There are three things you can be sure of in life, death, taxes, and politicians using smear tactics. We saw it yesterday with the coalition accusing thirteen Labor candidates of being ineligible to stand for office. That backfired for them, but despite assurances, the smear tactics are here to stay.
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The script follows.
Welcome to Editorial Echoes for November 21, 2007, I’m Samuel Gordon-Stewart.
Well that’s typical of me isn’t it. I should know better than to say things like “there will be an episode of Editorial Echoes every morning”…I suppose I’ll just never learn.
Anyway, on with the show, and thirteen Labor candidates are ineligible to stand for parliament because they hadn’t resigned from government jobs before the nominations to stand for parliament closed. Or at least, that’s what the coalition were claiming yesterday.
The claims have fallen apart in spectacular style. Apart from being wrong, the claims were based on outdated and poorly researched information. The accused Labor candidates struck back very swiftly, calling the accusations “the act of a desperate party”, and “another reason to “vote the for the coalition last”.
The tactic was grubby, and at least one of the accused Labor candidates has announced that the Labor party will never stoop that low. As much as I might like to believe that, I just can’t…politics is a very grubby business, and if the tables were turned, Labor were miles behind in the polls and they managed to get their hands on some seemingly highly damaging information about the coalition, I believe they would use it without hesitation. I believe that almost any politician in that position would.
Don’t get me wrong, the accusations were very serious, and I would expect the coalition MP behind the accusations, Andrew Robb, to apologise. All I am trying to say is that desperation politics is a game both major parties are very good at, and whilst an apology is in order, you can be guaranteed we will see similar tactics over and over again in the years ahead.
Any why will we see it again…it’s a matter of trust…if the accusations had been proven, or hard to disprove, the staunch supporters of either side wouldn’t have been affected, but swinging voters would have been. The accusation was the type of accusation which could have left a sense of “what else are they hiding” in voters’ minds, and removed a buch of candidates from some crucial seats.
As it happens it has only left the coalition looking very silly and embarrassed, but despite that, we will see the smear tactics from both sides again. The risk may be high with smear tactics, but the rewards can be even greater if the information is accurate.
This has been Editorial Echoes for November 21, 2007, if you have any thoughts or comments about any of this, email them to firstname.lastname@example.org
I’m Samuel Gordon-Stewart, I hope yesterday was a good day for you, tomorrow it’ll either be just me again, or I’ll be joined by a journalist who is on the campaign trail. So until then, tada.