The Australian versus everything

The Australian today offers another editorial on the subject of opinion poll commentary which, despite its querulous tone, is somewhat less absurd than its notorious dummy spit of July 12. The paper nonetheless contrives to exempt itself from its critique of the polling analysis glut, placing the blame on “the rise of the Galaxy Poll and Fairfax newspapers’ attempt to become competitive against Newspoll with its AC Neilson (sic) survey” (to say nothing of the efforts of “a number of internet blogs”). So when its reporter Tony Barrass observes a surprisingly weak Newspoll result for the Western Australian state government and finds federal implications galore, you can rest assured that this is not merely “the reporting of politics as if it were a sporting match”, such as you might get from Michelle Grattan. We should instead consider ourselves privileged spectators to the exercise of The Australian’s mystical power to unlock the hidden secrets behind the only opinion poll that matters.

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.

407 comments on “The Australian versus everything”

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  1. Don’t worry Howard Hater, Nafe@243 has what you call cognitive dissonance. He only sees what he wants to see and disregards the rest. Hardly the person to be dispensing psychiatric advice, me thinks.

  2. More Heiner Dirt Digging from Tassie Parliament.

    [VETERAN Liberal MP Michael Hodgman has used the Tasmanian parliament to continue conservative attacks on Kevin Rudd over his involvement in the “Heiner affair” in Queensland in the 1990s.

    In the Tasmanian parliament on Tuesday night, Mr Hodgman read two of the 66 counts against members of the cabinet of the Goss government and its advisers – including the federal Opposition Leader – drawn up by Sydney QC David Rofe.

    Nationals senator Barnaby Joyce tried to table Mr Rofe’s full 3600-page report in federal parliament last week, but was prevented from doing so by his own party and the ALP.

    The Heiner affair relates to an incident after the Goss government was elected in 1989 and ordered that evidence gathered by magistrate Noel Heiner in relation to the management of a youth detention centre be destroyed. The Goss government maintained that the evidence was shredded because the previous National Party administration had not set up the inquiry with legal privilege for witnesses.

    The two charges Mr Hodgman read out recommended that the entire Queensland cabinet, plus advisers including Mr Rudd, be charged with destroying evidence required in judicial proceedings infull knowledge that the evidence would be used in those ],25197,22489289-11949,00.html

  3. I know we’re supposed to respect a QC, but David Rofe QC was (maybe still is) Pauline Hanson’s lawyer – enough said about where he stands politically.

    Even the Nats in QLD have said the Heiner affair is over, and it’s time to move on. There have been countless CJC and Senate enquiries.

    In the last sitting of parliament Rudd said that if there really is anything in the report other than just throwing mud, then they should go to the police and not use parliament.

    Now the question remains, why are the Libs using the Tasmanian parliament for this? They too gutless to bring it up in the federal or QLD parliaments where it should be, even if it should be tabled.

  4. RE: 347

    Well, it would seem perfectly clear to me that the left are still adamant in promulgating the notion that anyone who disagrees with their world view is ignorant.

    What a surprise…….

  5. That is a pretty lame and desperate smear attempt by the Liberals. Because Rudd was a senior public servant at the time of the Goss govt which shreddded some documents came from an issue that occurred under the previous govt when Goss was not the govt nor Rudd yet a Public Servant. What? They accusing the Goss govt of trying to protect the previous govt they just defeated in an election? Weird. Poltical through and through and all the way through, by all the participants trying to smear Rudd now.

    They think the people going to impressed that Rudd might have been advised that it was legal to shredd documents and he passed on that advice, or some other Dept gave the advice; and who gave the legal advice and how long was that chain and so on – and it was the decision of the govt anyway. Kinda of weird that when it suits the Liberals they think the Public Service is the Govt, and public servants are ministers?

    And there have already been 6 enquiries. They want another 6 inquiries? How many is enough?

    Talk about desperate – this will look terrible for the Liberals simply because it so obscure and rediculous that no one is going to buy it except to think how stupid and desperate the Liberals must be.

    No wonder Howard and Co didnt want anything to do with it – it would lose them votes. It is only their desperate sycophant supporters that are squealing to make something of it.

    It was Ackerman I think that tried to get this rolling – talk about desperate.

    Yes we all know Rofe.

  6. The Australian can’t help itself carrrying a number of negative pieces against Rudd and Labor. “Rudd’s pledges are on the never-never”

    Just imagine if they actually did some real journalism on the Govt – probably all the Cabinet would be out and Howard living in shame.

