Good ol’ Yankee know-how

Sky News is broadcasting four “Voters Verdict” programs each night until Friday at 9.30pm EST. These feature American blow-in Frank Luntz and a 24-member focus group divided evenly between Labor-leaning and Coalition-leaning undecided voters. These voters will participate in “instant audience response dial sessions” that will measure their reactions to statements made by the two leaders. As you may have guessed, the instant audience response dial procedure is better known in this part of the world as “the worm”. Luntz was in the news yesterday after describing the Prime Minister as “a world leader for invective”, which suggests he is taking his time to acclimatise to Australia’s political culture. A preview program which aired last night can be viewed at The Australian site.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

435 comments on “Good ol’ Yankee know-how”

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  1. Glen, I lifted my earlier ban on Cerdic on the condition that he not do a particular thing. His very first action was to do exactly that thing (in a comment I have since deleted), in the manner of a two-year-old who has just learned how to say “no” (which would explain a lot if that’s what he is).

  2. Isn’t it a little soon to write Howard’s obituary? I’ve learnt from past elections not to count out the Rodent.
    Kevin Rudd’s poll ratings improve after it is revealed he visited a strip club 4 years ago:that says it all about Aussies, we love alcohol and porn. Howard should start fondling naked women LOL

  3. If Mr. Howard is still so far behind when the election is called, perhaps he’ll want to do more than one debate – it’ll be clearly in his interest to do something, anything to break Mr. Rudd. If Howard goes down this track, Rudd might be able to extract some more favourable concessions.

    On the other hand Howard is not good in this debate environment. It’ll be funny if in week one of the campaign you hear a Howard saying “I think the polls will turn after the debates – can’t say anything until after the debates”. Salvation is always over the next hill for the Liberals. Hopefully this won’t change.

  4. Howard Hater

    That last image is disgusting.

    Yes, it’s probably too soon to write his obit, but history should be written by common folk, not the elite.

  5. Yes HH that was a mental image I just didn’t need!

    Derek, “history should be written by common folk, not the elite.” should be but never is.

  6. I think the debates do neither side much good. They are too stage managed now days. Not like the old days where Menzies or Bolte would have a heckler at the back of the hall yelling out abuse. Those were the days. Debates were fun and unpredictable back then.

  7. [I think the debates do neither side much good. They are too stage managed now days. Not like the old days where Menzies or Bolte would have a heckler at the back of the hall yelling out abuse. Those were the days. Debates were fun and unpredictable back then.]

    There should at least be rules that there has to be a certain amount (more than one), they should be spaced throught the campaign, and they should be different formats, i.e. some where audience members ask the questions, others where journalists ask. And some where the candidates ask each other the questions.

    Currently, as with the calling of the election, the debate is based around whatever the P.M. is willing to agree to, which is a joke.

  8. Remember we’re getting the PM answering questions on Youtube this election. You can even post your questions for moderation!

    Hot tip for a question.

    Mr Howard: Your election campaign has all the momentum of a runaway freight train… why are you so popular?

  9. ( Mr Howard: Your election campaign has all the momentum of a runaway freight train… why are you so popular? )

    Go for it Glen. It’s all yours.

  10. I’ve a question.

    Mr Howard: your policies of destablising the minds of children in detention were intriguing. Any more of these sorts of policies in the pipeline?

  11. I think that if the Govt. loses the next election the new leader of the opposition will not be the next PM.

    They will probably flounder around with the ex ministers for a while (like the ALP did with Beazley, Crean).

    The next liberal PM will be from NSW or Vic. (as most Lib PMs are) I reckon a Victorian non minister.


  12. [One example of this was the Geoff Prosser affair. Prosser was the Minister for Small Business, but in fact was the owner of a major supermarket. ]

    Correction, it was an Engine Reconditioning Business called Prosser Power.

