A couple of things

Three, actually:

• Malcolm Mackerras has told the Heidelberg and Diamond Valley Weekly he expects the Federal Court to order a by-election when it hears the McEwen appeal on March 20 (hat tip to commenter Unicorn). Mackerras states: “The ALP does not need to prove fraud, just that enough voters were disenfranchised by no fault of their own. The court is unlikely to simply kick Fran Bailey out though. A byelection is much more likely.” Which to my mind at least raises the question: if there has to be one by-election, why not several?

• The Rudd government has earned itself some Poll Bludger brownie points with its move to cut the threshold for public disclosure of political donations to $1000. The 2005 increase in this threshold from $1500 to $10,000 was as good a demonstration as any that the Howard government had run its course. The Prime Minister has also floated the possibility of a cap on donations, although I suspect he might lose his enthusiasm for this one in the fullness of time. I have been too busy to give these matters the attention they deserve, but Michelle Grattan provided an excellent overview in Saturday’s Age.

• A Galaxy poll in Sunday’s News Limited tabloids painted a depressingly familiar picture for Brendan Nelson, who was favoured as Liberal leader by just 9 per cent of the 400 respondents, against 24 per cent for Malcolm Turnbull, 19 per cent for Peter Costello, 11 per cent for Julie Bishop and 9 per cent for Joe Hockey.

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.

266 comments on “A couple of things”

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  1. Frank Calabrese, thanks for your enlightening posts on this vexed issue. It is so sad, disgusting and revolting when powerful vested interests (MSM, Libs) use such gutter tactics involving those members of society who are already disadvantaged in some way. Just proves once again that we were right to kick them out.

  2. #116 Greeensborough Growler Says:

    The OO have been wrong every single time they have gone after Rudd. What evidence is there that this is any different?

    Don’t panic!

    My first reaction too, but at 70%-plus (I think 77% last Newspoll) can Rudd go any higher? He’s in uncharted waters already.

    The only way out of this is down, to my mind. For 2 years Shammy and his “senior political commentators” have been wrongly predicting the end to the “Rudd Honeymoon”. We saw last year how Shammy pounced on a 1% change to the ratings to pronounce “Howard’s Comeback”. I have no reason to doubt that a fall, even a tiny fall, in the upcoming Newspoll PPM ratings for Rudd will be claimed as a victory by the piranhas of the Press.

    OK, so Shammy has written of the end of the honeymoon many times, in definite tones, only to find that next poll Rudd’s gone up instead of down. We know he has poor political judgement in the current climate where the rules of politics seem to have changed. But really? Rudd better than 77%? Can’t see it GG.

    But with regards to your “Don’t panic!” exhortation… what’s the need to panic. Why should a Rudd “slide” from 77% to, say, 70% or less cause panic? I was surprised Rudd caved in on the carers. There were sound reasons for keeping [i]schtumm[/i]. It’s going to make it harder [i]not[/i] to cave in on other Budget speculation (and there will be plenty now). I can’t believe Rudd caved in just to save his Newspoll rating. But maybe he agrees with what GG seems to be implying: that any fall is a cause for panic?

  3. Aussieguru01 @ 150 – How about the Smirking Useless Drogos Party or SUDs – maybe Colgate Palmolive would come on board as a major donor, and who knows all those soap bubbles may remove the stain of the Howard years…eventually.

  4. When The Oz was the GG it was partly relevant, if at least to give an insight into how the government was thinking. Now it is the OO it is completely irrelevant. Ignore it

  5. What a great set up by the OO though. GIven that Rudd was probably going to come down from the record 2PP and PPM of Newspoll, now they can blame the carers thing and talk about the end of the honeymoon. How transparent

  6. 154
    I agree – it’s best to ignore the Shams and Charlatans at The Australian. They’ll almost never give a Labor Government an even break let alone a leg up. Labor supporters getting all heated up about their obvious bias gives them a sense of some relevance. I’ll be doing my bit to deprive them of even that morsel of pleasure.

  7. MayoFeral. May be they can re badge themselves as the “Conservative Unelectable Now Tomorrow Stars Party” or C.U. N-… Party for short. An even truer name 🙂 !!!

  8. Old joke (back in the days before they became the Nationals) – probably already said, but…

    A bystander asked another about the political allegiance of one of the candidates.
    “He’s a Country Member” replied the second.
    “I remember” smiled the first.

  9. Bryce!! That was the immortal Gough, in Parliament, and is credited with being the real reason they changed to ‘National’….apparently some old dodderer was apt to proclaim “I’m a Country member!!” until one day Gough interjected “We remember.”