    I wonder if these sycophant journalists ever worry about running across pissed off Labor supporters in the street? They have to be upsetting a lot of people with the electioneering they seem to be doing for Howard.

    Obviously murdoch has sent out his instructions to turn their trash journalism toward sinking Rudd anyway they can.

  7. kina, the one thing you’ve forgotten in your endless tirade against The Australian is the fact that no-one is forcing you to read it.

    Furthermore, much of the criticism is voiced against opinion writers which are under no obligation to observe non-partisan views given that opinions naturally warrant partisan views.

  8. But people do read it and that is the point – the GG writes this anti-labor stuff to undermine the Opposition. So it is relevant to all Australia that there are papers trying to influence the course of an election through partisan reporting. AND it is multiplied if it is used across all State papers by say one newsgroup.

    Papers should not be campaigning for anybody – it is a corruption of democracy when the media chooses sides. The public only have the media for their information and analysis and opinion. It is a major issue.

    The papers have an obligation to balanced and fair reporting – running continual negative opinion pieces against one side of politics is wrong.
    And a deliberate attempt to sway votes. If they were honest about it they were run equal pieces for both sides of politics at the same time.

    There ought to be a law against partisan papers – papers that basically take up electioneering for one side of politics. Journalists should not be allowed to hide behind their owners. A few months in prison for deliberately dishonest politcal reporting – that might teach them to be balanced.

    They dont call the Oz the Govt Gazett for nothing.

  9. I’m sorry kina, but an opinion piece necessitates an opinion from its author. If you disagree with the opinion, that is your right under our democracy. Opinion pieces are distinctly different from regular news items wherein typical non-partisan opinionless facts are reported. As such, it is really a nonsense to argue that there is some conspiracy to corrupt democracy.

    As for your proposed law to outlaw partisan papers, weren’t you just spruiking for democracy and balance? Make up your mind. It seems yet again that the left are intent on chastising those whose opinions differ from theirs, by deeming them ignorant and tantamount to a criminal injustice. It’s pathetic.

  10. Pardon me, William, may I post same again? Missed the change of thread, obviously.

    Copy and paste from Boothby thread:

    Must chip in. From the electorate of Boothby. Despite my still simmering outrage over Mick Keelty, William. Thanks for tempering.

    The Advertiser poll lacks credibility, goodness knows what model was used. Mike Rann pointed to a similar Advertiser poll three days prior in a State election, which was totally opposite to the actual landslide result for Labor in Vinnie Cicarello’s seat of Norwood.

    Notwithstanding, Nicole was totally at sea on radio this morning in her knowledge of Labor’s IR policy, I am sad to acknowledge. She copped a talkback hammering as a result, even from Labor oriented callers. My sister, as I have said, the notorious swinging voter, likes her, but also commented she thought Nicole an ‘airhead.’

    The radio interviewer, Matt Abraham, was gentle with Nicole, to his credit. He could have gone in very hard, as he has with the very high profile, such as Mark Latham.

    I was initially outraged at the choice of Nicole especially over another hardworking candidate. Thanks, Kevin Foley.

    Nicole’s profile despite this questionable poll, has improved. I thought that her initial ignorance of anything political, leaving aside Labor, would have been sharpened. Apparently not.

    Still, as we all know, the polls narrow once the campaign starts. SMILE.

    A separate observation.

    Chloe Fox, the now State member for Bright, was unsuccessful in an earlier attempt at Boothby. Had Chloe been the current candidate for Boothby, would have romped it in. Will do so, beyond this Federal election. I have no doubt Chloe will run.

  11. 361
    Frank Calabrese Says:
    September 27th, 2007 at 2:05 am
    NSW Pork from Vaile.

    [The Federal Government will provide $20 million for a major assessment of the best route for a motorway connection over the Blue Mountains in New South Wales.]

    Just not needed ….. I live in the general area and the Great Western Highway is enough. NO need to destroy the enviroment to build another duplicated freeway.

  12. “Federal Transport Minister Mark Vaile says the money will fund a detailed planning and engineering study for the connection to link Sydney and the central west.”

    I thought the Govt has just spent the past two weeks attacking Rudd for setting up “studies”. 🙂

  13. Nafe 345

    You are quoting a Tony Abbott opinion piece as some sort of neutral, objective assessment of Labor’s dental plan? Excuse me while I roll on the floor with wild hysterical laughter.

