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Promises, Promises, Promises

What’s a promise or, more specifically, an election promise? Is it a guilt-edged set-in concrete commitment made during an election campaign? What if the circumstances change after the campaign making it impossible to fulfil? Is a promise a legal commitment? Is it nothing more than just a proposal?

Tony Abbott said this about promises before the 2013 election:

“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.”

That is an unambiguous promise that one couldn’t take any other way than how it is written or spoken.


The day before the 2013 election, Tony Abbott said there would be no cuts to education, no cuts to health, no changes to the pension, no changes to the GST and no cuts to the ABC or SBS,”



And it is recorded in Hansard:

“…because his Government gave the false story the day before the election when the now Prime Minister of Australia said to the Australian people, ‘There will be no cuts to the ABC’.”

So, it is noted that Tony Abbott knowingly lied to the people on the eve of the 2013 election.

Paul Keating legislated tax cuts before the 1993 election but scrapped them soon afterwards when he recognised the budget was in great difficulties. The circumstances had changed.

Many believed he lied, but others thought it was an appropriate course of action.

Now we have another income tax promise. We have already legislated tax cuts for high-income earners. (Voted into law by both major parties.)

I believe the Prime Minister will abandon tax cuts for high-income earners once he has exhausted proof of the Government’s trust. Logic must prevail over emotion.

Then he can say:

“… we have reconsidered this tax break in the light of current knowledge and however obligated we find ourselves; the giving could never match the benefits of not doing so.”

Whatever criticism the Government gets, and there would be an avalanche of it, it is, however, the right thing to do. Transparency and honesty would be crucial. Broken promises are a hard sell and require exceptional circumstances. Therefore, words of explanation are essential.

They are not due for a couple of years, and by then, the Prime Minister should have built up a trust profile that will enable him to put a fair case for them to withdraw the legislation.

But let’s take a “so far” look at Albanese’s promises in the six months he has been in power. There is now but one week remaining of the parliamentary year, and some other promises remain on Labor’s list for 2022.

Although not as vast as the reforms of Gough Whitlam (now 50 years ago), one could draw similar parallels.

On the agenda are the Anti-corruption bill, or national ICAC, and the Government’s industrial relations reforms which the opposition describes as “extreme.”

The National Anti-Corruption Commission legislation will pass through the House of Representatives containing the “exceptional circumstances” clause for public hearings. It will be up to the Senate to change the clause that the major parties want but the average voter doesn’t.

You can almost hear them shouting, “we wanted a commission with teeth” now, we will not listen to or see any evidence.

Politicians will want to avoid any visible scrutiny of themselves. Especially if the “exceptional circumstances” clause is retained. But this will still be good legislation. It will have had a few teeth extracted and replaced with a reputational denture that protects the standing of witnesses and the accused fitted. One the Labor Caucus and the Coalition wholeheartedly supported anyway.

The rise of narcissism and inequality and the demise of compassion illustrate the state of the world.

Australians voted in tune with the temper of the nation on May 21. The two major parties suffered diminishing support that separated the boys from the men or, should I say, girls. This result ended with a three-way split reflecting the voting public’s mood for change. Teals and a scattering of independents were the third part of this three-way split, and all were progressives.

The progress made by Anthony Albanese and his Hawke-like team has been exceptional. From righting international relations, setting in train a decent Climate Change and energy policy, and last week, lowering the price of electric vehicles.

At the recent International Trade Union Conference held in Melbourne, Albanese told those in attendance that:

“… there are always those who say that any improvement in workers’ pay, any improvement in the status quo will see the sky fall in.

They say it every time and they are wrong every time.

And we will push ahead like we do every time.”

Philip Lowe, The Governor of the reserve bank, disagrees, saying that any wage improvement will only add to inflation.

With the Greens onside, it should be able to get the legislation passed before Christmas. David Pocock, the Australian Capital Territory independent senator, supports multi-employer bargaining, and the Government is willing to give him the amendments he’s pushing for. Although it’s hard to get anything out of him other than “I need more time.”

The promise, the commitment for our first nations people to have a voice in the Parliament, requires a referendum. History tells us they are challenging to win, significantly if the opposition is offside.

