convenience than conviction. It makes a mockery of his catholic confessional

  10. Kerri

    It is interesting that this email arrived today just after I had re-visited Margo Kingston’s famed article “Tony Abbott and his slushy character question”. It seems his lies outweigh his truths (if anyone can find any of the latter please tell me) even down to lying about “’til death do us part” ???? He needs to be impeached for his multitude of lies, deceptions, dirty deals and all round bad character. Who on earth voted this lowlife into his present role should be made to pay for the damage he is doing to our country as it will be decades of long hard suffering to try to re establish a worthwhile social system. He has ruined this country and has willfully divided and deceived it’s peoples. Prison is too good for him!

  11. corvus boreus

    Lying is one form of corruption in conduct that undermines the integrity of personal values.
    Another is cheating, such as, say… um…, throwing sly punches in Rugby scrums.
    A mind that functions with a capacity for learning beyond that of a goldfish should be able to adjudge the credibility given to claims against the recorded conduct of the person(or institution) making them.
    Tony Abbott is by both his own admission and consistently observed conduct a liar and a cheat.
    Giving trust to liars and cheats validates their behaviors and legitimises such conduct within the self.
    Were I to unthinkingly accept any statement he made without immediate scepticism and requirement for independently corroborative evidence, I would diminish my own intelligence and integrity.

  12. vivienne29

    Spot on. But his horrid followers go along with it and justify every lie to themselves and openly to other on forums like The Drum. Then of course they all do it in Parliament. It’s sick, very sick.

  13. stephentardrew

    John you can be pretty sure that their is a genetic basis for his lying dissociative disorder combined with nurtured sense of entitlement and privilege that drives his narcissistic egocentricity. Point is compulsive liars often believer their lies and that is why he can so blatantly, and seemingly without remorse, continue to peddle untruths. If you watch him in question time, which I can take for no time at all, he is absolutely convinced of the veracity of his claims. There is something radically wrong with the moral compass of people who imprison children. There is no longer a need to wonder if this guy is dysfunctional it is simply the degree that is of interest. He is definitely a borderline personality with anti-social and narcissistic traits.

    It is truly frightening when there is no screening of politicians before they take on positions of power and control over other peoples lives. There is no other field that requires experts that is so open to the dysfunctional. There are many consistent and reliable psych test that could pick up antisocial traits in individuals. If that is found to be the case they should be required to undergo some type of training or therapy before they are allowed to govern. Hot potato issue yes but science is not interested in so called democratic rights or fallacious free speech when it comes to sanity and functionality. If basic personality traits are misaligned with ethical and democratic imperatives then that person is not suitable to govern, full stop.

    Nevertheless we live in a world where facts are rubbery and contestable while illiterate opinion dominates. I am well aware that this is a radically controversial opinion however a good dose of lateral thinking is often required to find revisionary solutions too greed, exploitation and inequality. I have a feeling that, with the development of computer interfaces and artificial intelligence, a new type of consciousness derived from empirical facts will instinctively understand that people do not create their realities and therefore we need to trace the causal contributors to dysfunction rather than use judgment, blame and retribution. Huge leaps in science technology and exponential growth in computing power will radically transform the future. Unfortunately we are stuck in this particular epoch with this particular type of cruelty and tacitly approved madness.

  14. Galley Boy

    > John Kelly – If, like the ex Jesuit Abbott, one starts by accepting an archaic monotheistic mendacity whereby the church, its reasoning and power is absolute and sacrosanct, it follows then that the rest of society becomes expendable grist for the unhinged libertine mill.

  15. Owen

    Is it only his constituents he Lies too ? How many whoopers did he tell @ the G20? Has he not made an oath to the Queen? Could this be disrespectful ? Personally I find it insulting !!!!(just to put it mildly)

  16. John Fraser


    Its equally as bad to defend the lies.

    But thats what sycophants do.

  17. Bilal

    The comments as well as the article restore my faith in my fellow Australians. The mire of lies and extreme right-wing attacks on our standard of living are becoming intolerable, made especially so with the caravan of Krischun lies they come with. How this bunch of radical right-wing warriors can even claim to have anything to do with a conservative party is breathtaking.

  18. Garth

    Corvus, bloody well said. Couldn’t have put it better (include in that the article itself and most of the other comments). I’m getting tired, and it scares me. I think I’m a reasonably well informed person of reasonable intelligence… I just have to wonder how many have simply tuned out cause it’s all too much!

  19. Kyran

    An oft quoted statement on this site has been “Lie to me once, shame on you. Lie to me twice, shame on me.” The inference being that, after two lies, we will both know where we stand and can act accordingly. Regrettably, this expression does not allow for consideration of a relentless and incessant stream of lies in every facet of government, state and federal.

