Allan Takes Aim Blog

Has verballing become the political norm?

Posted on: 3 September 2013


 Has verballing become the political norm?

While candidates in the Australian Federal Election have another three days to chew anxiously on their fingernails voters are breathing a sigh of relief that the winner of this competition in lying and political verballing will soon be known. Will it be the Liberals Tony Abbott or Labor’s Kevin Rudd who will have the honour of carrying on Machiavelli’s political legacy, loosely called Democracy, on Capital Hill, Canberra?

I say loosely because it seems clear to me that after speaking on the phone to many voters, a good many of them have no clear idea of the policies of the various parties. Indeed, in some respects they will cast their votes for Labor or Liberal based on two things: verballed policies and dislike of the Rudd or Abbott, with the latter playing a large part in their choice.

Without a doubt the election has a presidential focus that is American in style but whether or not it is a system that fits Australia’s political culture is another matter? It may well come to pass that Australia will adopt a presidential system but I think a lot of water will flow under the bridge and a couple of new generations be born before that occurs.

It seems funny also that Australians condemn verballing when done not only by police but by people in various other professions such as media, the law and welfare, to mention but a few. However, during this election campaign verballing has run riot.

It is not unusual for politicians being interviewed to attribute false statements to opponents without verifying their accuracy which, in many cases, had already been shown to be false. Worse still, when the politician is making the false statement, they will, figuratively, hand on heart declare their honesty and integrity.

Over the past hours I have seen television adverts made by allegedly non-political groups supporting a particular party, based mostly on verballed statements. This is not to blame the person speaking the composer of the words and the apparatchiks behind the scene.

A good example of verballing are the words used by the Prime Minister, cut, cut, cut, to describe what he says will see 30,000 jobs disappear in the Public Service, Canberra’s biggest employer, if his opponent in the Prime Ministerial stakes won the election. Well I have heard his opponent say 12, 000 jobs would go by attrition but nowhere have I read or heard him say 30,000.

And in case you think I’m going to let Mr Abbott off, I’m not. He, too, is guilty of verballing but not on the same grand scale as Mr Rudd perhaps because voters already seem to think he is more trustworthy than Mr Rudd and who they would prefer as Prime Minister.

In Canberra itself however, the main battle is for a senate seat between Mr Seselja, Liberal and Mr Sheikh of the Greens, the party that sees itself as politically virtuous. Unfortunately, because Mr Sheikh’s exaggeration and verballing sinks to an even lower level than that of Labor I find my belief in the honesty and integrity of politicians weakening daily along with my belief in democracy.

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2 Responses to "Has verballing become the political norm?"

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