Frydenberg’s debate performance reveals ‘born to rule’ mentality

At the National Press Club on Tuesday, Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg made the grave and disturbing claim that the Australian Labor Party “they are trying to sneak into the government”.

This seems to imply that Frydenberg sees our electoral system as vulnerable to manipulation and that any outcome favorable to Labor could be somehow framed as ‘sneaky’.

It is an alarming accusation that someone at the highest level of government makes about our electoral process and one that can only sow mistrust and uncertainty among voters.

It is extraordinarily unwise for the Treasurer to suggest that our election process may be compromised in this way. Frydenberg is admitting that he lacks faith in our system if he considers such manipulation to be a possibility.

We could be forgiven for reading his comment as an attempt to undermine the process in case the Coalition fails to win.

The Treasurer did not elaborate on the mechanics of this “sneaky” victory or what allegedly fraudulent processes would be necessary to achieve it. Instead, he planted the unsettling notion of a result that could be framed as suspect or invalid.

If Labor wins the election, it will be because Australian citizens voted them into government.

It will not be the result of “sneaky” activities by the ALP or Australian voters.

The suggestion that it could be otherwise is misinformation and comes from the highest level of government.

Although it was certainly not Frydenberg’s intention, he did manage to confirm the liberal ideology of “born to rule,” in case you weren’t sure. Any outcome that denies them that divine right must be “sneaky.” If they lose the elections, they will have stolen it “in secret”.

This deranged thought may sound familiar: it has echoes of protest from Donald Trump and his supporters following his loss in the last US presidential election. It is born of entitlement, privilege and megalomania, and the inability to accept the rejection of the electorate.

It is totally contemptuous of voters, as well as the liberal democracy in which we operate. It’s delusional. It is the anguished howl of mediocre men who thought they were special, facing an uncertain future from which their privilege has not protected them.

Frydenberg, like his leader, Prime Minister Scott Morrison, is prepared to destroy democracy in order to retain power, and indeed, this has arguably been the Coalition’s project for the last nine years.

Frydenberg's track record shows he would be a worse prime minister than Morrison

In one sentence, Frydenberg has laid bare his Party’s dangerous inability to accept a verdict from Australian voters that may not favor the Coalition. Liberals consider that they are “democracy”, that no one else has the right to govern, that an electoral loss is theft, and that having multiple choices of candidates undermines that democracy.

This preposterous position contains within itself its own negation and exemplifies a sense of entitlement that fails to consider the notion of the common good and responsible government, but instead focuses entirely on retaining power and the personal benefits it brings.

Although at first glance it seems unbelievable that an Australian election victory could be the subject of Trump’s claims that it was “stolen”, in April the Australian Electoral Commission expressed alarm at “dangerous” disinformation about voter integrity being imported. of the USA, including unsubstantiated claims. to do with fraud and altered ballots.

While disinformation and misinformation spreaders have been identified as belonging to minor parties, and many of their claims are downright insane, the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) cared enough to create pages dedicated to correcting false or misleading claims, known as Disinformation Registry. .

It is unclear whether claims like Frydenberg’s are within the purview of the AEC. Similarly, it is unclear whether claims made by various Coalition politicians, as well as some media outlets, that voting for independent candidates will undermine democracy and lead to chaos can be addressed.

On the face of it, the Treasurer’s claim of a “sneaky” Labor victory, also posited by Tim Wilson, who is under considerable pressure in his Independent Zoe Daniel Goldstein seat, implies that the legal act of voting as you choose is in some way they have probably been manipulated by the ALP in case they win.

It also, and more seriously, implies that the system is vulnerable to such manipulation, thus damaging public confidence in the central tenet of our democracy.

Whether or not these implications fit the ACS definition of disinformation remains to be seen.

Dr. Jennifer Wilson is an AI columnist, psychotherapist, and academic. You can follow Jennifer on Twitter @NoPlaceForSheep.

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