Smears, Slurs and Political Points

Today we’ve had the Labor Party in full character assassination mode in their quest to score some political points.

The attack has been on Senator Arthur Sinodinos in respect to his role as chairman of a company before he became a senator. Although Labor didn’t make any specific allegations against Arthur, they wanted political blood and consumed the entire morning session in an attempt to get it.

Just before question time, Arthur stood aside from his ministerial duties pending his evidence to an ICAC inquiry about corruption in NSW politics.

The fact that this inquiry is principally focused on alleged corruption by former NSW Labor members of parliament seems lost on Bill Shorten’s Labor Party.

The entire affair is one we should lament at a number of different levels.

Public life is supposed to be about service, not about personal enrichment and there is a very strong suggestion that some associated with the Labor Party have sought to inappropriately enrich themselves at taxpayers’ expense.

Let me make it clear that if it’s Labor, Liberal, Green or Independent my position on corruption would be the same. Crooked politicians should have the legal book thrown at them in the court of law – as should all lawbreakers.

But there is nothing I have seen or read that suggests my colleague has done anything wrong. In the fullness of time I hope that is demonstrated through the ICAC hearings and I feel confident it will.

However, some of the muck thrown during the hypocritical outbursts by those on the Opposition benches is bound to stick and that is my great lament.

In the past, I too have been subject to slurs that have been without foundations. From personal experience I know that no matter what the truth some will choose to believe the worst. You will never change their mind so it’s not worth losing any sleep over it.

However, shouldn’t we expect more from those in our parliament?

A government minister has been asked to give evidence at a serious inquiry. He joins other politicians like Doug Cameron and Greg Combet who have been asked to shed light on some of the murky operations that have been a feature of NSW politics. That doesn’t mean they are guilty of anything – merely that they have an insight into matters the inquiry is interested in.

Yet the Labor Party seem prepared to malign a good man and attack his character because he happened to chair a company in which one of Labor’s own was an investor.

Arthur Sinodinos has done the honourable thing and stood aside pending the outcome of his evidence. The attacks on him were a distraction and were limiting the ability of the government to pursue its agenda.

However, the entire political theatre has come at a serious price and we are entitled to ask where it will end.

If mere smears, not facts, are all that is needed to move people aside and attempt to ruin their reputation, then politics has reached a new low.

I’ve highlighted this in the past based on my own experience although, in this case, I suspect Arthur Sinodinos will once again grace the government front bench.

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