Nov 082007

If you listened to Radio National Breakfast this morning, you’d have heard Peter Costello calling Kevin Rudd a liar.

If you kept on listening, you’d have heard Wayne Swan come on immediately afterwards, and he called Costello a liar because Costello called Rudd a liar. So, is anyone telling the truth?
It’s like this, reader. We’re listening to politicians, so nothing any of them say is completely and absolutely the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. However, when Costello labels Rudd a liar because Rudd refers to Howard’s dismal record as treasurer, preciding over double-digit inflation and unemployment and interest rates of 22% in 1982, he is stating facts. The statistics are all freely available from the ABS and Reserve Bank, as I’ve previously indicated. One only need undertake some research to prove or disprove these issues. Trouble being that very few voters want to do that research, preferring to believe one side or the other. Basically, your average Aussie voter is a lazy prick.
What Kevin Rudd speaks about in relation to 22% interest rates is precisely what Wayne Swan finally detailed this morning. For the first time since this 22% interest rate business has been used by Labor, Wayne Swan finally elucidated the origin of Labor’s charge. As I discovered for myself, April 8, 1982 the 90 Day Bank Bill Swap Rate reached 22%. While not directly linked to home lending rates, it is fair and reasonable to state that John Howard, as treasurer in 1982, presided over ‘interest rates’ of 22%. Rudd never speaks about ‘mortgage interest rates’ of 22% because that is false. What Costello endeavours to do is claim that Rudd does speak about ‘mortgage interest rates’, which is deliberate misdirection on his part. Obfuscation, but not necessarily an outright lie. Just as what Labor claims is not an outright lie, but obfuscation.
Now, I personally don’t like Wayne Swan and have serious doubts about his ability to be a treasurer without lusting after the big chair. In other words, he’s a true politician. However, I also have a serious problem with the Coalition approach of deliberately avoiding the realities of the John Howard era as treasurer under Fraser. Those realities are as stark as the Keating recession era is in the collective political memory and simply cannot be denied for convenience sake.
The message is crystal clear, reader. Don’t take anything at face value and do your own research into issues you believe are important in deciding just who you’re going to vote for, if you haven’t already decided. Politicians are inveterate diverters of the truth in ways that make space flight look a complete dawdle. This morning’s example was a particularly good one.