It’s our eighth birthday and you get … hmm. We’ll work on that.

Life goes on, but not as it has done for so many members of federal parliament, men and women who now find themselves, through an accident of democracy, on the wrong side of the Speaker’s chair. To listen to Tony Abbott on radio this morning, fuming that the thousands in all capitals who turned their backs yesterday on Brendan Nelson amounted to little more than an activist renta-crowd, was to be reminded of a decade-long moment when our national discussion was dominated by vigorously asserted, self-serving untruth.

Whether the Rudd government behaves any better than Howard’s in this respect remains to be seen. What is clear from the past 48 hours though, is that key members of the Nelson Opposition have yet to make the mind jump required by their new status. They need to be seekers of inconvenient truths, not peddlers of convenient distortion. That’s the traditional role of government.

Peter Fray

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