  10. “I can’t believe Rudd caved in just to save his Newspoll rating. But maybe he agrees with what GG seems to be implying: that any fall is a cause for panic?” I don’t for one moment believe he did it for that reason. The carers and pensioners were craftily and persistently being frightened and used by the media and opposition. This had to stop.

  11. Hi All

    Today marks my return to this blog since the election. I’ve lost my job with my employer owing me $5000 in salary & super. I was on an AWA. So with a bit more time on hand, I’d like to catch up on the political pulse that is The Poll Bludger. Alot of bloggers refer to The Australian as OO. Does this stand for “Opposition Orifice”? I’m guessing that because all the neocon sh*t it still spruiks on behalf of the Liberal party.

  12. Let’s have a reality check.

    Despite News Ltd.’s and especially the OO jumping on the carers issue to try to bring an end to Rudd’s so-called “honeymoon”, the FACT is that despite all their rabid support for the Coalition over the past few years, Labor is in power EVERYWHERE.

    The spin artists – who like to think of themselves as journalists – are actually irrelevant. They failed to turn the tide against Coalition state governments and then failed to turn the tide against the Howard government.

    Australians are either not listening to them or are nowhere near as stupid or as gullible as they think.

    While the OO is an alternating source of entertainment and disgust for us, the circulation figures are very poor. Few people actually read it.

    And just check out their online polls – whenever they ask for an indication of the political leanings of their readership, it is ALWAYS overwhelmingly Labor or Greens. It has been this way for a long time. The OO is clearly UNABLE to convince its readership to shift to the conservative or extreme right-wing side of politics. Its shrill, transparent, and infantile bleetings just echo in an empty void. It’s disturbing but also hilarious.

    Anyway, Rudd’s PPM rating will be coming down anyway, no matter what the media have to say. It is simply a natural outcome of making decisions where you cannot please all people all the time. Some parts of the community will become annoyed with Rudd over time.

    If the OO or any other media outlet want to claim victory for that, well good luck to them… let them gasp for relevancy.

    The facts at the end of the day speak much louder than spin. The Coalition is out of power everywhere. The extreme Right is sick and suffering. And despite all its efforts, News Ltd hasn’t been able to help… things just keep getting worse and will continue to do so until it does a major clean out of its current stable of reporters and columnists and starts to realise that the world is moving on. But I doubt that will be happening any time soon.

  13. In which case the OO and others that try to help the LNP are actually keeping it from some much needed blood-letting and reformation. Ironic.

  14. Kina Says: @ 168,

    [In which case the OO and others that try to help the LNP are actually keeping it from some much needed blood-letting and reformation. Ironic.]

    Kina, for such a brief comment, this would have to be one of the wisest posts that I have seen for a very long time.

    All through the past year while watching and comparing polling results to the unbelievably rabid supporting MSM commentary attempting to destroy the Rudd ascension while highlighting even mildly positives for Howard and totally glossing over his ever-growing negatives, I was comforted by the fact that it was glaringly obvious that it was a totally flawed concept that was doing great damage, not only to our democracy, but had the potential to cause great division and damage to our society as well.

    The MSM, in particular the OZ, have much to answer for in regard to the current situation the NLP finds itself in. How can any organisation or individual improve or modify their attitude and behaviour, if it is, although totally against fair minded community expectations, condoned and praised by a compromised media. This country deserves to be better served by this public institution which can, and does, shape the opinions of the gullible and those who are unable or unprepared to seek out and analyse the truth.

  15. Scorpio @ 170

    hear hear, I have long held that opinion. Flatter the government and it will grow mentally/morally flabby.

    Albrechtson & Akermann & the Sham particularly helped ensure the defeat of Howardism.

  16. Scorpio @ 70 says – “This country deserves to be better served by this public institution which can, and does, shape the opinions of the gullible and those who are unable or unprepared to seek out and analyse the truth.”
    The people you speak of can’t be in the majority otherwise surely we would still have the Howard government (perish the thought). Although questioning the degree of the MSM’s influence, I do agree with your sentiments overall.

  17. Unfortunately for Kevin Andrews, he can’t seem to avoid the spotlight with a stunning 4 nominations for MTV Awards.

    [With a category all to himself, Kevin Andrews received four separate nominations for the bad karma award.

    Andrews was nominated for banning 2007 MTV awards invitee Snoop Dogg from entering Australia, as well as for defining “bad hair day”.]


  18. BB,

    It is the trend that is most important with poll figures at the moment.

    The very high personal support for Rudd is certainly shining through. There seems to be a lot of “buyers pride” about the glistening new Rudd Governmment. Decisiosns such as Kyoto and the Apology have resonated positively with the community (even Greens and Liberal supporters).