    And which government was it that completely gutted the public dental program when they came into office? And who hasn’t exactly solved the increasing shortage of locally trained dentists? Hint: It wasn’t Labor.

    But he appears to spell his tag incorrectly. Shouldn’t it be naif?
    Peter Fuller 352

    No, it should be NFI. No F*****g Idea.

  14. Meanwhile in the real world GetUp!’s “Put’ yer money were yer mouth is” poll is running at $116k plus

    It will be interesting to see how Trumbull spins this.

    I suspect that he is a victim of circumstances in that his dept full of party apparatchiks who have been serving time since Robt. Hill did his purges back in late 1996 and 1997.

    CCC can have all the celeb candidates it likes but at the end of the day a single issue senate ticket is probably just going to disrupt things on the left.

    I can’t understand how Dr K. can run for CCC. Like he is a scientist and the mad harpy that dreamt up CCC is into beef farming bio dynamically ie. she’s really into geomancy.

  15. Opinion pieces are written by two groups of people: 1) “Experts” in a particular field; 2) People paid to have opinions -not necessarily their own.
    I have a problem with ‘journalists’ doubling as opinion-writers. RCCandelori says we can choose not to buy The Australian. Unfortunately, where I live, that only leaves the West Australian.

  16. News article which strongly hints that inflation will be up yet again in a few weeks time, making the chance of interest rate rises all the more likely the first week of November. When they have raised rates earlier this year, in every case, a large portion of the inflation was due to food prices.

    “Eating out will also cost more if the price of raw produce increased as predicted, the peak body representing Australia’s 37,700 restaurants said.

    Grain prices have risen during the past few weeks from a three-month average of $290 per tonne, to a peak of $492 per tonne on Monday – an increase of $202, or 70 per cent.

    The cost of producing a dozen eggs increased by up to 50c – or more than 20 per cent – in the past three months, the Australian Egg Corporation said. ”,23599,22489835-2,00.html

    As I have said earlier in the week – Howard is already in way over his head and will lose the election, HOWEVER, if he gives us an election date 10 November or later, he is a bloody [insert appropriate word(s)] and will make the election debacle worse because of the interest rate rise. And if that isn’t enough to worry them, how about everyone affected by the horse flu crisis with their bats moving in on parliament looking to take out their anger on someone.

    The longer he waits, the more frustrating it is for those of us who are waiting, but WHY can he not see how he is even going to make it worse by waiting?

    Counting down the days to his concession speech :):)

  17. Personally I think everyone’s overestimating the impact another interest rates rise will have and the impact interest rates will have on the outcome of this election.

    Labor will never win an argument on interest rates, much the same as the Coalition won’t win one on industrial relations.

    All the arguments that Howard must go before the Reserve Bank meets I think are a bit desperate. In his shoes I’d be willing to risk it.

  18. 375
    Dario Says:
    September 27th, 2007 at 1:08 pm
    Labor don’t need to win an argument on Interest Rates and the economy, only neutralise one.

    100% correct Dario.I think Mr Rudds’ “economic conservative”move was the right one to make.Also stressing he won’t outspend Mr Howard was another good move as well.He can truthfully point out what Mr Costello really thinks about the PM’s efforts on spending and the economy.

  19. Speaking of wasting of Taxpayer’s money, I’ve just recieved a personally addressed letter on official letterhead from Stuart Henry, Member for Hasluck announcing a new Australian Technical College here in Midland WA, along with an “issues” survey.

    Small problem, I’m in the neighbouring electorate of Pearce – Safe Liberal.

  20. Ok, another set of loose lips on the front bench. Abbot was out in force today talking about the tragic case of the woman who miscarried in the toilets here in a Sydney hospital and linked it to the election saying “don’t vote for Rudd or you will get more of the same”. How insensitive !!! ……

  21. So let’s see, this all happens after 11 years under Abbott’s government’s watch, but he says “don’t vote for Rudd or you will get more of the same”??? Wow that’s about the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.

  22. Optimist @247

    I will not stand by and see good candidate attack for being lazy when this is not the case because Isaacs campaign is one of the better campaign in vic. Dreyfus is one on the best’s candidates that the Victorian ALP have seen years left or right and this is reason he is the candidate for Isaacs, because deadwood current mp that has seen the margin go from 6.2 in 2001 to 1.5 last time. All I try to say is that Dreyfus is not a machine man yes machine man got him the seat last year. No I am not working on the Isaacs campaign but I know many people who are

  23. Dario @ 379,

    Here is the quote. Seems that he was blaming the states for the problem, but insinuating that the Federal Labor party would do no different. Nonetheless, I still think that using the lady’s tragic experience trying to make a political point was very tactless.