It is known that Opposition Leader Peter Dutton has a bitterly divided party room on the subject, and the only way out will be a free vote.

Indeed, we will, in this referendum debate, get a glimpse of whether Dutton has achieved his desire to become a more empathetic leader. Or will the long-standing, deep-seated conservative overtones of racism have their way?

There won’t be any funding for the yes and no cases. Why? Because you wouldn’t fund racist dogma on the no side.

The left of politics is concerned with people who cannot help themselves. The right is concerned with those who can.

By the time Christmas rolls around, the Government will have delivered on all the promises with some urgency behind them, including territory rights on voluntary assisted dying. The last of the big ones before Australia takes its annual sojourn will be the Government’s answer to spiraling energy costs.

Conclusion: By any test, this Government has done more in six months than the previous one achieved in a decade.

My thought for the day

Under Albanese, at least truth has survived the worst of it.

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  1. leefe

    ” …guilt-edged … ”

    They are politiciians. They know not guilt.

    As for election promises, we can go back to the lying rodent LJH himself with that delightful phrase “non-core promises”. Then he started bringing in non-core rights for non-core citizens. The Liubs and Nats were bad enough before him – he made them worse and there’s been no improvement since, just minor variations on the same ugly theme.

  2. New England Cocky

    The only thing Boofhead Duddo and $us$san Airhead have to offer Australian voters is their resignation from Parliament at the first opportunity …. like this final session of Parliament in 2022.

  3. Roscoe

    the ALP says it cant break the election promise of tax cuts but has no hesitation in breaking the election promise of an open and transparent NACC

  4. Terence Mills


    Regarding the National Anti-Corruption Commission, the ALP have not broken and election promise, the Bill is a good one and will pass through the parliament this year.

    You are probably referring to the issue of public hearings which, as Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus told Parliament on Wednesday the public hearings would be held in “exceptional circumstances” as part of a law that gives the new commission the power to investigate “serious or systemic corrupt conduct” affecting any part of the federal public sector.

    “It(the Commission) will have the power to investigate ministers, parliamentarians and their staff, statutory officer holders, employees of all government entities, and contractors,”

    If the Labor government were to mandate public hearings, you would turn the NACC into a kangaroo court open to political abuses and thus diminish its integrity. The fact that the Commission and the Commissioner as entities separate from government have the power to order public hearings when they deem it to be in the public interest seems to me a sensible discretionary balance.

    I’m open to discussing your views.

  5. Kathryn

    The loathsome pathological liar and rusted-on misogynistic bible-thumping hypocrite (pictured above) promised the world yet failed to achieve ONE SINGLE THING during his combative, disreputable, pathetic tenure as the worst, most destructive, totally corrupt and callously inhumane PM in living memory …. only his mentor, the war criminal John Howard and that smirking, power-obsessed, bone-idle fascist, Sloth Morrison (who surreptitiously attempted to undemocratically take-over at least five portfolios) are as depraved! History has proven that just about ANY member of the ALP is preferable to the lying, conniving, elitist political psychopaths that inhabit every dark corner of the LNP!

    The fact is that the ONLY thing the mumbling, bumbling, incoherent, inarticulate fool, Tony Abbott, brought to our shores was international embarrassment caused by Abbott’s shameful and appalling behaviour, the “normalisation” of a hate-filled combative form of politics, racist xenophobia, inherent political misogyny and worldwide condemnation!

  6. New England Cocky

    @ Kathryn: I love it when you talk dirty accurately describing the underwhelming members of the LIARBRAL NAZIONAL$ COALition. You have earned you place in my pantheon of political sceptics under Lord between the vehement Phil Pryor, and the perceptive Terence Mills.

  7. Clakka

    The entire proposition of truth-telling by politicians is complete joke and a farce. Short of criminal behaviour and pathetic sanctions for misleading parliament, is the endless evidence of guile and misdirection by all parties. The recent history of the LNP corrupted it further by gutlessly having their “advisors” do their dirty work – it became their art form and m.o.

    And, FFS, there are no laws prohibiting lies and misdirections in political advertising, freeing them up to directly lie to the public and the voters.

