Last night’s all-female QandA was an interesting one for a few reasons. The panel included three senators, Liberal Marise Payne, Labor Penny Wong and Jacqui Lambie. Representing the Palmer United Party, Lambie had some completely outrageous opinions on everything from climate change (“scientists are split half and half”) to compulsory national service (the only solution to youth unemployment). It was the first time I’d heard her speak in a forum like QandA and my, was it entertaining. Let’s hope they get her back soon.
Anyway, Liberal Senator Marise Payne had something interesting to say about election promises. An audience member called the government out on promising taxpayers no cuts to education, health, pensions and ABC funding before the election. Marise Payne, minister for human services, responded:
“I think it would be, perhaps injudicious to take all of the pre-budget commentary as verbatim truth…”
Ummm, what? Firstly, the Abbott government has not just renegotiated on a couple of insignificant election promises, as Marise suggests. Health and education are key areas and key reasons why taxpayers may have voted for Abbott in the first place. But according to Marise, we shouldn’t be upset because it was said before the budget and it’s completely excusable to lie and break promises when trying to get elected. Right.
This exchange on QandA last night is reflective of a wider problem in Australian politics and one that voters should not be putting up with. As Clementine Ford rightly pointed out:
If you can’t keep a promise, don’t make it. By trying to please both those who want more funding and those who are concerned about fiscal responsibility, you’re lying to everyone and you can kiss the trust of the public goodbye.
Maybe Jacqui Lambie did get one thing right: