Benedetta Brevini and Terry Woronov write in The Conversation (25.10.17) that there are telltale signs when regard for the facts of the matter is sacrificed to ‘truthiness’ to win a political debate. Such is the case, the authors argue, in the political support for the Adani coal mine project.
‘“Post-truth”, defined as “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief”, was the Oxford Dictionary’s 2016 Word of the Year, selected as a hallmark of the times in the US and UK. (Macquarie Dictionary chose “fake news” as its 2016 Word of the Year.)
‘Yet post-truth politics and “truthiness”, a term Stephen Colbert coined in 2005, are not solely British and American phenomena. “Truthiness” is rampant in Australia too. The debate about the proposed Adani Carmichael mine in central Queensland shows how truthiness has become part of Australian political discourse.
‘How can a coal mine be subject to a regime of “truthiness”? A decision to build a greenfield megamine would appear to come down to the facts, with the known harms weighed against the potential benefits. Yet we can identify three distinct traits in official discourses around the Adani mine that show truthiness at work.
- Nothing but truthiness: Adani and Co’s post-truth push for the Carmichael mine »
- Dirty jobs come up trumps in the Queensland election »
- Adani owner rich enough to fund Carmichael mine himself, analyst says »
- Coal in decline: Adani in question and Australia out of step »
- There are better things to spend $1 billion on than the Adani coal mine »
- Don’t be so naif: Adani and governance of the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) »