Everybody with even a limited intelligence knows Donald Trump lies, and that his lying is almost beyond comparison and that it is pathological1,2,3. Australia has had its political liars too, and perhaps the most obvious one, and one for which there is most documentation is Tony Abbott, who before the 2013 election delivered a plethora of lies to attempt to get elected4. In this he was successful, but that didn’t stop the lies; they continued unabated5-13.
After the relatively sane interval of the Turnbull Prime Ministership, we now have a Prime Minister who is more like Trump than Abbott was. Abbott would lie in doorstops and in opinion pieces he wrote (or someone wrote for him). However, I do not recall Abbott lying brazenly in places like the National Press Club or anywhere the format allowed senior reporters to question. However, I do admit that, as the Abbott hilarity continued, I tended not to watch Tony Abbott in such circumstances, so maybe I just missed such instances of him lying.
While I thought Abbott was the epitome of dishonesty, he has been well and truly eclipsed by Morrison. Morrison has adopted the same techniques as Trump. He simply lies outrageously even when confronted by the media in numbers. And when queried about some of his lies, he replies with non-answers such as ‘I do not agree with the premise of your question’, ‘that is a Canberra bubble question’, ‘I have already answered that’, ‘you already have my response to that’, ‘you can editorialise on that…’, ‘I don’t agree with your characterisation of that’ or simply rambles on about something unconnected. And more often than not, the media let him get away with it. If they don’t, and that happens rarely, Morrison simply leaves the scene14,15.
We have a government that is the most corrupt I have ever seen in 40 years of watching politics, and they are led by the worst liar I have ever seen in politics. The time for politeness is over. Morrison needs to be called out for what he is, a liar. The media need to stop dancing around his untruths, calling them inaccurate, or incorrect, or misleading. Morrison has access to the best information all the scientists and economists in the nation can muster, and he lies about it, consistently. What can the media do? They need to call out his lies, to his face. If they are unable to detect lies, when the information to do so is freely available, and the methods politicians use to lie are well understood16, then they perhaps should get out of the journalism profession. If, for some reason, they are afraid to call him out, then they are complicit in his lies, and should perhaps also get out of the journalism profession. If a journalist writes only what Morrison wants them to write, they are not in journalism, they are in public relations17.