    The art of rhetoric and provocation to lateral thinking has been debased by the greedy, hateful win-at-any-cost class of ignorant, craven, opportunists in the circus of shirking responsibility and peddling bullshit. An epidemic spread from the “top” and now saturated and incorporated over what has become an ever increasing culture of irresponsible greed.

    Theft of such seeds from Anglo-America, imported to Oz, modernised, synchronised and fed back (with fertiliser) by scum, the likes of Crosby et al, has seen engorgement by cartoon characters dressed as politicians driving those countries to abject wreckage.

    What a class act of stupidity – as their self-corrupted souls are buried in a designer cycle of medication, shoutiness, misbehaviour and duplicity.

    They chose the toughest of jobs, they should grow up, toughen up, get on with it, and face up or f*ck off.

  8. Harry Lime

    Geez, Clakka, where else would they get a job?And what about their deceitful stenographers in the trash media? Unless the rug is pulled out on the likes of that nonagenarian arsehole in New York and his ilk,we’ll get nowhere.

  9. Geoff Andrews

    The Reserve Bank has been increasing interest rates for almost a year now on the theory that it will curb inflation, which apparently keeps rising.
    I wonder if the thought has crossed their minds that there may be little or no correlation between the two.

  10. Stephen Bowler

    Dissinformation, misrepresentation, lying and corruption are not new, they have been around since ancient times even before the Pharaohs.

    History tells that any system of governance fails once the level of deceit becomes obvious.

    In a democratic system especially a representative democracy, like ours, deceit becomes the downfall of governance and politicians, however because we did not have a means of combating deceit, the temptation for corrupt politicians was so obviously going to end the way it has.

    I trust that the NAC as proposed gets up and we can start to make amends for the last 45 years of the Neoliberal Ideological Agenda.

  11. paul walter

    Pairs nicely with the article on Elizabeth Holmes. As long as things soften legally, the Musk /Trump/Abbott/ Morridon.types will be able to white ant democracy till it hollows out and collapses, parallel with big business and its similar crooks. Margaret Thatcher said nearly fifty years ago, no more society-dead. Meaning, go and feed like vultures off a Zebra corpse.

  12. Michael Taylor

    I’ve now seen it all.

    Bloke rolls up at polling booth demanding to see the writs to confirm that the election had been called, and is not a hoax. Yep, a hoax being played out by a couple of million Victorians.

    Needed more proof!

    Yet he turned up to vote. 🤷🏻‍♂️

  13. Canguro

    Michael, the ongoing decline of intelligence yet again confirmed by your witnessing of a drongo in real time; I hesitate to ask, but what is it about drongos that they so willingly exhibit their stupidity in public environments to the open-mouthed astonishment of their fellow citizens?

    Do they they live in caves and bolt-holes and only emerge to scrounge for food and other necessities, and are otherwise detached and deprived of the ordinary everyday run of the mill information that essentially keeps the majority of us informed of the consensual reality that more or less keeps society on an even keel?

    Or perhaps they’re simply ‘on drugs.’ Chemicals that hasten cognitive decline, of whatever sort.

    Flabbergasting, as Rex Mossop would say.

    But then, it occurs to me that even though stupidity is observable from without, it’s not necessarily discerned from within. Stupid folk don’t generally wander around lamenting the fact that they’re stupid.

  14. Michael Taylor

    Canguro, some lady on Twitter replied that she experienced the same thing in Melbourne.

    And I did see some idiots up our way:

    “The pandemic is over! Why are you wearing a mask?”

    “Daniel Andrews rigged the last election!”

    “I’m using a biro coz the election officials will erase my pencil votes!”

    “There’s no parking up here. Why did Daniel Andrews choose this place as a place of polling?!”

  15. Michael Taylor

    After two weeks at the early voting booth in my electorate I reckon we buck the trend:

    Boomers walking in with how-to-vote pamphlets from the Independent, Labor, the Greens and the Animal Justice Party.

    The younger generation walking in with how-to-vote pamphlets from the Liberals.

