But today the Morrison Government’s lies, the secrecy, the rorts, the corruption, the stunts and the failure to accept responsibility are worse than they have ever been. The Truth and Integrity Project aims to reach out to all Australians – whatever their differences are or have been – to promote a fair and successful Australia where truth, integrity, policy and decency are the core of politics.
I have joined John Hewson as a Patron of the Truth and Integrity Project because Australian democracy is under serious threat and both the Coalition and the Federal ALP have no vision beyond the election of 2022.
Citizens have to be prepared to engage and challenge to tackle the global threat of climate change. The Coalition, captive of the fossil fuel lobby, lies about meeting global targets for emissions reductions and the Opposition’s line is vague and shifty. The states, irrespective of political allegiances, have been prepared to set targets: the Commonwealth has not – because there will be three elections before 2030 and ten before 2050.
The well-respected ‘Democracy Index 2020’, published by The Economist’s Intelligence Unit calculates that only 8.4 per cent of the world’s population live in a ‘full democracy.’
Australia is one of them, but we cannot take it for granted. We have become increasing secretive, authoritarian, sensitive to criticism. Our Parliaments sit for shorter periods than any other Western nation. The words ‘truth’, and ‘accountability’, ‘courage’, ‘debate’, ‘analysis’, ‘critical thinking’, ‘compassion’, ‘vision’ and ‘global’ have disappeared from the political lexicon.
Only an active citizenry can prevent sliding towards authoritarian or populist democracy with its endless appeals to the short term and self-interest.
Democracy is under internal threats with the rise of populism, nativism, raising levels of corruption, decaying institutions, with corruption accepted as normal, with vested interests setting agendas, leaders who refuse to be accountable for their actions, ‘retail politics’, where leaders fail to ask of a proposition‘Is it right’, but ‘Will it sell?’, in a new era in which feeling and opinion is displacing analysis and evidence, and leaders fail to lead.
The major casualties of our politics over recent years have been truth and integrity in government. There has been a very significant erosion of trust and belief in our politicians and in our political processes.
The Morrison Government has elevated constantly denying its clear responsibilities to an art form.It goes to extreme lengths to avoid accountability. Unfortunately both major parties know what needs to done to clean up our politics and to refocus government of the issues of significance to most Australians now and into the future. Each seems to believe that they are better able to ‘game’ and exploit the weaknesses of the current system to their particular short-term political advantage, rather than to improve the system to deliver good government in our national interest to the benefit of current and future generations of Australians.
We also need major reforms to cleanup areas such as campaign funding, lobbying, truth in political advertising and possible penalties for false and misleading conduct.
I strongly support this TRUTH and INTEGRITY PROJECT in the hope that we can help focus the next election on these issues and to improve the quality of public debate accordingly.