An overused and rarely understood word that many throw about as if it meant a single thing.
Trust me I'm a politician. Our boy Malcolm stands in front of the cameras and microphones and with his multi million dollar smile says this election is all about trust. We can't trust Labor with the finances of this country but you know you can trust us.”
I have spoken lately with Labor voters who repeat the same thing as if it is true. They ignore the facts that are in plain view. This government are going into debt as fast as they can all the time blaming the former government for the current problem. As if there was no global financial crisis that the then Labor government successfully avoided and then managed to hand the LNP one of the best performed economies in the OECD.
Now they talk about budget repair as if they are the only ones with the knowledge to achieve it. If the facts are scrutinised in a methodical way it was Howard-Costello who blew the windfall of the mining boom in election stunts and giveaways while cutting the Commonwealth's revenue base that would create the structural problems underlying the economy today. Now Howard is touring the country in support of LNP candidates who need his help. This is going backwards.
I am not as pessimistic as some of my friends who can't see a change of government ahead. I think that at the least there will be a hung Parliament with whoever takes power having to deal with the Greens and Independents including Xenophon. Palmer is finished and I seriously doubt whether Hanson will get up. I would love to see the end of Abetz, Joyce and Pyne. But then there is Cormann, Bernardi and the rest of the uglies. You can only hope but it will be good to see them on the Opposition benches if they do manage to slither in.
Pyne and Brough of course are part of a Federal police inquiry that will hopefully report during this election cycle but imagine a finding afterwards if they did slither in. Jamie Briggs groped one of his staff who is now running against him. Howard is supporting for Briggs which tells you a lot about both of them. Turnbull remains captive to the right wing of his party and even while touring the flood devastated east coast can't bring himself to mention climate change.
On a more immediate front the idea of trust is also overused until it becomes meaningless. 'Trust me I'm adopted' is an old play on 'trust me I'm a doctor' but somehow everybody is looking after number one in a Darwinian way as it needs to be. The human ape has to protect and project their DNA into the future. Nobody trusts or rewards altruism, it has to be an end in itself. Do good things because you see the need for them to be done rather than do good and expect to be rewarded outside yourself. It is a very old Jewish tradition that if you give financial help you should do it anonymously rather than for profile. The act of kindness can be innate rather than self serving. In Richard Dawkins' seminal book The Selfish Gene he points to lots of research that shows cooperation is a better survival strategy than competition and this seems self evident.
Back to the political arena for a moment. The LNP is the party of the law of the jungle and the ALP seeks to moderate that idea with the concept of public goods which a generation after Reagan and Thatcher is a concept openly derided in Parliament and in the press. And what has happened to our news outlets? Increasingly the printed mastheads are decreasing in circulation and recently all the majors put out a Chinese government propaganda supplement, a sign of their demise as we the readers look online for trusted sources of news like the Guardian, the Conversation and the citizen journalism that is taking the place of the old journalism which has clearly had it's day.