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. 200 FC,
    Used to be a regular Crikey subsciber and in the main found they were fairly even -handed,but I cancelled when they increasingly showed their anti-Greens colours. Often humorous,entertaining and informative with insider goss but an element of ‘snide’ crept in.

  2. That being the case they have left a wide niche for a center-left on-line news/opinion outlet which I gather would, I am guessing, suit the on-line demographic more. Now somebody with some cash, the time and connections…

  3. Stephen Mayne left Kennett’s staff out of disgust with a number of things Kennett was doing and started Jeffed. com, precursor to Crikey as a way of letting people know what was going on inside State gov’t at that time. Has since morphed into a shareholder activist who asks some interesting and challenging questions about the behaviour of the big corporations and how they’re managed. Has been sued to the point he had to sell his house. Has a regular guest spot on 774 Drive program with the nice nong Lindy Burns when he’s not standing for State Parliament with the latest dog’s breakfast of an alternative party, that falls apart even as it’s trying to form. He strikes me as an eccentric. Won’t have anything to do with shares in companies he regards with a puritanical eye, e.g., gambling, too sinful. Obviously, tried to be a Liberal, but couldn’t stomach it.

  4. I used to be a Crikey subscriber too, but cancelled after reading one too many of Christian Kerr’s pro-Howard articles. It was just the same trash we were getting from the MSM. Crikey is really nothing more than a glorified blog, which you have to pay to read. I find that there is more in-depth analysis on the many free blogs anyway…

  5. “That being the case they have left a wide niche for a center-left on-line news/opinion outlet…”

    The Age is the only outlet that comes close, but I would say that it is more centre than centre-left. Yep, there is a big vacuum for a savvy investor to fill. There are lots of Left-leaning people in this country who aren’t being served…

  6. Well, I think the gov’t are settling in nicely, all things considered. QT now no longer the preserve of the bully, e.g.,Tip. Nice to see the school yard bullies get one or two straight back at them. Go, Garrett. Turnbull looks and sounds like an absolute idiot – economics 101 F.
    Julia G. is very, very impressive, in the house, in her portfolios, and in the media. My, this woman is impressive.

  7. I subscribe to Crikey but am reconsidering. They are certainly carrying a lot of extra weight in their right trousers pockets but they are interesting. Their new Canberra correspondent, Bernard Keane, is so much like the OO that it’s not funny.

  8. [ subscribe to Crikey but am reconsidering. They are certainly carrying a lot of extra weight in their right trousers pockets but they are interesting. Their new Canberra correspondent, Bernard Keane, is so much like the OO that it’s not funny.]

    Plus they give Oxgen to that odious Professor David Flint as well.

  9. Re Crikey: I have a lot of respect for Stephen Mayne, but I think that his stories, and the occasional one from Richard Farmer, are all that are worth reading these days.

    These days, Crikey seldom breaks stories, and often just reports gossip which is wrong or unproveable. I have personal experience of their inaccurate reporting, and have not renewed my subscritpion, though I feel a bit guilty about it, since I support the concept of what they’re doing.

    I find it odd that people are crying out for a “left-of-centre” media outlet. What can’t we just have a few that are objective!

    If we demand left-wing media to balance the right-wing media, it only perpetuates the use of opinion and bias as “news”.

    I find nothing more boring than a columnist/talkback presenter/whatever who takes a predictable line on every issue.

  10. I have subscribed to crikey for a few years but with renewal due have decided today to can it. Their articles on Rudd are bordering on the hysterical lately.
    Watched House of Reps today – Swan is doing much better and Garrett is amazing me – has really come out of his shell.

  11. [Costello seems to have lost interest in everything.]

    I wonder if his good friend Jeff Kennett has referred him to Beyond Blue ?