  16. Phil Pryor

    Yagottalarf (he’s a pet dog) at the utter mediaeval stupidity of the failures in this electronic peasant feeding age of misinformation, as outlined here by many. Most are focussed in following the Vic. election, now 9.30, Sat. Night, and the stories of incredible but amusing backwardness abound. The vote has gone to some progressivism, some reluctance to punish steady work, to reward dunderhead’s opposition stupidity and to achieve, accidentally, a compromise based on results established and possible future social advancement, which is all we can reasonably expect. So, independents and some Greens have done well. But, the repulsive, primitive, totally untrustworthy country party, under the lying title “Nationals”, thieves and robbers and liars, have done well, cornering the yokel, peasant, boofhead, protest and vacuum vote. Can Australia be proud of a vote reward going to a party that homed Barnaby Rootem-Leavem-Drinkup-Lieonandcheat Joyce, the Armidale Agony Anus?? As in Venice, far Canal!! And, now, that twisted primitive defective, a Ms. Mc’Kenzie of the Thievingrobbinglyinglarceny Party, says that they all have done well in opposition, liberals too, as well as the country clods. If a lady says that she wants utter sexual satisfaction and that a dream of masturbation is sufficient for a triumphal result, well, how economical, of effort and truth. Fourbagger…

  17. wam

    Yes, lord, Albo seems honest and, despite the media bias, has done well.. Even with the rabbott and his joey as examples of ignorance, it is difficult for treasurer and PM keating not to have known the state of the economy? With the median $40k below those at the bottom end of Australians who will benefit from stage 3 cuts and pollies at the top end what is the difference between albo and scummo??? Your thought, I have tried on and off all day but it is to good for me!!!
    well done. Dan, congratulations.

  18. paul walter

    They won.

    The IPABC coverage failed again. The Greens reminded us again of things enviro and the rverland kicked against the floods.
    All in all, an interesting night.

    Made more interesting still, with the Socceroos grafting out a win, as it was apparent early that the Libs had missed out.

    Good speech from Andrews and Guy let go gracefully- it iis now sinking in that the fed election and several state elections were not flukish,there were real reasons as to policy as to why Labor won- but Labour needs to think again, as to why the outer subs were unimpressed at the election.

  19. Terence Mills

    On the coverage of the election results I was flicking back and forth between ABC and SKY.

    I’ll give it to SKY, despite some snarling from Peta Credlin and Jane Hume, their electronics and graphics were good and they called the election for Labor well before the ABC.

    On the ABC Antony Green had his usual stuff ups with the technology that he doesn’t seem to have any control over.

    A good win for Labor and an astute electorate who could see through the misinformation and conspiracies – let’s be honest, the Liberals at no stage during the election showed themselves to be a government in waiting.

    Big challenge for the Herald Sun having to go back to reporting news and not wasting time on the steps at a weekender on the Mornington Peninsula.

  20. Canguro

    The Liberal mindset, expatiated:

    “We live in a state of idiots,” said one disgruntled Liberal voter.

    “It’s like half the population has gone mad,” opined another.

    “It’s like a bad football game isn’t it,” suggested a third. “It’s all over.”

    “I’m depressed now,” confessed a fourth.

    And, “it’s like Melbourne has Stockholm Syndrome,” a perplexed supporter said. “They should rename it Melbourne syndrome.”

    “We still have to have a fighting spirit because the Liberals are on the right side of history,” said a defeated candidate. “We can join the dots, we can see where the dangers are. We just have to be there when people come to their senses.”

    And on Matthew Guy…“He’s absolutely brilliant and the far and away the best political mind we’ve got in this state.”

    Bwahahaha… that’s it folks! The Liberal mindset, laid out bare. Blame the voters for their stupidity. Deny that your policies are a crock of shite. Defend the mundane & uninspiring leader of the party, ignore the self-evident incapacity for him to galvanise the support of the Victorian electorate. Live in denial. It’s the Liberal way.

  21. Michael Taylor

    Terry, I agree. Antony seemed a bit off his game.

    I watched the ABC, and was going mad over the continued talk of lockdowns, lockdowns lockdowns. But as soon as the results started coming through we heard nothing about lockdowns. Like the click of a switch, the narrative changed to the Liberal’s women problem.

    Canguro, love the moaning from the losers.

  22. wam

    Well said ‘dance of the cuckoos’ the grass is greener away from the ABC on election nights. I find him so annoying obvious.
    oops, cangaroo that list reads like an intelligent labor description of how we lost?

