Dateline: Australia, Federal Politics, February 2017.
So Peta Credlin admitted that the Gillard Government's climate change policy was never a carbon tax. The Coalition saw an opportunity for political gain and made the issue one of the hip pocket and not the environment. It employed 'brutal politics.'
The problem here is not one of the merits or otherwise of the policy that was being brutalised; the problem here is that such a campaign shows a lack of respect for the citizen and results in huge damage to our political discourse and, by extension, our society.
Politicians and members of the media tell us, quite correctly, that to be an Australian Citizen is an immense privilege and should be respected greatly.
However, how many of those in politics and the media who make a virtue of citizenship show due respect to we citizens?
Politicians show a lack of respect for the citizen.
In my various adventures in the commercial world, many times I have heard this phrase used, "It's good business".
When I delved into what the person using the phrase was referring to, it was mostly to do with some sleight of hand or con job that resulted in customers (whether consumer, business or government) being sold a pup.
When I asked why they thought it was good business to mislead their customers, customers with whom they were trying to develop a relationship, the response would invariably return to the phrase "It's good business".
When I then asked if they would be equally delighted if another company did exactly the same thing to them or their family, the response was almost always one of embarrassment.
Political behaviour is exactly the same, though the phrase used here is, "It's good politics."
What does this mean?
Often it will mean that they have been successful in garnering electoral support on the back of a campaign designed to mislead, scare, and exploit ignorance and prejudice in the electorate.
Worse, many in the media will often congratulate this type of activity as a stroke of electoral skill; even genius.
It's genius to mislead voters? Must be one of those "family values" we hear so many politicians banging on about endlessly.
It follows, therefore, that these same politicians would find it equally agreeable to have members of their family misled via the genius of "good politics".
Can't politicians see that every time they treat the citizen with a lack of respect that they are actually showing a lack of respect for themselves and the nation?
Media shows a lack of respect for the citizen.
Media reporting is exactly the same, though the phrase used here is, "It's a good story."
It's considered good business to beat up a story (via misrepresentations and distortions) because the public, so it is believed, will be much more interested in the sensational rather than if the bare facts were reported.
My question to those beating up the stories is the same as to the business people earlier, why do they think it's good business to mislead people?
Are they happy then for themselves or their families to be similarly misled by someone else beating up a story? Or, would they be delighted for themselves or one of their family members to be the subject of a beat up?
Members of the media are members of the public too. Can they not see that whatever activity they undertake that shows a lack of respect for the citizen is also showing a lack of respect for themselves and the nation?
An ex-political adviser boasting about how clever she has been in devising a strategy designed to mislead the citizens must not be lauded and applauded but rather criticised and condemned.
Not because it helped to install Tony Abbott as our Prime Minister - though that by itself warrants serious consideration of revoking of her citizenship for an act equivalent to treason - but because of the damage such behaviour does to the fabric of our society.
Democracy and a free society is a fragile thing. It is not a given. It had to be hard fought for and cost many of our fellow citizens in past generations dearly.
Maintaining it requires hard work, sacrifice and constant vigilance, and central to it all is respect for the citizen.
Disrespecting the citizen can lead to unimaginable and unpalatable consequences.
We ignore this at our peril.