    â–  Federal Health Minister Tony Abbott said: “If you don’t like what’s happening in public hospitals now, don’t vote Labor, because state Labor has created this problem and I think federal Labor would just make the problem worse”.

  24. I know this thread is practically dead, but can someone inform me why, when there is a nasty, petty, grubby, trashy gimmicky little anti-Rudd story to be written in the GG it is ALWAYS bloody Sid Marris who writes it?

    They have just moved the “Gillard for Treasurer?” story to the front page on the web site, when Rudd has specifically denied in the last couple of hours that Gillard wants to be or will be Treasurer.

    Q. And why was this ever a story at any time? Do we know who would be – in complete detail – on Howard’s front bench if he wins?

    A: Sid’s writingthe story.

  25. James,
    your line about the deadwood current MP – if the sitting MP was the cause for the narrowing of the margin, why wasn’t Anthony Byrne replaced in the seat of Holt? Holt is right next door to Isaacs, has a very similar demographic and suffered an almost identical swing to the Government in 2004. Surely Byrne should have lost preselection for the exact same reason you believe that Corcoran did in Isaacs right? Hmmmm, what is the stark difference between Ann Corcoran and Anthony Byrne…..what could it be? Oh yeah, maybe it has to do with the fact that Byrne and Dreyfus are backed by the Right faction and Corcoran was a factional independent!
    Listen carefully here because i want you to understand what i am saying about Dreyfus (please refer back to my last post to you if you need to) – I think that Mark Dreyfus would be an excellent member of the ALP caucus, however i worry about the ALP retaining the seat in future years because from all that I have heard (people outside the campaign who are less likely to spin things) indicates that he is not a strong campaigner and that there are a number of things hurting him there. Without question, Dreyfus will win Isaacs in 2007 – what I am saying is that when you look at what has been said in places like Crikey, the local rags of sth east melbourne and a number of articles published in the aftermath of the preselection process indicate that Dreyfus is a problem for the future. He HAS refused to move into the electorate and I have seen at least two local news articles that refer to him as the elusive candidate – now, before you get as passionately defensive over this as you did earlier, you need to understand that I’m talking about the big picture here – Dreyfus does not look like a solid local campaigner and unless he learns mighty fast, Isaacs will be in serious danger before too long. He would be an ideal Senate candidate for a range of reasons, primarily because he wouldn’t have to worry about local campaigning and could devote more time to where i believe his strngth would lie – policy development.
    I’d be very interested to know which of his campaign people you have been talking to because they are blowing smoke – I repeat, Dreyfus will win Isaacs, its the next two elections after that which will be worries and unless this guy does some serious work to connect with and buil;d support locally, he will lose the seat – this problem is almost unique to Dreyfus in Victoria as all the other newbie candidates (Shorten, Marles etc..) have been given very safe seats – Dreyfus is a risk – end of story.

  26. ALWAYS bloody Sid Marris who writes it?

    Well you don’t have to sit and take it.

    You have the right to go visit Sid Marris in his office and confront him for an answer.

    You can do it individually, or as a group and, can choose a spokesperson if you so desire. IN fact I think maybe this is the way to go with some of these reporters who think they can write their stuff and hide away. If they know they will be confronted on a regular basis to explain the motivation behind their work they might start to write no partisan stuff.

    IF The Australian does put a piece in their paper tomorrow about Gillard being Treasurer (now that Rudd has said Swann will be Treasurer should they win) then it will be a deliberate lie. AND if they do their only possible reason to publish a deliberate lie is to work on behalf of the Liberal party to promote Howard and create doubt about Labor. In otherwords – it will be misleading the public, coning the public, lying to the public for partisan reasons – making itself a disgraceful disgusting trash paper. SO keep and eye out for what they put in tomorrows paper.

    ALSO News ltd published a story about Theresa Rein’s company being attacked by British unions. The ABC interviewed the union yesterday morning and the story was false – they had no beef with her or her company. DOES anyone know if News Ltd published a story today setting the record straight and also explaining how the managed to publish a story that was not true. The Australian needs to explain to the public how it managed to publish a untrue story.

  27. All retractions contain :

    1. A repetiton of the offensive remarks.
    2 An assertion that it is is all a big misundertstatement
    3. A promise to repeat the offensive remarks whenever given the opportunity.

