“And that when you call someone a liar flippantly you don’t really have another gear to go to after that.”
Accusations of lying reached new heights during the combative election campaign, with media monitoring service Streem recording almost 50 separate occasions of the two major party leaders denigrating their opponent.
Former leader Bill Shorten accused Prime Minister Scott Morrison, his ministers or the media of lying 23 times during the 37-day campaign.
Mr Morrison branded Mr Shorten or his party as liars 25 times.
That was magnified by mining magnate Clive Palmer, whose fierce anti-Labor campaign repeatedly labelled Mr Shorten a liar.
Labor was also enraged over an underground campaign – which it believes was fed by the government – over false claims that it would introduce a death tax.
The word “lies” was also commonly used in advertising material from both parties.
“He is intentionally telling a lie, but the old ad man doesn’t care,” Mr Shorten said of Mr Morrison at the time.
The Liberals in turn seized on their internal research in attempts to reinforced voter distrust of the then Labor leader.
It led to comments from Mr Morrison such as: “Bill Shorten lies. He lies, he lies all the time.”
Mr Albanese launched a post-election national listening tour after seizing the Labor leadership, claiming voters were over aggressive and personal slurs in politics.
“People are looking for solutions rather than arguments, and they’re looking for what unites the community rather than what divides it,” he said.
“I think it’s very important that politicians are able to talk straight.”
One Labor frontbencher said: “It’s all very strange. What are we supposed to f—ing say when they are blatantly lying like they did on death taxes?”
Another Labor MP commended the sentiment but added: “It’s going to take a lot more than that to change the voters view of us all. But I get what he’s saying.”
Rob Harris is the National Affairs Editor for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, based at Parliament House in Canberra