  13. William 101# i stand corrected….on Cedric.

    105# Simon…what a joke the Liberal Party should have a long hard look at themselves if they cannot get a decent candidate in for the seat of Paramatta which they’ll lose anyway but seriously that is a sad indictment of the NSW Liberal Party…

    Ruawake…if the Libs lose why does it have to be someone from VIC or NSW…it could just as easily be Mal Brough QLD (if he holds his seat) or Julie Bishop WA…

    Unless the Liberal Party implodes after an election loss Rudd’s majority wont be that large and if the Libs can gain some traction again after taking a beating they could just as easily get back some or part of the vote they lost in 2007 it is not inconceivable that Rudd could be a 1 or 2 term government…of course this is just speculation.

  14. Prosser’s conflict of interest did in fact relate to what my own notes say was “his involvement in the management of shopping centres” – it would evidently be going too far to say that he “owned” a shopping centre. I don’t think Prosser Power had anything to do with it.

  15. totally off topics, but did anyone know that the highest ranking member of the Australian Army is the Duke of Edinburgh. He was made a Feild Marshal of Australia in 1953, only the third person to be made an Australian Feild Marshal.

  16. ( He was made a Feild Marshal of Australia )

    Must have been due to his long history of leading Australian troops in battles throughout the pubs and clubs of the Empire.

  17. Labor will win this election!!!

    And Im so excited about it,

    So who from the Poll Bludger is going to be holding the Election Night Labor Victory Dinner/Barbeque in Sydney?

    I will be getting Smashed, I can’t wait

    Who ever is organising it just give us plenty of time, Ill bring the snags, and for desert Ill bring Jelly moulds of John Howard and other Coaltions memebers

    And so says Steveo!!!

  18. Steveo, im intrigued about the coalition jelly moulds! I want an Andrews and a Ruddock, but will former members be presented? I;m thinking here of Reith and Kemp, remember them?

  19. William

    I stand corrected. It was from memory, which failed, but maybe the point stands.

    Glen: Define “intelligent debate.”

  20. LOL, ok nath ill make sure you get Andrews and Ruddock jelly moulds,
    But I bags Dower and Abbott,
    Nar I cant remember those two mate, Im only a young bloke they are probably before my time, its sad to say but all my life I have really only ever know the Prime Minister to be John Howard

  21. Glen has there ever been a Liberal PM from a state other than NSW or VIC?


    Nope can’t find one.

    My reasoning is that any current minister, if Labor wins, will be tainted by being associated with John Howard, maybe unfairly but politics is not fair.

  22. McEwen was active in farmer organisations and in the Country Party. In 1934 he was elected to the House of Representatives for the electorate of Echuca, switching to Indi in 1937 and Murray in 1949.

  23. [105# Simon…what a joke the Liberal Party should have a long hard look at themselves if they cannot get a decent candidate in for the seat of Paramatta which they’ll lose anyway but seriously that is a sad indictment of the NSW Liberal Party…]

    Yeah, exactly, the party is being run over by lawyers, religious wing nuts, and members of the ETU!

  24. Sorry everyone if I made you throw up: yes, I went a little too far. The thought of Howard fully clothed is loathsome enough.
    Steveo: I’ll bring the Ruddock mould, and we can’t forget Amanda Vanstone either. Mate, I’m up for getting smashed on election night too.

  25. I am relatively new to this site so please forgive if I stray off topic. I am wondering, given the present polls, about the worth of our representation at the upcoming APEC summit. It appears more than likely we will have a new government not long after the dust has settled on Sydney’s water cannon. A new government, that by any definition comes with a completely different view of strategic defence, foreign policy and future participation in the region.
    With a cost to the Australian public of well over $300 million it seems not only a waste of money, but also a loss of opportunity. This may well be the last occasion for Prime Minister Howard to strut the international stage in any meaningful sense, but just how meaningful will it be if the polls prove correct? Would it not be magnanimous and indeed wiser to include Labor in such a talkfest of regional leaders… so that the Nation doesn’t lose out? Does anybody know if the Opposition is invited?

  26. Re: Harold Holt. Just to bore you all with a sad little story.

    I remember when Holt drowned because my parents took me to a Xmas party and Santa Claus was supposed to show up on a helicopter but instead came on the back of a Fire Truck because the helicpoter had been called away to search for Holt. Can you imagine a bunch of little kids being told by Santa Claus that the PM was missing. We were real confused until we got our presents.