  28. “# 298
    ruawake Says:
    September 26th, 2007 at 6:22 pm

    The Nairn was also the person who was only too keen to confirm, that the former member for Charlton, had a complaint lodged against her by a comcar driver.”

    Obviously as the Minister responsible for Comcars, Nairns’ office knew about it, perhaps even the much maligned Peter Phelps knew about it!

    However, it was the factionally unalligned dumped hereditary member for Charlton, The Lady Charlton, that deserved and received punishing by the ALP factional chiefs.

    She dared to oppose and whine about her Rudd risky mortgage, her teenage family, the disabled husband, and her unemployability.

    She should have gone quietly on her parliamentary pension, a multiple of the pension for the sole parent mentally deficient pensioners.

    How dare Kelly Hoare demonstrate a union thug like Greg Combet, was involved in the ruthless sacking of such a disadvantaged woman.

    It was the ALP, and only the ALP that smeared Kelly Hoare with the story of her drunken proposition of a comcar driver.

    Combet will suffer a backlash, perhaps as much as 8% for his involvement in the shafting of Hoare. Charlton very marginal.

  29. Charlton ranks low in the national income electorate scale.

    There are many single mums, disabled pensioners, and unemployed people in Charlton. Why would any of these people vote for Combo?

    A Combo of union boss thuggery, ALP factional expediency, and lack of empathy for middle Australians.

  30. Re Cornes in Boothby

    Dud !

    She can and should be replaced A.S.A.P if Labor thinks they have a shot at this seat, might make the difference between a hung Parliament and a majority.

    It is never too late to replace someone who can’t tell you anything more than what nail polish is in fashion in Hindley Street this month.

    Re The Australian Newspaper

    The only reason I read the GG is the notion that you should keep your enemies close and your freinds at a distance in politics. They will print whatever sells newspapers and their readership is NOT the moron swinging voter who decides the election outcome anyway

    The Tory Newspaper in WA is not much worse than the Courier Snail or The Advertiser, but they have more influence because they are the only newspapers in town and people get bored riding public transport to work.

    These Tory papers are the one’s to get ‘worried’ about if at all, since Qld is still redneck territory politically speaking, SA is stuck in the 1980’s for the most part and WA WA land is riding an economic boom wave which will hold most Tory seats in place for fear of ‘scaring the horses’ of prosperity over there.

    At present I am told Labor is realistically aiming at 5-8 seat gains in QLD, 4 in SA (Cornes screwed it for Boothby),1-2 in WA WA land and 1 of the 2 in TASWEGIA and not much enthusiasm in Victoria:perhaps Corangamite or McMillan. Forget Solomon (NT), it ain’t gonna happen.

    That leaves NSW as the key State to watch with at least 6 gains required in NSW this time around to offset ‘surprise’ Labor losses in other States.

    Im also told that Nov 3 was and remains a hot ‘tip’, but some are wavering now and pointing at the other extreme (Nov 240 as the likely alternative.

    We have alot more debating and speculating and whingeing about the GG to acheive yet before JWH tells us its time to go home and hugs the kids.

  31. Interesting note on the Therese Rein story. Piers wrote a total dummy-spit about her yesterday. Called her for every name in the political book. He even put in a bit about how the lefty bloggers would try to tear him apart over it (the article was not a blog article, so I don’t see how that could happen).

    I think he likes the cut and thrust. This comment is the only one I’ve seen on the subject, and I only write it to point out that Piers seems to have had some kind of breakdown. He’s even more rabid now than just a couple of weeks ago. He must be feeling the strain.

  32. BB, Piers is just peeved that bloggers (or anyone else for that matter) pay no attention to him.And quite frankly, why would they… he’s an old hack singularly lacking in importance.

    It’s all a bit sad really when old journos with relevance deprivation syndrome start baiting bloggers just to get a bit of recognition and attention.

    He has no place in the new order of things, and he knows it.

  33. He has no place in the new order of things, and he knows it.
    LOL, very true, Piers is totally irrelevant and not worth discussion.

  34. Possum,
    I don’t know about you, but I’m taking some comfort in watching grumpy old never-was’s like Piers begin to fade away. I know that a new crop of similar types will spring up before long, but it is very encouraging to watch the growing irrelevance of the old men of Australian journalism and to watch the new crop of driven, intelligent, articulate web commentators who put those old men to shame. It can only be good for our country and our democracy. Bravo, I say!

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