  12. Frank @ 209

    He’s certainly odious. Here’s a snippet of a 7.30 Report interview he gave on 27/04/2004. At the time, as you no doubt recall, he was chairman of the I Love Alan Jones’s and John Laws’s Broadcasting Authority which was conducting serious investigations into apparent breaches of the broadcasting regulations by Alan Jones and John Laws. (“That letter” refers to a fawning message Flint sent Jones after they’d appeared together at a conference on international trade law and policy.)

    KERRY O’BRIEN: Two weeks before you wrote that letter to Alan Jones, the ABC’s Media Watch broadcast its first expose on the cash-for-comment scandal.

    Alan Jones was sucked into the vortex of that scandal and ended up having to front the ABA inquiry.

    Yet you don’t think that your glowing letter to Mr Jones was in any way compromising?

    PROFESSOR DAVID FLINT: That was well before the inquiry.

    KERRY O’BRIEN: It was not before the cash-for-comment issue was in the public arena.

    PROFESSOR DAVID FLINT: Well, I was not aware of that at the time.

    KERRY O’BRIEN: You weren’t aware of the Media Watch allegations, quite serious allegations that became the subject of a serious public inquiry – you weren’t aware of them?

    … blah …

    PROFESSOR DAVID FLINT: I wasn’t aware at that time when I was writing that that there was any possibility of an investigation by the ABA.

    … blah … my words have been taken out of context … blah …

    KERRY O’BRIEN: David Flint, thank you very much for talking with us.

    PROFESSOR DAVID FLINT: Thank you, Kerry.

  13. [If we demand left-wing media to balance the right-wing media, it only perpetuates the use of opinion and bias as “news”.]

    It would be ideal if the major outlets of news and opinion were all balanced or contained equal and opposing opinions. But that is not the reality and wont be while media ownership remains the way it is.

    One solution is more of the other side having a voice and I believe truthful news in context and opinion delivered center and center-left would be more palatable and enjoyable for the general public. I think people are tired of neocon type of politics and journalism and may welcome something that has a touch of the honest, positive, social and inclusive.

  14. Su H Says:
    March 13th, 2008 at 8:59 pm

    ” Their articles on Rudd are bordering on the hysterical lately.”

    Show me the press that isn’t, the press is making fools of themselves, the question is why?

  15. [Show me the press that isn’t, the press is making fools of themselves, the question is why?]

    Howard’s cross-media laws 🙂

    Watch them go into overdrive if Conroy even THINKS about changing them, or gives the ACMA more teth.

  16. Frank Calabrese Says:
    March 13th, 2008 at 9:29 pm

    “Watch them go into overdrive if Conroy even THINKS about changing them, or gives the ACMA more teth.”

    Well if they keep up with the current level of rubbish and Nelson stays it the sub zone they will prove that Rudd can do what he likes with the laws.

  17. The main thing you have to remember about the media is most journalists are not that bright. Take the story in the Herald-Sun about the copper blackmarket. It suggested that a woman arrested was been paid $150 a kilo for stolen copper. The wholesale price of regular copper is around $10,000 a tonne, so there is no way in the world that blackmarket copper wire is selling for $150,000 a tonne. But that is what is in the report and it basically didn’t make sense. The journalist didn’t seem to think this was odd, nor the sub-editor who passed it. Clearly Newscorp is being run by monkeys who are basically idiots and it is no wonder that Dennis has trouble with margins of error.

  18. “I intend to keep asking questions until I find out. “I intend to keep pressing for an independent judicial inquiry into these very serious matters”.”

    A Certain Maritime Incident – the aftermath
    Senator John Faulkner, Shadow Special Minister of State and Home Affairs


    Does he still intend to pursue this matter?

  19. Might explain the attack on Conroy in The OO today, which puzzled me even as I read it.
    Basically saying he was slack for not sorting out broadband yet, without mentioning the elephant in the room, which is Telstra’s change of tack since the election.
    (My Conroy bias has been previously declared).
    Might make a bit more sense in the context of media ownership laws.