  27. Great points at 131 Gecko, but why would the PM care? This is about him it is not about Australia or the region. Sadly I don’t like in Sydney so I can quietly enjoy my City shut-down.

  28. Generic Oracle Re:

    “Downer freely admits he was a disaster as leader, but I must admit, he really has grown into a statesman-like figure in our foreign affairs internationally. He was awkward and naive when first appointed to Foreign Affairs but now, to be frank, no one, not even Rudd, has the knowledge, relationships and wisdom to fill those shoes now…. he is very well regarded internationally…”

    Is there some medication known to humankind that can make people so delusional? Or has the “Generic Oracle” recently emerged from editing Wiki as part of his/her job at DIMA?

    Dolly Downer is a buffoon, an incompetent, a moron, an FA walking disaster, couldn’t find his arse with two hands and a flashlight: (paraphrasing) “No ties between the East Timorese pro-government militias and TNI”…”The Indonesians have my blessing to bomb the Kimberleys if they believe there are anti Indonesian terrorists there…” ” Curtin and the ALP were appeasers but Pig Iron Bob was not”

    AWB scandal, hissy fits galore and regarded internationally as an idiot. That some tout Dolly as a future leader is one indicator that the LNP is heading for oblivion.

    The Ming must be turning in his grave.

  29. APEC, well the leaders meeting anyway is a bit of fluff, the real work is done by public servants in meetings that happen regularly in different places.

    These people will be running the show after the election, as they always do, ministers may guide the direction but not in any meaningful way.

  30. Joe Lyons was from Tasmania and Artie Fadden was from Queensland. Lyons was United Australia Party and Fadden was Country Party, so I suppose they don’t qualify as Liberals. However, both were elected by the non-Labor parties to the position of Prime Minister.

  31. Gecko, apparently Kevin Rudd is meeting George Bush. Maybe he will meet with other leaders too. It would be commonsense as well as a courtesy to invite him to talks.

  32. Thanks Anthony.

    But I stick to my original definition that there has never been a Liberal PM from any state other than NSW or Vic.

    Given that the Qld Libs are trading while insolvent, SA is a basket case and WA the same. It has to continue.

  33. Re the Liberal candidate for Parramatta…what’s wrong with a union member standing as a Lib? He’s not a union leader, and even so, Brendan Nelson was once a union leader.

    It’s not much different to a businessman or farmer standing as a Labor candidate. It’s a good thing. We want diversity in politics, not a bunch of union leaders standing against a bunch of lawyers.

    Re Prosser…The issue of conflict of interest between ministers’ portfolios and professions is a vexed one. Overall, it makes sense for an ex-businessman to be the minister for Small Business, a farmer to be agriculture minister, and it’s pretty difficult for anyone but a lawyer to be the Attorney-General. Experience helps. If ministers use their professional contacts for corrupt purposes in government, that’s obviously wrong.

    And if a government has to make decisions in which a minister has a personal interest, the minister is expected not to take part in the decision. But even the concept of personal interest is hard to clarify.

    The Treasurer may have a home loan, the Communications minister has a phone bill, the IR minister may own a company. The key is full declaration of assets, so no conceivableconflicts of interests are covered up.

  34. The Amanda Vanstone and Joe Hockey jelly moulds will keep us fed for weeks LOL
    Be careful of the Peter Reith mould: it stinks.
    The Costello mould: very wobbly

  35. Howard: a small, long lasting jelly mould that will quickly turn bitter.

    Costello: a deceptively large mould with an inner void near the ‘heart region’.

    Ruddock: Another long lasting jelly product that will stay good for decades if kept bloodlessly chilled.

  36. Points taken, Tony, but it seems to me the libs can’t draw a line between private interest and public duty. They simply cannot comprehend the concept of conflict of interest. It is not in their genes.

    Steveo, make that a firkin of Costellos, four Vanstones and two Nelsons.

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