Well, the Australian federal elections are on Saturday and the incumbent Liberal government has been staring down the barrel of a crushing defeat for a while now. I always feel compelled to point out to overseas readers that the Liberal party are the dominant conservative party in Australia (given the generally understood meaning of “liberal” in political terms). Anyway, they’ve been trying every trick in the book but they’ve been unable to dent the popularity of the opposition Labor Leader, Kevin Rudd.
It seems desperation has set in and some really dirty tricks are coming out. The seat of Lindsay is in outer western Sydney and could easily change hands from the Liberals (who currently hold it) to Labor. So in desperation, the Liberal Campaign team decided to play to the lowest common denominator and inflame anti-Muslim sentiments.
They falsified and distributed a flyer that purported to come from a non-existent radical Muslim group. The flyer proclaimed the group unswerving support for the Labor party including quite despicable (and untrue) references to Labor supporting forgiveness for the Bali bombers. Here’s a link to a news story including a copy of the flyer.
To his credit, Liberal leader John Howard has unequivocally condemned the tactic. This is in stark contrast to, say, the conduct of GW Bush when Republican operatives have used blatant lies to slander his opponents. But this is still going to hurt him. It just reeks of desperation and for a man who’s always staked his reputation on honesty… well, this doesn’t look very honest.