Multi-year spending promises have become a fixture of public debate. It's easy to see why: making a "$10 billion promise" (realised over 10 years) sounds more impressive than promising to spend $1bn a year over the next decade.
A related trend is to push promises — and the bulk of the proposed spending — out beyond the election and budget cycle. For instance, the Coalition has (now, at least) committed to the new school spending deal over four years; the previous government promised six.
But are these deep horizon promises serving the interests of voters? Do they understand what's being promised and when it will be delivered? And are journalists asking the right questions?
We asked media and political scholar Rod Tiffen to examine the issue — and suggest how journalists might improve the situation.
A scorecard separating fact from fiction
"With such a regulatory superstructure, it’s hardly surprising that Australia’s ranking in the World Economic Forum’s global competitiveness index has fallen from 12th to 21st; and that [the] ranking for government regulation has fallen... from 68th to 128th over the past six years."
PolitiFact Australia wants to help keep our politicians honest. We fact-check the accuracy of claims by elected officials and other influential people in the Australian political debate.
Our goal is to bring greater accountability to the federal election campaign and assist voters in making better-informed decisions. We want to restore faith in the political process — and the role journalists play in it.
We do not start with the premise that MPs are dishonest. Rather, we believe the national political and policy debate is a battle of talking points, some of which are true, some false, some in between — and some outright falsehoods.
We research and rate statements with our Truth-O-Meter. Its goal is to reflect the relative accuracy of a statement.
The meter has six ratings, in decreasing level of truthfulness:
TRUE – The statement is accurate and there’s nothing significant missing.
MOSTLY TRUE – The statement is accurate but needs clarification or additional information.
HALF TRUE – The statement is partially accurate but leaves out important details or takes things out of context.
MOSTLY FALSE – The statement contains an element of truth but ignores critical facts that would give a different impression.
FALSE – The statement is not accurate.
PANTS ON FIRE – The statement is not accurate and makes a ridiculous claim.
We want to hear your suggestions and comments. To tell us which factual claims we should check, please email us at email@example.com.
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