Liberal MP Dave Sharma critiqued a statement made by Labor leader Anthony Albanese and Senator Penny Wong on Friday regarding the US election result. Not only did he completely misinterpret the purpose of the message, but even if he didn’t, there was nothing untoward about Labor’s statement. It was a simple call to have Australia urge the US to, you know, remain a “democracy”.
Albanese and Wong, citing Scott Morrison’s “close relationship” with Trump and Australia’s alliance with the US, basically asked that our leader, as others have, “urge President Trump to respect the democratic process.” (The full media release can be read here). It is this message that Sharma (in the tweet above) called a “most naive suggestion”, saying we should not insert ourselves and “have faith”.
Early this morning, he accepted the results and again shared Labor’s media release congratulating Joe Biden and Kamala Harris with yet another uncalled-for jab. He doubled down on his incorrect understanding, wondering whether Labor “still demand[ed] the PM intervene in the US democratic process”.
This is a disingenuous approach to Labor’s clear message, and it is a message that most people and leaders have also spread. Far from asking Scott Morrison to “prevail upon a US President”, it, like Sharma attempts to correct them, states clearly that the US process should go ahead without being undermined, something the Trump has been doing since 2016. What they urge is the credibility and stability of US politics (such as they are) be respected and maintained.
They raise legitimate concerns about the role conspiracy and misinformation can play in elections, too, something that does quite dangerously undermine the credibility of elections. Sharm, however, seems to dodge this point, instead focussing on his own misinformation about Labor’s intent. Perhaps he also ignored it because his colleagues have been called out for spreading misinformation of their own regarding the US election, a far more egregious dabble in the US election process than a neutral media release.
While wanting to await the official results before making any specific statement is understandable, I see nothing wrong with Labor’s call for respecting democracy. The alternative would be shouting about fraud, launching superfluous lawsuits, spreading conspiracies, and not conceding power after losing an election. I’m sure Sharma does not agree with any of those methods, so should have no problem conceding his own mistake.
Just an interesting little interaction I saw that I thought highlighted some rather mild but interesting hypocrisy within the Coalition.
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