A debased debate has left us all exposed to a highly personalised contest of bluster and brutal denigration. As voters, we seem vulnerable to bluster, assertion and denigration. And a loss of focus on policy substance makes it easier for character assassinations to cut through. Gillard and Abbott have both suffered this.
The politics of gratuitous hostilities erodes the democratic relationship of respect between people on different sides of an argument. This is a problem bigger than the politics of the day…We ought to respect people who brave the intrusions and trials of public life. We need to respect women and men equally. And, as politicians are elected by a majority, we should also respect the choices of our fellow citizens…Look at other countries to realise where hostility and contempt for one’s opponents and enemies lead. A healthy civil society requires solid foundations of respect.