- Former prime minister Kevin Rudd says the Australian public wants to see politicians focus on policy rather than the bitter, personal attacks which have characterised recent debate.
He says the deeply personal nature of the recent attacks could even threaten Australia's democracy.
"I think we've got a challenge here and abroad to make our democracies work, to invigorate them with some basic civility and ideas in a debate about policies for the future which are not going to cause our citizens to collapse in despair," Mr Rudd told Lateline.
"That's the challenge for all of us, including yours truly."
What do you think? Are you losing faith in Australian democracy? Has the recent political debate caused you to collapse in despair?
Here's what the ABC News Online audience had to say.
- taracan 8:52 AM on 18/10/2012 The Public Service must abide by a strict Code of Conduct, why can't this code also apply to our Parliament, who after all should be leading by example. If Public Servants behaved like our MP's do in meetings they would not hold down their jobs for very long. It is totally inappropriate that our taxes are being used for mud slinging matches. Mr Rudd is correct, lets get on with policies and forget the mud slinging and personalities.
- Others accused Mr Rudd of hypocrisy.
- forrest gardener 9:45 AM on 18/10/2012 Rudd? Calling for abstinence from bitter, personal attacks? Really? He might care to review the tapes of his own conduct and issue an apology before beginning such a worthwhile crusade to lift the standards of debate. Otherwise, to borrow words from the PM, we will not be lectured on personal conduct by this man. Not now. Not ever.
- rob1966 9:31 AM on 18/10/2012 A man renowned for his foul temper, abuse of female staff, and visits to strip clubs that objectify women calls for civility in politics?!? Rudd was the man who started this decline in Australian political standards, so I guess it is reasonable for him to ask for the decline to stop ...
- One person said Australian democracy was doing well.
- No, funnily enough. Australian democracy is doing pretty damn well. I've noticed this so-called loss of faith in the democratic process is and American export, where they have largely lost all respect for their political process. I find it helps to point out to them that they haven't been in anything like a democracy for several decades.
- While some said the problem is not limited to Australia.