The nutty professor

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.

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.

53 comments on “The nutty professor”

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  1. Shrike, that’s partly because O’Brien structured the interview that way. He didn’t even get around to unfair dismissal law. Also Gillard deliberately elided the differences in the enterprise bargaining models (differences Hockey can only understand at the level of ‘power to union bosses’) and O’Brien showed no interest in going down that path because questions of process, like good faith bargaining, whilst crucial to outcomes, seem pretty abstract t.v.

  2. Labor are the culprits of course—-they have copious form—–and some of their more loose-lipped mates have let the cat out of the bag from time to time.
    Are you one of those more than gullible people who think that Karen Ehrman and a couple of other fall guys were the only ones running Labor’s QLD electoral rorts?
    Are you one who swallowed the line that Beattie, who was secretary of QLD Labor at the time…was in blissful ignorance of the rorts?
    The reason that Labor might have more difficulty with its rorts in this election, is that they were finally forced to agree to ID being required for registration to vote.
    It still leaves them plenty of opportunity, but just makes it a little harder.
    Not till we find some way to stop the dead and otherwise departed voting Labor, will we have fair elections in Australia.

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