Crikey founder and Melbourne City councillor Stephen Mayne launched Crikey‘s Set In Stone project on the steps of the State Library of Victoria this afternoon, saying that politicians must be held to account for the promises they make in election campaigns. Mayne said voters are “sick of politicians making promises but not keeping them”.
The Set In Stone project is one of the ways Crikey will be holding Victorian politicians to account, by having 16 election promises from both major parties etched in stone.
Both Labor and the Liberals were invited to accept their promises from Mayne, but neither showed up.
In a speech that focused on the importance of the media in holding politicians to their promises, Mayne warned against “promise me-too-ism”, where parties rush to match the commitments made by their counterparts. He referenced the most marginal seat of Victoria, Yan Yean, where the two parties have made a billion dollars worth of promises each.
He called on politicians to make realistic promises, citing the Liberal promise to build an airport rail link as the “silliest, most unrealistic” promise of the 16 that were set in stone.
Saturday’s Victorian election is based around trust, according to Premier Denis Napthine, and both parties have made long lists of promises and commitments on the campaign trail.
Mayne said projects like this will show those in power that what they say in election campaigns is taken seriously. He referenced John Howard’s “core and non core promises” but did concede that as a Melbourne City councillor he had not kept all the promises he had made before he was elected.