Trust. It's something every politician asks voters to have in them.
Polls at the recent state and federal election tell us that voters have minimal trust in major party politicians. And who could blame them? 2019 has given us many examples of politicians who do not tell the truth.
Earlier this year, now Member for Dubbo Dugald Saunders told this newspaper and other media outlets he had the backing of the RSL for his campaign. That proved to be stretching the truth. The RSL said they did not back Mr Saunders or any politician. Mr Saunders, when called on that, sought to blame our paper for misreporting the facts. We then published a press release where he explicitly used the words "backing from the RSL".
Since his election, Mr Saunders has made misleading statements on occasion. Mr Saunders said if vocal opposition to the River Street bridge continued, the government may pull funding for it and give it to another electorate who needed funding but was more compliant with the government's wishes. We asked the Deputy Premier if that was the case and he said no, the funding was never in doubt and the River Street bridge was always going to go ahead regardless of vocal opposition to the project. The funding was never going anywhere. It was always going to stay in Dubbo. So what reason would Mr Saunders have to make the statement that it could?
National Party politicians are not alone when it comes to fibbing. Labor claimed the state government had cut fire fighting funding during the current bushfire crisis. An ABC RMIT fact check said the claims did not stack up. Labor had used figures that were not a like for like comparison. That is being tricky with the truth.
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Of course, if politicians refuse to answer questions as Prime Minister Scott Morrison is regularly doing since being re-elected, we will be even more suspicious of what is not being said and ask more questions. Politicians must not be allowed to get away with fobbing those that voted for them off with claims of gossip, or saying a particular issue is only important in a Canberra or Macquarie Street bubble. They must never be allowed to get away with making secret deals like the one the federal government and Jacqui Lambie did this week and masking it in the prism of 'national security'. How could people we elected vote on legislation and certain conditions within that legislation that they'd not even seen?
Rest assured here at the Daily Liberal we will continue to ask questions and hold politicians to account. It is what we do and what you expect.