The man who gave us core and non-core promises might be a slow learner but he is a good one. John Howard, with all those years of political experience behind him, now concentrates on the unbreakable promise – the bold assertion that is by definition impossible to disprove or, for that matter, prove.

Mr Howard came up with his innovative form of words during the election campaign of 2004. I can promise, he said, that interest rates under a Coalition Government will always be lower than they would be under Labor.

It worked so well for him in creating an impression that his government would always keep interest rates low that he is still using it and will go on using it while ever the media are slack enough to keep reporting this untestable nonsense.

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If proof was needed of the value of the unbreakable promise, Mr Howard was reminded of it recently when Labor Leader Kevin Rudd kept flashing copies of the Liberal Party advertisement, also from 2004, proclaiming that the Howard Government would keep interest rates at record lows. That kind of promise suffers from being testable and subsequent events have proved how broken it is.

No doubt the Liberal Party advertising agency has been briefed about not making that kind of mistake again so look out for more and more Howard unbreakables as this election campaign moves in to its final stages.

Keep an eye out for them and report any you spot to us here at Crikey.

And if there are any would-be copywriters out there, why not give the PM a hand with some suggestions he can pass on to the agency. Perhaps, as those weapons of mass destruction were never found in Iraq, the Government might rephrase things along the lines that there would have been weapons of mass destruction if Iraq had not been invaded.

Your suggestions please to boss@crikey.com.au

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief
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