The coming federal election is already highlighting aspects of Australian politics that are cause for concern. The "mock menu" (which initially was thought to be for a Liberal Party fundraising dinner) with its vulgar and demeaning reference to our Prime Minister is not only ample confirmation of Julia Gillard’s argument about misogyny but also a further signal of the decline of civility in Australian political life. When school children see it as somehow natural to throw sandwiches at the Prime Minister, we can sense this decline vividly. The media are partly responsible for this, whipping up hysteria around all sorts of issues that should be debated clearly and calmly. One only needs to think of the media treatment of infrastructure programs like the home insulation and school building schemes to see the way a distorted picture emerges.