  23. Phil Pryor

    Canguru offers some conservative arsenoise about losing an election by structural stupidity, as if that matters much now. Conservative policy is based upon lying, propagandising, false info, advertising, indoctrination, etc, and applied to profiteering, coercing, controlling and cornering.No decency is required and law may be outflanked, often by hiring “enthusiastic and rubbery” lawyers. Conservatives just HATE losing control of the levers, brakes, accelerators, superchargers, spares, chrome and earning capacity of the big machine. Victoria was a harem slut under Menzies, used, abused, taken for granted and milked. Curious, but the death of this came from an era of Kennet in Victoria and Howard in NSW, both egofixated driven uglies who had to deny ugliness and incapacity by furious scheming and submission to any filth of policy. Australia has gone down, Victoria shuffling, the future insecure, and Andrews, who did better than any individual leader and navigated the states premier’s meetings well, in the face of the incompetent, lazy, devious, lying anus Morrison, will steady the state’s progress, a little wobbly, for the pox of Merde Dog and the mangy media maggots he rents is always there. I followed Roy Morgan and Poll Bludger articles for weeks, and so thought that 48 to 50 seats seemed assured for the ALP with independents and Greens doing well. So it proved true, and was clear enough to imagine. More people realise that the network of conservatives, themselves glove puppets of robbing interests and donors for self, are our deep, rotten, long term enemies, and they need attacking, fighting, outing.

  24. New England Cocky

    @ Canguro: It appears that Victorian LIARBRALS have adopted the same strategy as the locals supporting ”Nazional$ Family Values” of adultery, alcoholism, amorality & misogyny in .New England. These astute Australian voters seem to believe that the optimal way to view the future is to stand with your legs apart, put your head between your knees … and look up, making preparation for the 19th century celebrations in 22 years a piece of Country Women’s Association cake..

  25. margcal

    Terence Mills November 26, 2022 at 10:38 am
    Regarding the National Anti-Corruption Commission, the ALP have not broken and election promise, the Bill is a good one and will pass through the parliament this year.

    I can’t now find it but I read, in the last 24 hours or so (Mon Ryan?), that the pork-barrelling provisions of the NACC have been neutered.
    If this is so, you have to wonder … that’s a big part of it for me.

  26. margcal

    Michael Taylor November 26, 2022 at 8:47 pm
    After two weeks at the early voting booth in my electorate I reckon we buck the trend:
    Boomers walking in with how-to-vote pamphlets from the Independent, Labor, the Greens and the Animal Justice Party.
    The younger generation walking in with how-to-vote pamphlets from the Liberals.

    At the two places where I stood for too many exhausting hours (my legs complained) we didn’t have such success with the older voters. Too many of the young voters were coming along with mummy and daddy – current rusted on Libs and clearly the next generation of rusted on Libs in their wake.

    On the plus side, we did have “lots” of younger voters taking flyers from all of Greens, Labor and Teal but walking straight past the Libs. So all is not completely lost with the younger generation.

    Humour moments …..
    Someone said to me that an older woman with expertly but heavily applied make-up is in all likelihood a Lib voter. Have to say I agreed.
    A couple of days later….. older woman handing out Lib HTV cards says to an older woman answering to that description: “I love your make-up.”
    Cracked me up. The things that are important. < sigh >

  27. margcal

    Found it, re the NACC – in yesterday’s email from Mon Ryan to all on her mailing list …. it is so refreshing to have an MP who tells you what they’re doing, no grandstanding, just a report.
    Anyway, she said of why she spoke in Parliament recently about the NACC:

    I was moved by frustration that the government had removed most of its protection against pork-barrelling! There’s more to be done on that in the Senate.

  28. Michael Taylor

    margcal, I did about nine days. Who would have thought that standing up all day could cause every muscle in your body to ache?

  29. wam

    Michael, ‘stood’ is the answer to aches. What district are you in??? Benambra??
    First past the post is interesting?
    any answer to the shoe story?

  30. paul walter

    Some comments on Green.

    To me always more likely to say something more intelligent than the morons ABC management hires for election sitcoms.

    No. I will not watch Hume- a sly cupcake version of Cash, under any circustance, but the soccer was good.

