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Australians must be wary of Trump's 'big lie' infiltrating our politics

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The tenures of Scott Morrison and Gladys Berejiklian have seen many distortions of fact (image by Dan Jensen)

"The big lie", effectively used by former President Donald Trump and the Republican Party, now casts a shadow over Coalition federal and state government announcements.

A huge chunk of Americans believe that Trump was robbed of the presidency because of fraudulent voting. Repeated independent audits of the challenged states’ voting records have shown no evidence of fraudulent voting.  

But that was just the beginning. A never-ending stream of comments supporting the "big lie" continue to be broadcast by the Republican Party, Fox News and right-wing media in chorus with Republican-dominated state governments.

A real battle is raging in the U.S.; Propaganda and spin are the new weapons, readily distributed and sucked up via the media, commentators and GOP politicians. Slogans are the way to go. 

Trump's Make America Great Again (MAGA) movement has resulted in the greatest threat to U.S. democracy since its civil war.

Add in a few desperate conspiracies like QAnon and chaos reigns. No one knows what or who to believe. 

The impacts of social conditioning and the constant repetition of lies are not unlike the stranglehold the North Korean regime has on their populace. 

In the U.S., there’s no need to strong-arm people; tried and proven marketing techniques based on drilling in the message work fine.

The "big lie" is a recipe to divide the nation. In the U.S., Trump is cast as a hero, his legitimate presidency stripped by fraudulent voting. As the lies spread, a new set of values is being created, values that ignore corruption, celebrate ignorance on climate change, believe everything is a conspiracy and support dishonest governments. 

Unfortunately, the "big lie" recipe seems to have found its place in Australia.

There is no better example than the recent resignation of former NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian as a result of ICAC revealing it was investigating whether she had been involved in 'a breach of public trust' between 2012 and 2018 because of her relationship with disgraced former MP Daryl Maguire.

The mainstream media and media personalities have tried to portray the former Premier as a victim of the "nasty ICAC" which is really a stooge for disrupting "good" government.

During an interview with shadow Federal Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus, Waleed Aly of The Project suggested that the ICAC has “eroded” public confidence in politicians and political systems. 

Aly questioned whether the ICAC had done its job correctly:

“Is there a danger that it can do the opposite by getting rid of premiers that are widely respected?"

Nine Entertainment-owned The Macleay Argus went further in its defence of Berejiklian, headlining a lead article: 'Gladys Berejiklian touted as future PM'.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is quoted saying that the former Premier had 'a lot more to contribute to Australian politics'  and that 'she has tremendous support both in the Liberal Party and, I think right across NSW'.

Former Transport Minister Andrew Constance is also quoted in the article:

'Do I think she’s got the capacity to be prime minister of Australia? You bet.'

Comments on Sky News by former Opposition Leader of the NSW Liberal Party, Peter Collins, are extraordinary.

Collins claimed there is “palpable anger” in the State over Berejiklian’s resignation:

“Gladys absolutely worked her way into the hearts of people in this State and I believe there is real grief out there. This is like a death in the family, for everyone. She really, really earned the respect of people in this State, regardless of their politics.”

Former Victorian Liberal Party President Michael Kroger outdid Constance and Collins in another Sky News interview:

I know the people around her very well, some of them very well, and they’ve said for years that she is absolutely one of the purest… most honest politicians they’ve ever come across.

 

And the public know that, the public can feel that, despite all this Maguire stuff, her popularity is very high.

 

Maybe she should’ve reported something, okay, should that have ended her career?

John Roskam, CEO of the Institute of Public Affairs, a right-wing organisation, opined that:

'A grubby political deal is not necessarily a corrupt one and it should be the voters that decide whether it is or not, not lawyers applying their own subjective and vague criteria of what’s "corrupt"... The public should decide whether its trust has been breached, not bureaucrats.'

Berejiklian had no problems in slamming ICAC accusing it of pursuing her over “historic matters” that had already been investigated and explained.

She was further incensed by the timing.

An insight into Berejiklian’s character can be found in an article leading up to the 2019 Election by The Sydney Morning Herald’s Deborah Snow.

'I’m not scared of anybody', Berejiklian said.  

Not to be outdone, a challenger to spreading the "big lie" recipe is the Prime Minister.

In response to an alarming report by the IPCC, Morrison sent forth his latest marketing slogan balloons:

“Technology will change everything. Technology over taxation.”

His Energy Minister, Angus Taylor, claimed overcoming challenges posed by climate change was a “shared responsibility”, thereby putting any blame elsewhere.  

Karen Andrews, Industry Minister, told a Flinders University audience she was focused on:

"... what the solutions will be rather than endlessly discussing targets or whether or not climate change is real.”

In Washington DC, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi repeated Morrison’s climate change slogan during his recent visit:

“The Prime Minister of Australia, Morrison, he was saying, ‘We’re not only addressing the Paris Accords, our slogan is we meet it and we beat it’.”

This is the same politician who said in January 2020:

“We don’t want job-destroying, economy-destroying, economic-wrecking targets and goals which won’t change the fact that there have been bushfires or anything like that in Australia.”

Lately, the "big lie" recipe has been useful in providing Coalition politicians rejecting carbon emission goals with ammo. 

They “don’t want to see farmers having to pay the price".

Morrison said:

"I will not be asking people in the regions of this country to carry the burden for the country alone.

 

I will be ensuring that we have a plan that addresses their critical needs, that addresses their anxieties, and seeks to bring the whole country with us on this very important task that we have together.”

It is time to closely watch the outcome of the "big lie" in U.S. politics. Whatever transpires, it may be a harbinger of Australia’s future. A MAGA movement may be closer than we think.

Sue Arnold is an IA columnist and freelance investigative journalist. You can follow Sue on Twitter @koalacrisis.

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