    The recent use of the cardboard cut out of Rudd may have actually been a subliminal show of support for the new PM by the Liberals. Trying to send out a message that Ruddy’s their leader too. Who knows what is going on in the battered psyche of the Liberal Party.

    As for “Don’t Panic”. I was using it in the ironic sense that Corporal Jones did in “Dads Army”.

    Inevitably, Rudd’s popularity will diminish once they start implementing decisons that effect people detrimentally. My guess is normality may return after the budget when you can actually blame the new Government for any bad news.

    At the moment, they can do no wrong and all the carping of the OO and the Libs don’t register.

  19. “In which case the OO and others that try to help the LNP are actually keeping it from some much needed blood-letting and reformation. Ironic.”

    Exactly! Continually propping up the Liberal Party will not help it to develop the foundations it needs. Branch memberships are way down. The party is attracting poor candidates, and too many from the religious and extreme Right.

    As someone who would be happy to see an alternative party take the place of the existing Liberal Party, I guess I should really be thanking the OO and its various counterparts.

    But the fact that we have a media that is more interested in DISTORTING perceptions of reality rather than trying to reflect reality is still a problem.

    And they only think that they can get away with it because of the belief that Australians on the whole are stupid and can’t detect spin or a beat-up when there is one. While there are always stragglers, the majority of the country have a healthy skepticism when it comes to what they read in newspapers and magazines, but the OO and others, don’t seem to have caught on.

    So, after each of the many attempts last year by the MSM to smear Rudd (Burke, Anzac ceremony, NY stripper club, etc.) only to see Rudd’s approval ratings rise, they NEVER seemed to learn that the public were not accepting their stories at face value but were instead READING BETWEEN THE LINES, taking into account bias, pro-Howard motivations, and so on.

    The MSM did a lot of damage to itself last year in terms of credibility and believability, and the OO was probably one of the worst. They seem to just dish out trash and expect people to believe it – it’s unbelievable! But will it change? Probably not, and only VERY slowly at best. Perhaps it will only be when alternative forms of media capture a large share of the market that News and others in MSM will start to question their approach.

  20. Vote1Maxine

    The Opposition Orifice it is called now I believe.


    The readership and the advertisers have the ability to rein in the OO.

    I can’t see any other way…the bloggers there have dropped off I’ve noticed.

  21. Noocat

    Thanks for your analysis. A very good read.

    Considering the OO’s transformation into a neo-liberal propaganda organ from a strictly commercial viewpoint, maybe John Hartigan (or his boss for that matter) knows something we don’t?

    Maybe all the rabble-rousing and partisan skullduggery is good for revenue (and I’m thinking here beyond mere readership numbers).

  22. 177
    Frank Calabrese
    The Smart Card was never dead – it was simply put to bed leading up to the 2007 election as it would have been a serious target for Labor attacks (privacy etc) in the lead up just as it will be for the opposition and the OO now if Labour considers such a measure.

    Expect Labour to receive as much sh1t on this if it firms up just as Labour would have dumped on it if in opposition.

    Personally I have no issues with a smart card. Nor do I have issues with providing DNA to a DNA bank to help reduce crime but good luck to those who are opposed to such measures – I would have been opposed in years gone by. It’s amazing what a change of government can do to one’s confidence public honesty and accountability.

    The worry of course is that there’s possibly another young Howard in our society right now and a return to such a government with Smart Cards and the like would worry me greatly.

  23. I’ve just found out that you can watch question time live on the Net. WHow cool is that!?

    Go Julia – she’s making mince meat of the hypnotist as I type.

  24. I found it quite fascinating yesterday during Question Time in Parliament when Labor attacked Turnbull for his recent, numerous, comments that there is “no skills crisis”.

    The MSM have totally ignored this issue for the past 8 or so years and continue to ignore it.

    Even articles such as this one in the Geelong Advertiser, a News Ltd., publication, presenting a variation of other articles from the same stable, omit to link this with the issue of a profound skills crisis in Australia.

    [VICTORIA is expected to double its intake of overseas doctors in the next six years, in a bid to ease doctor shortages.

    The number of overseas-trained doctors working in the state, including in Geelong, would swell to more than 5000 under a recruitment campaign to be launched by the State Government.]


    There is a profound skills crisis in Medicine with a lack of Specialists, GP’s, Nurses and other allied Health Professionals throughout Australia.

    This should have been foreseen and dealt with long ago. The huge increase in the skilled migrant intake as well as the expansion of the 457 visa program, over 200,000 now and rising fast is an indictment on both the Howard Government and the MSM for ignoring the ramifications of ignoring the impending disastrous shortage for so long.

