Broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 5 May 2013
For many years spin doctors have played a crucial role in setting the political agenda and sweetening otherwise painful or unpopular government policies.
In addition, as politicians let go of the moral foundations that have served society well in the past, they are increasingly guided by opinion polls shaped by powerful private interests. The debate on euthanasia illustrates the point. As Julie Hare wrote in The Australian this week:
POLITICIANS can no longer ignore the issue of voluntary euthanasia of terminally ill people for fear of political backlash with research clearly showing public opinion is strongly in favour of assisted death … political advocacy for assisted death may actually be a vote winner.
What is in the best interests of the community, and what best serves the common good, does not always align with the agendas of the powerful private interests and the opinion polls. It all depends on what questions are asked, and the context of those questions.
I’m Rod Benson for the NSW Council of Churches.