    Another current post on this site relating to MH 17, points out the obfuscation of fact when compared to the chronology of events based on actual occurrence. Regrettably, it points to the fact that Shorten was in “lock step” with the Abbott. My belief is that this trend goes back to when Beazley was in “lock step” with Howard to go to a manufactured war in 2003. And these are just two examples out of, literally, thousands, where the expediency of politics were seen as more important than facts. Significantly, there is no regard for the human cost.

    There have been many articles regarding the demise of honesty and integrity in politics, ever since “core” and “non core” promises became an acceptable premise. Politicians used to resign if they misled parliament, now they are celebrated for “toughing it out”.

    The currency of a politics is honesty. I believe this lot (both sides) have spent all their currency. As mentioned elsewhere, they are not bankrupt, they are well and truly into deficit. With the current level of cynicism, anger and disbelief in politicians, I fervently hope that Abbott and his incessant lies will leave no alternative for the Australian public than to insist on a Federal ICAC, a genuine auditory function at all levels and fully resourced oversight bodies for our politicians.

    In departing, I wish to impart some of my fathers wisdom from a lifetime ago. “Kid, we all tell lies from time to time. Never, ever, ever believe your own bullshit”. Take care all

  20. donwreford

    Malcolm Turnbull, I thought he was Prime Minister material, as a result of his constant defense of Abbott’s, lies, has now become a person who has lost his integrity, the problem with dead weight, as Abbott, he tarnishes the best, as a result of Abbott’s inept defensiveness and divisiveness, now so apparent has lost all credibility, of both Liberals.

  21. corvus boreus

    Agree absolutely, Kyran, especially on ICAC, audits and oversight.
    Shorten stood in solidarity with Abbott in denying calls for a federal ICAC, and vowed a ‘bipartisan defense against the ‘perception’ of corruption’. Defense against perception(observation, awareness) is often achieved through ploys of camouflage and concealment. ‘I will work with Tony to hide the dodgy shit’.
    That moment removed the last of any benefit of the doubt I had previously afforded him, and with it any chance of me supporting his prime Ministerial aspirations.
    “To thine own self be true, and it surely follows, as the night does the day, you will not be false to others”.

    P.s, cheers Garth.
    I think one of the worst problems with the mental tune out you mentioned is even if one becomes mentally passive and disinterested, there is still an aggressive saturation of consciousness (especially if exposed to commercial transmission media), and with critical examination of the received message being auto-anaesthetised, the pushed messages can often be swallowed without question.
    The disengaged become the misinformed.

  22. Wayne Turner

    Abbott LIED his way in,supported and promoted by ALL of the MSM,including the Libs ABC.The Libs just want to silence the ABC completely from the RARE times they actually do their job properly, and hold these hopeless CORRUPT LYING LIES to account.

    The Libs want ONLY a PRO-LIBERAL party MSM ALL of the time – It’s the ONLY chance they had to get in,and it’s the ONLY chance they have to stay in.

    Abbott continues to LIE,and won’t stop.


  23. Garth

    Kyran, your father sounds like a wise man. Oh, for people of principle whom we trust with our welfare.

  24. mars08

    Your doctor fallaciously diagnoses a sickness and prescribes a bogus cure. You later find that the doctor’s father is the owner of the pharmaceutical which makes the drug to a needlessly taking.

    Would you ever go back to that doctor?

  25. Derek Haines

    As an Australian expat living outside my country, I can only say that the world is laughing roundly at Australia. Abbott has taken political folly to a new ultra level of insanity and has now perfected the art of making Australia look like an immature tantrum throwing toddler. eg: His inexcusably stupid G20 welcome speech.

    It’s easy to target Abbott, as his mouth is programmed to utter lies and nonsense, but neither Labor nor the motley bunch of insane independents offer much better. It’s all turning so childish.

    Please Australians, do the right thing and deliver a message at the ballot box to these fools the next time you have the opportunity. If you can’t wait that long, start a revolution, and jail every one of the lying bastards!

    Next time I travel, I won’t be using my Australian passport. It would be too embarrassing. It’s Time, as Gough said, for some serious political culling in Australia.

  26. mars08

    Derek Haines:

    …perfected the art of making Australia look like an immature tantrum throwing toddler…

    It’s easy to target Abbott, as his mouth is programmed to utter lies and nonsense, but neither Labor nor the motley bunch of insane independents offer much better. It’s all turning so childish…

    Derek… that statement, for me, highlights THE underlying problem with politics in this country…. the thing that has been dragging us down for at least the past 20 years… the dumbing down of political discussion.

    In their scramble for EASY votes, our major parties have mormalised (and sometimes encouraged) juvenile, selfish, parochial, vulgar, belligerent, callous attitudes in the electorate.

    Calling it “childish” might infer that there’s a lack of corruption or malice. I tend to see it as juvenile behaviour, in the very-worst sense of the word.