  20. John Faulkner strikes me as one of Labor’s most formidable figures. A real hardass and a meticulous collector of data. There are a lot of Labor people the Liberals fear, but I’d be willing to bet JF is at or near the top of the list.

  21. Looks like the ABC is in cahoots with the OZ in attacking Labor’s Broadband Plan.

    [Nationals Senator Fiona Nash has accused the Government of breaking its election promise to connect 98 per cent of Australians to high-speed computer services.

    Senator Nash says Communications Minister Stephen Conroy promised work would begin on the plan within six months of winning Government.

    But she says the Government now says work might not start until the end of the year.

    Senator Nash says Australians have a right to feel betrayed.

    “Broadband was one of the key issues that the Labor Government ran on during the campaign,” she said.

    “There was a promise that this would not only go out to homes and people right around the country, but it would actually improve the economy.

    “Now we find out that that promise from the Labor Government during the campaign is actually a broken one.”]

    Even though the Coalition only moved at glacial pace with telecommunications reform, concentrating all their efforts in trying to sell of Telstra, they are now expecting Conroy to roll out the Broadband Network promised during the election campaign, within 6 months!

    Wow! There is a big difference between a “plan” and a “roll out”. This the poor “Country” Senator, fails to understand it seems. Understandable though in the circumstances as there is no Unca Howie to direct operations and direct his normal spin to her “Country” cousins.

  22. Boy they do have a relevance problem (ABC and LNP) if this is the best they can find.

    “Senator Nash says Communications Minister Stephen Conroy promised work would begin on the plan within six months of winning Government.

    But she says the Government now says work might not start until the end of the year.”

  23. Frank Calabrese @ 212-
    That Evil Mr Rudd is at again – this time it’s the BABIES !!!

    So the government has to honour both its election promises and those of the loosers? Does that mean they have to also hand over Costello’s $34bill in tax cuts on top of the $31bill Rudd promised? I can hardly wait for Horatio to go bright red in mock hysterics when he demands that during the next QT. LOL

    I’m sure it is a worthy cause, most are, but who has to be robbed to pay for it? At least now psychotherapy is, mostly, paid by Medicare, for which I applaud the Howard government. One of the few things they got right.

  24. Hey guys…there is a wholesome cultural shift in the sourcing of political events through the medium of blogs like this.

    When the chooks are pecking, I come here to ascertain the best data to try to determine the facts in this atmosphere of media Cony Island!

    Publications like the OO and such will be left behind and I couldn’t care a less.

  25. [At least now psychotherapy is, mostly, paid by Medicare ]

    Yeah Mayo, they probably realised that they would have an increased need of these services themselves after a thrashing at the polls and like most things, they didn’t want to have to pay for it themselves.

  26. Hey guys, sorry to divert from whatever the current topic of discussion is, but I need to know everything you know about campaign/party finance laws in Australia. Are they administered by the AEC? How do I go about acquiring reports for 2007?

  27. Charlie, AEC. Not sure how you’d get them, but check the website – it’s pretty thorough – http://www.aec.gov.au.
    However, any ‘reports for 2007’ would cover the financial year of 2006/7 – the cut off for candidate reports on donations and expenditure, for example, was earlier this week. Parties themselves don’t have to report until the end of the financial year.

  28. I will be with Crikey until my subscription expires come late December & if they dont lift their standard by then then its bye bye Crikey ! & yes it has become a glorified blog.

  29. I’d argue that Crikey is enthusiastically oppositionist. In spite of Christian Kerr’s prior employment with Amanda Vanstone and his hostility towards the Greens, he was vigorously anti-Howard; and not just in 2007, but back prior to 2004. I offer him as an example because he was the principal Canberra politics correspondent.
    The other point to be made is that Crikey’s contributors are a rather eclectic bunch – Faris and Flint but also Mark Bahnisch, Peter Brent, Possum and others occasionally feature. Several of their regulars have a instinctively libertarian view, which is reflected in their generally (but not universally) hostility to what they desride as Rudd’s wowser instincts (anti-binge drinking, concern about pokies etc).
    I do think it’s a less interesting read these days, so I’m not surprised that some subscribers are wondering about it as a value-for-money proposition. There’s certainly fewer of those moments where you say, I wouldn’t have heard about this, if I hadn’t seen Crikey. That said, Guy Rundle is pretty valuable.
    I’m old enough to remember Nation Review, a trenchant critic of the McMahon Government proving quite properly sceptical of the Whitlam Government, and scandalising Labor partisans.