    The humane aspect of taking these trained people from their own countries where profound shortages already exist is unforgivable. This can only result in the economies of these countries going further backward and the health outcome of their people becoming more dire than it currently is.

  25. [There is a profound skills crisis in Medicine with a lack of Specialists, GP’s, Nurses and other allied Health Professionals throughout Australia.]

    And guess who controls the number of places at the various Medical Schools – the Doctors Union aka the AMA – and guess who was once President – Brendan Nelson.

  26. “Maybe all the rabble-rousing and partisan skullduggery is good for revenue (and I’m thinking here beyond mere readership numbers).”

    It probably is good for revenue, at least short term, until people start looking for something more credible. Shanahan and Albrechtsen once pulled in heaps of blog comments, mostly from outraged readers, but their obstinancy is an ultimate turn-off. Blog contributions have dropped a lot. Actually I have noticed a decline in blog contributions right across the OO. Why bother trying to keep knocking sense into their thick heads when it is easier just to read something else instead?

  27. [The Australian medical profession has vigorously protected standards in the private practice system.

    Sometimes that argument of protecting standards has been used as a subterfuge for market protection.

    But the medical profession has been strangely silent about protecting standards in the public health system. ]


    [Australia is facing a crisis in health care, mainly due to shortages of health professionals.
    There is no choice but to look overseas. ]


    Strange, isn’t it, that the MSM suddenly becomes aware of a skills crisis only when it has reached a disastrous level and a new Labor Government is in office.

    To say that the Media have let down the people of this country by their unforgivable absence of any scrutiny of the previous Government for nearly 12 years is an understatement.

  28. youre right Noocat, now that their beloved party is not in government, wny bother reading their predictable drivel. I have stopped responding to their blogs because it just legitimises them, makes them seem popular and wont change anything. My policy is to totally ignore them

  29. It looks like Andrews is quite prepared to hang Keelty out to dry in the full glare of public scrutiny. It wasn’t my fault. I had nothing to do with it. I wasn’t told. Someone else was responsible.

    [He says when cancelling Dr Haneef’s visa, he relied on a brief of evidence provided to his department by the Australian Federal Police (AFP).

    “It wasn’t open to me to rely upon extraneous matters because had I done so it would have been claimed, or could have been claimed, that I had therefore used improper motives,” he said.

    “I acted on the brief of evidence and I acted on the interpretation of the law as it was understood at the time.” ]


    [He says he is not sure why the Clarke inquiry will not examine the flow of intelligence between agencies in the UK and Australia.

    “This is something which has a global dimension to it and if certain information or evidence can’t be provided then that would be I think a negative in terms of being able to properly investigate this matter,” Mr Andrews said. ]

    See. It was someone else’s fault. Those damn pommies again.

  30. Odd that in question time Turnbull thinks that ‘talking down’ the economy actually does that.

    So I guess that when the RBA and trading banks hear someone ‘talking down’ the economy they suddenly lift interest rates in response; the public when they hear someone ‘talking down’ the economy suddenly start spending like crazy to push up inflation; the oil companies when hearing someone ‘talking down’ the economy suddenly life the price of oil; the USA when hearing someone in Australia ‘talking down’ the economy decide to go into recession.

    Seems their economics in power was vodoo economics in that they believe what ever is said becomes a self-fulling prophecy. Economics by fiat.

  31. It is obvious that Abbott is the puppet master during question time.

    It is this person that I point my finger at for causing concern to the less well off for no real political gain…in my eyes anyway.

    It would have been interesting to know what Downer and Sherryman were discussing during that lunch date.

  32. I believe Messrs. Sheridan and Downer discussed the horrid comments made about each of them, and The Australian newspaper, by so many of the (apparently) well informed contributors to PollBludger threads.

  33. 190 Andrew

    I believe that Meganomics is still a good blog and I will still contribute and even Jack is not bad for a bit of light humour.

    Hedley is not bad and the biggest loss to the paper was Mat Price…at least he saw the passing of the last government before he passed on…still saddens me when I reflect.

  34. What is the political leanings of Crickey.com?

    Every time I occasionally see a piece from them they seem to be trying to attack Rudd. Is it just coincidence or is that they way the lean on most stories? I know that they used to employ an ex-Liberal staffer to write. Don’t think I want to subscribe to another right-wing rag.

  35. [What is the political leanings of Crickey.com? ]

    Stephen Mayne who started Crikey was an ex Kennet Staffer, as well as Christian Kerr.

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