  27. Derek Haines

    Mars08, The root of the problem is in compulsory voting, as all political parties chase the elusive 6-7% idiot vote, which in the end, decides who will form a government. Elections over the last 50 years in Australia have all been decided by which party gets the biggest share of the idiot vote. So is it any surprise that Australia is run by raving bloody idiots?

  28. mars08

    @Derek Haines:

    Surely the negative impact of the “idiot vote” is the result of a distracted, frightened, self-absorbed, incurious section of the electorate. Or are you saying that this group has (and will) always be around?

    BTW… I don’t disagree about your notion of the “idiot vote”. In fact with modern technology, global connectivity and more efficient advertising… this group seems to be growing at an alarming rate.

  29. Derek Haines

    I can only say that the list of countries with compulsory voting is not a great list of examples of modern Western democracies.

    These are the only 11 countries that enforce compulsory voting:

    Argentina – Introduced in 1912.[21] Compulsory for citizens between 18 and 70 years old, non-compulsory for those older than 70 and between 16 and 18. (However in primaries, citizens under 70 may refuse to vote, if they formally express their decision to the electoral authorities, at least 48 hours before the election. This is valid only for the subsequent primary, and needs to be repeated each time the voter wishes not to participate.)

    Australia – Introduced in 1924.[21] Compulsory for federal and state elections for citizens 18 years of age and above. The requirement is for the person to enroll, attend a polling station and have their name marked off the electoral roll as attending, receive a ballot paper and take it to an individual voting booth, mark it, fold the ballot paper and place it in the ballot box. The act does not explicitly state that a choice must be made, it only states that the ballot paper be ‘marked’. According to the act how a person marks the paper is completely up to the individual. In some states, local council elections are also compulsory.[22] At the 2010 Tasmanian state election, about 6,000 people were fined $26 for not voting, and about 2,000 paid the fine.[23]

    Brazil – Compulsory for literate citizens between 18 and 70 years old. Non-compulsory for Brazilian Youth age 16-17 or over 70 or illiterate citizens of any age. A justification form for not voting can be filled at election centers and post offices.

    Cyprus – Introduced in 1960.

    Ecuador – Introduced in 1936. Compulsory for citizens between 18 and 65 years old; non-compulsory for citizens aged 16–18, illiterate people, and those older than 65.


    Luxembourg – Voluntary for those over 70.

    Nauru – Introduced in 1965.

    Peru[25] – Introduced in 1933. Compulsory for citizens between 18 and 70 years old, non-compulsory for those older than 70.

    Singapore – Compulsory for citizens above 21 years old on the 1st of January of the year of election

    Uruguay – Introduced in 1934, but not put into practice until 1970.

    Schaffhausen canton in Switzerland had compulsory voting – Introduced in whole Switzerland in 1904, but abolished in other cantons in 1974.


  30. Salstarat

    In my opinion compulsory voting in a small country (in population terms) as Australia is absolutely imperative. It is not perfect and the method of compulsory voting should be improved .. perhaps the use of computerised voting programs and systems that prevent “Donkey Voting”. The alternative is that ruthless unconscionable governments (such as the current morally bankrupt Abbott regime) can “stack” elections with their own people and skew the election outcome. Australia is a country that is overflowing with apathy and complacency. Because of the level of horrendous corruption, dishonesty, LIES and lack of transparency of this discredited Abbott regime, the overwhelming majority of X-Y Generation have, sadly, completely disconnected from politics! Therefore, if voting was NOT compulsory, we would be overridden by the red neck, ultra right wing neoliberal BOGAN who would receive some “financial incentive” to vote for the party who can provide them with the most lucrative, self seeking incentives.

    Non-compulsory voting puts the electorate on a merry-go-round of unstoppable, relentless corruption and extremely expensive election campaigns (like they have in America) to ramp up voters to their cause! The billions and billions of dollars the USA spends on electoral campaigns would be unaffordable in a country like Australia. The other alternative is that big business, with their own corrupt agendas, will contribute undisclosed massive sums towards the electoral campaigns … and we all KNOW that this can only lead the country down a very dark road as we have seen with the LNPs unswerving loyalty to their big polluting contributors, the mining and oil industries! With compulsory voting, at least, Australia can offset these self seeking votes.

    VOTING IS A PRIVILEGE!!! It is absolutely ESSENTIAL that every Australian citizen 18+ has the privilege and opportunity of electing the government that THEY want. Australians want a government of THEIR choosing and NOT the nefarious government who has managed to attain the greatest amount of funding towards their electoral campaigns where they are beholden to massive contributors up their necks in self entitlement.

    Sadly, this current government has fallen into the latter category but was aided and abetted by the Machiavellian Murdoch press who see Abbott as the gormless puppet who can and will push through the neoliberal Oligarchical agenda of the IPA.

  31. doctorrob54

    This is perfect,abbott doing a great job and showing everyone that did not know what libturds was all about,well now they can’t say they haven’t been shown,let alone told.I want abbott to stay as PM till next election,perfect.

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