BOB Katter has clocked up nearly 40 years as a parliamentarian, but he can't remember the standard of political debate being as low as it was this year.
''I can't ever remember a year as bad as this,'' he said.
Mr Katter, the sole federal representative of Katter's Australian Party, said 2012 had been a year of unprecedented vitriol, which was down not to the hung Parliament but ''a complete lack of ideology and a complete lack of intellectual content''.
''You've got a bunch of people who, quite frankly, are very articulate, but very articulate morons. I couldn't have a lower opinion of both sides of the Parliament. There is not the slightest shred of thought process in there since Rudd was removed from the frontbench.''
Liberal frontbencher Malcolm Turnbull this week blamed a lazy media and spin-focused political class for an impoverished public debate.
''It has never been easier to get away with telling lies. It has never been easier to get away with the glib one-liner,'' he said during a public address at the Woodford Folk Festival.
He called on any web entrepreneurs in the audience to start a fact-checking website to hold public figures to account.
Mr Turnbull also savaged politicians who he said showed contempt for voters by speaking in short grabs and slogans.
''It is our job, above all in politics, to tackle the big issues and to explain them, and have the honesty to say to people, 'There are no easy solutions here'.''
Acting Greens leader Adam Bandt accused Mr Turnbull of hypocrisy: ''The old parties pretend to hate the game, but they keep playing it and they actually love it. To Malcolm Turnbull I say that long-term thinking isn't just for Christmas, it's for the whole year.''
Crossbench MP Tony Windsor said he believed people wanted more detail about policy, but this did not tend to sell commercially.
''Peter Slipper and Craig Thomson beat David Gonski every time,'' he said.
Mr Windsor said the strident and personal tone of social media had influenced traditional media, and the news cycle now operated at a furious pace. ''You're expected to have a comment within half an hour of someone saying something.''
Labor backbencher Andrew Leigh said technological change had given some people greater access to information, but the media consumed by most was ''shallower, nastier and more opinionated than it was a decade ago''.
Former Liberal leader John Hewson said he was worried people no longer expected the truth from politicians.
With NATALIE BOCHENSKI