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Telling Lies

Kathy glanced away from the live coverage on the dedicated Royal Commission channel with a smile. "What I love about party machine men is the way they think that the numbers justify the means," she said, "even if what happened is ancient history. Provided, of course, that it's not their history."

On screen, Counsel Assisting was grilling a squirming former Prime Minister. "Is it true that you told your first lie at three, when you denied ripping off the head of your sister's doll?"

"I have no recollection of the incident," the former Prime Minister said. "If the doll wasn't covered by a warranty, then it was obviously a bad buy."

Counsel Assisting persisted. "Is it true that, at age twelve, you volunteered to divide a punnet of strawberries fairly among the members of the family, but when one was left over, you ate it yourself in secret?"

"That is clearly not correct. Punnets, boxes of chocolate and buckets of chips always come with exactly divisible numbers of items. I have proved that through successful management of such sharing operations over many years."

"Is it true that, at age eighteen, you falsely attributed a large scrape on you father's car to an incident in a car park while you were not present?"

The former Prime Minister scowled. "I am finding this line of questioning to be both intrusive and offensive, as well as irrelevant. What is the source of your so-called information?"

"You are a believer in an omnipotent, omnipresent God that keeps extensive records of even the most trivial thoughts and acts, so that He may make a final judgement upon you, are you not?"

"I am not sure that I would phrase it in exactly that way."

"Has it never occurred to you that such records may, on occasion, be strategically leaked? Or do you see the Supreme Being as being subject to some Divine Secrets Act?"

Sue gazed up at the screen, puzzled. "Why are they grilling this guy, now he's been dumped. But then, why on earth did he ever set up a Royal Commission into political lies in the first place?"

Kathy smiled. "That was us. When you've got a hung parliament and you're desperate to find a few extra votes, you'll agree to all sorts of wacky proposals from your target minnows. They saw this as a good way of discrediting the opposition. They appointed what they saw as a totally partisan commissioner, even though we'd recommended her. They thought she'd get stuck into the opposition over all their lies and broken promises. She has, but she decided to apply the same standards to both sides, which is why it's so much fun."

"But aren't you going to be in the firing line too? You must have made an election promise some time?"

Kathy grinned. "Lots of them. But they're all aspirational. Aspirations may not necessarily be achievable, but they're not lies. The Commissioner is well aware of that. That's why she got the job."

Copyright D.W. Walker, 2021

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