Professor David Flint, national convenor of Australians for Constitutional Monarchy and former chairman of the Australian Broadcasting Authority, offered an eyebrow-raising assessment of the state of Australian democracy in yesterday’s subscriber-only Crikey email. Things started innocuously enough, with Flint making the perfectly sound argument that too much is read into opinion polls in this country (see below). He then made a strange insinuation that Galaxy had slanted its recent Bennelong poll in favour of Labor, but I was willing to let that one go. Then came this line of inquiry:
And how do the pollsters measure the impact of fraudulent voting? Redesigned late last century allegedly to make voting easier, the system is still wide open to fraud, even if closing the polls early will reduce fraudulent registrations.
Got that everybody? In John Howard’s Australia, electoral fraud is so out of hand it has a measurable impact on the parties’ shares of the aggregate national vote. This problem is on a scale sufficient to raise questions about opinion poll methodology, so we’re not just talking preselection shenanigans of the kind unearthed by the Shepherdson inquiry. On even the most conservative of interpretations, Flint must mean that well over 100,000 votes are being rorted at each election in favour of one party over the other. None of this has raised a peep from the Australian Electoral Commission, the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters or the Court of Disputed Returns not to mention the parties themselves, one of which has a right to feel greatly aggrieved. Which is the culprit, one wonders, and which the victim? Well, the whole point of Flint’s article is that there is reason to think Labor will not do as well at the election as the polls suggest. So obviously this renowned crusader for the conservative cause has his finger pointed firmly at the Coalition.