  30. It will be interesting to see of venues like Crikey can survive. I doubt that gossip, opinion and novelty is going to be enough to keep the subscriber income high enough. It must be very very difficult to maintain the attachment of a fee-paying, time-short, product-savvy and fickle audience.

  31. I don’t really call how the press behaved when other governments first came to power but it is truly tiresome to continually read cynical political reporting.

    When the government comes out with a new initiative be it the university review, binge drinking, broadband and so on the media seems to want to take the dim view of life. They come from the skeptical cynical angle or qualify there opinions with this.

    Whatever happened to optimism?

    After 11 years of Howard we deserve to be served up more optimism and positive reporting and the press should have realised that by now. Rudd and Obama delivered a positive optimistic message and the feel flocked to it like oxygen. Blair originally gave something new and positive and the people flocked to it.

    I wish the press would instead get behind new government initiatives, be positive and give them a chance.

    We are getting tired of the negative, fear, hate, devisive and cynical years of Howard. For gods sake feed us some oxygen.

  32. Mayoferal at 230. Actually, the psychotherapy being mostly paid for thing is quite complicated, and not just a straight out good thing. The GPs earn a poultice for writing a mental health care plan, very often just with the patient’s basic identifying details and ‘depressed’ as the diagnosis, then refer. The number of private providers is concentrated in more affluent areas; people from culturally and linguistically different backgrounds don’t neccessarily have access. Public mental health services who train everyone in mental health as a speciality are finding it harder to retain staff, as people can earn so much more in private practice. The Better Access Program which is the last psychotherapy program funded by the Feds. blew it’s whole annual budget in the first 4 months, mostly on paying the GPs. There is no, I repeat no, quality assurance or accountability mechanisms built in. My public mental health service have had to assess people who are being inadequately diagnosed and treated in the private sector. If I was the evil Mr. Rudd, I’d be taking a good long hard look at it, along with the babies!

  33. HSO @ 244 – Thanks for the heads up. I’ve been wondering how it was going. I’m not surprised at there are big holes in the system and that some patients aren’t getting the help they need. It seems to be a common theme everywhere. Folk do a lot of complaining about psych drugs, sometimes with good reason, but at least you can get them in any place that runs to a doctor and chemist.

    The real problem is that the states took the cheap option when advances in psychopharmacology allowed them to close psych hospitals and basically just threw patients out the door to sink or swim as best they could. If it hadn’t been for charities taking on the burden of care most would have sunk. Many still did and do. 🙁

  34. Todays Morgan poll will be interesting with the carers beat up from the OO launched last Friday just in time to influence the poll. The last figures were Labor 56.5, Liberal 31.5. Will Sham-I-am’s work give the Libs a lift or will it be a repeat of the mudslinging effort last year that actually went against the Libs every time they tipped a new bucket of mud?

  35. Sham-I-am’s latest effort is a disgrace. Talk about using people for political gain. It’s all over and done with Den, move on.

  36. Dennis will have little, if any, effect on Newspoll. For him to have any effect on any poll the OO would have to be a top seller and Den would have to be a popular read. Neither applies here, in fact the opposite is the case.

  37. Sham-I-am’s postion in the OO is to daily transform himself into that brown stuff that keeps the O in constant use and the OO relevant to its purchasers. There are different forms required by the OO; The Diarrhea form, standard form, the constipation form and the explosive form. I do believe they have journalists covering each.

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