    Buttrose’s IPABC is now always short on substance in favour of diversion, as anyone still watching “Backsliders” will likely attest to.

    It’s Tabloid ABC and the rest of MSM are worse still..

  31. Terence Mills


    You raise some interesting issues.

    My understanding is the the Commission will look into any instances of serious and systemic corruption and where the law has been broken the matter will be referred to the courts for action : the NACC is not a court of law.

    Porkbarrelling could be anything from handing out lollies to kids to seeking to influence voters with the promise of a football stadium. For instance, Tasmania is looking for an AFL berth and already lobbyists are approaching both major parties to commit to a new stadium in Hobart – is that potential porkbarrelling ?

    The sports rorts issue is slightly different as it was clearly systemic in that it sought to benefit a number of marginal electorates against departmental advice – there was a pattern – is that porkbarrelling ?

    To try and tie down porkbarrelling to a specific definition is not that easy because it could not cover every situation : the Commission will look into serious and systemic issues to see if these qualify as corrupt acts.

    There will undoubtedly be cases that will slip through the net and, as time goes by, we may need to tighten the legislation.

  32. LambsFry Simplex.

    Terence Mills, it is surely the case- summed up nicely. I still have this odd perverse feeling.

    Like, when I was a kid, the wrinklies may have said “pork barrelling”, is a euphemism and used earlier,simpler terms like “bribes” and “corruption”.

    I still can’t quite “get” the idea that graft needs to be “managed” rather than “snuffed”. If I was caught for a traffic offence and tried to give the copper a few bucks to take a more mellow view, every chance I would be hauled up before the Beak and fined, perhaps canned..

    Ok, so it is not so black and white. It is a bit strw manish, what I am saying, but perhaps it is the old fashioned Methodist absolutism some of my rellies were fond of, but to me the new commisssion must have teeth- no panhandling it away. Too much of the USA has crept into public life, “whatever it takes” and trying to get people to accept graft seems a slippery slope, the rot setting in.

    Mind you, this place has been legendarily graft-ridden since the days of the Rum Rebellion then Eureka. If they are not going to jail them like they would us, surely at least more public hearings for a bit of consolatory releif via public blame and shame, by the evidence..

  33. Clakka

    Noblesse Oblige. A dear friend (no longer with us) from the Melb arts community originally hailed from San Bernadino following the rejection of the silver spoon to which she was born. She was a raconteur extraordinaire, with a lived perspective not many are afforded. Being of modern American nobility, she had dined with magnate families the likes of the Du Ponts and innumerable high riding political pretenders.

    The family, had deep roots in American history. One day, when discussing American wealth and politics, she mused on the family obtaining its original wealth from the coal mines of Kentucky and surrounds. I asked about oil, and she said, “Not so much.” On a roll, I asked her about the proceeds of the trades of opium and slavery. Her husband (my very old mate) protested, so she hustled him from the room. Upon returning to her chair, she responded, “Of course, both, and the coming of oil, gave the greatest opportunity ever to disguise those immoral gains.”

    She went on to recount the story of the forebears of the “King of the Mountain” (the sobriquet of one of her erstwhile husbands) – an anglo-italian retiree cum cocaine trafficker. A long-past distant cousin, an italian Count, out of the clique and caught red-handed, was escorted to the town square, and rendered to the pillory.

    Rather than endure the sport of the people, he took the end to his own hands, chewing out the veins in his wrists ….. Noblesse Oblige.

  34. Terence Mills


    I’ve had another think about the NACC and public hearings. I heard Jacquie Lambie ask the minister if the NACC would be completely independent of government and she was assured that it would be. She then asked how it could be independent if the Commissioner’s hands were tied by the way the legislation is worded. This is section 73 (2) :

    ** 73 (2) The Commissioner may decide to hold a hearing, or part of a hearing, in public if the Commissioner is satisfied that:
    (a) exceptional circumstances justify holding the hearing, or the part of the hearing, in public; and
    (b) it is in the public interest to do so.**

    Lambie raises a good point and I think there are two solutions that the government needs to look at. Either delete altogether the reference to ‘exceptional circumstances’ or substitute or in place of and between (a) and (b) thus giving the Commissioner a real discretion.

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