It seems Australians are inclined to take a pessimistic view of How Things Are. We generally overestimate negatives and underestimate positives, according to the latest IPSOS survey (The Perils of Perception 2017). An example: survey participants estimated the percentage of teen girls (15-19 years) who give birth at 18 percent; the actual figure is just 1.2 percent. Over 70 percent of respondents thought the homicide rate has remained steady or increased since the year 2000; just 17 percent correctly identified that it has fallen.

At least we’re not alone in this: misapprehending these facts is an international phenomenon. That’s cold comfort, of course, as these misunderstandings unfortunately inform Australian public opinion and thus have political and policy ramifications. And, regrettably, they’re manipulated for base political motives, as was in evidence by gaudy corflutes in my local electorate during the recent state election declaring that crime was “out of control”.  

Is it too much to ask for our politicians to be both informed and honest?

That same question must now be put to the Australian Christian Lobby: are they prepared to quit telling us their antiquated and harmful take on values (e.g. on marriage and gender) is shared by the “silent majority”?