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Friday, September 07, 2012

Malcolm Turnbull on the deficit of trust

Also worth your time the George Winterton Lecture in Perth this week by my local Federal member Malcolm Turnbull entitled “Republican virtues – truth, leadership and responsibility.” It incudes a section on the urgent need for honesty and for steps to restore trust in political leadership. Some extracts:
Most Australians believe we need an honest, informed policy debate. Yet I don‟t see many people who believe we have that. Instead, we all hear again and again that Australians are ashamed of the parliament, that they see it as nothing more than a forum for abuse, catcalling and spin....
Call me idealistic if you like, but we have a greater need than ever for informed and honest debate and, yet, with the decline of journalism less means to deliver it and hold to account those who seek to frustrate it....
In case you think my call for a change of attitude and practice to truth in politics is just idealism – let me make a practical political point. It seems to me that we don’t simply have a financial deficit, we have a deficit of trust. We can argue for hours which side and which politicians,which journalists indeed, have contributed most to it. But it affects all of us and all of our institutions.The politicians and parties that can demonstrate they can be trusted, that they will not insult the people with weasel words and spin, that they will not promise more than they can deliver, that they will not dishonestly misrepresent either their own or their opponents‟ policies – those politicians and parties will, I submit to you, deserve and receive electoral success.
Before this speech I had sent him a link to my Polly perks, lobbying, probity, sunshine post
which refers to a number of reasons why pollies are held in low regard. I said I'd be happy to publish any comment he would like to make. The offer still stands.

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