Happy new year: week two

In the continuing absence of new polling, enjoy the following news snippets:

• Amid lingering rumours of a late February state election in Queensland, Lawrence Springborg has floated the possibility of Mal Brough entering state politics by contesting a Labor-held seat. Such would be the only option available to him given the Liberal National Party merger arrangement which guaranteed all sitting members uncontested preselections. Party sources quoted by Mark Bahnisch in Crikey “rule out any possibility that the Borg has seriously approached Brough. It would appear instead that the LNP’s polling suggests continued weakness and scepticism among urban and outer suburban Liberal voters – whose support the opposition desperately needs to be within even a mile of toppling Bligh.”

• The new Electoral Commissioner, Ed Killesteyn, began his five-year term on Monday. Killesteyn has almost swapped roles with his predecessor Ian Campbell, who is now secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs – of which Killesteyn was previously a deputy secretary.

UMR Research has published one of its occasional surveys on attitudes to republicanism, which shows both support and opposition losing ground to “don’t know” over the past six months. Other findings are that “men and younger Australians (are) more in favour of a republic”, and that support for an elected president remains overwhelming.

• Only one week to go until South Australia’s Frome by-election, which you can read about and comment on here. Despite a preference swap between independent Port Pirie mayor Geoff Brock and Nationals candidate Neville Watson, there seems little reason not to think Terry Boylan will easily retain the seat for the Liberals.

• Dig Wikipedia’s animation showing the evolution of Australia’s state and territory borders (hat tip to VexNews).

NOTE: No further discussion on the situation in the Middle East, please. There are plenty of more appropriate places for it elsewhere.

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.

204 comments on “Happy new year: week two”

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  1. Scorpio

    I speed read earlier your Joe th plumber , now I’ve read th lot and feel he is as “balansed” in his reporting as he is smart quote “I have thousands of questions but I can’t think of the right one.”

    Reading that Sokal guys effort , geez that was a class hoax And i liked your definition “to be a vacuous load of crap with almost no intellectual merit but a lot of meaningless intellectual BS, ie fashionable nonsense.” So now I know there is just plain ordinary nonsense and “fashionable nonsense” (like sort of upper class nonsense reely

  2. Seems th courier Mail had trouble filling space and so throw this in (uinwinnable for LCP) as a filler instead of having a blank para

    “Meanwhile, LNP candidate Michael Palmer has booked three billboards in a row along Sandgate Rd in the seat of Nudgee, which Labor holds by a margin of 18 per cent.”

  3. Windschuttle himself admitted that about 10-15% of the article was crap. He then appeared to realize that those figures made him look stupid. So the counter-attack changed lines. It was not a hoax, we were informed, it was fraud. A few cultural warriors on both sides rose from their summer torpor and flashed the cudgels around a bit but their hearts did not seem to be in it. With Howard gone, and Windscuttle now basically ideological detritus left marooned at the high water mark of a tide of discredited tory social destroyers, who really cares too much? Ironically, the hoax may have rescued Windschuttle himself from being history

    On top of that, whatever reputation Quadrant may once have had, it is now a rather squalid sandpit for tory wannabes and ratbag deniers of various ilks. In quality and content it is showing a certain level of convergence with a certain blog.

    I haven’t got my mind around the ethics of the hoax, but I have got my mind around a couple of things:

    1. Windschuttle built a reputation on examining the accuracy of other peoples’ footnotes and making absolutely scathing judgements on the footnotes and on the historians who used them.
    2. While I will put this as delicately and as fairly as I can, the gist of Windscuttle’s views about Tasmanian Aborigines was that they more or less deserved what they got because of their primitive morality, and that they were fortunate to be colonized by the British, because the British were the best colonizers. (I think I have that about right – happy to be corrected.) Imagine today’s Tasmanian Aborigines reading Windschuttles’ attacks?

    This sort of stuff became part of the warp and weft of the OO headlines leading up to the HowBroughian NT Intervention. Indigenous people, men in particular, were just about bricked for being the most evil people on earth. The states and territories were similary smacked around. (Remember that Textor had told Howard that he needed to create a bit of tension with the states?) Howard also needed an explanation for why he had done nothing for Indigenous people in ten years of so-called ‘practical reconciliation’. (Don’t you just love ‘practical’ and ‘balanced’ policies?)

    Howard’s chosen explanation: the states were useless and Indigenous people in remote communities were more or less evil incarnate. They had to be saved from themselves and from the territories and states. Enter the very white knights, Howard and Brough. You start seeing the reasons why Howard was a vocal supporter of Windschuttle.

    So, for me, the debating points around the hoax are interesting, but not at the heart of the issue. It doesn’t overmuch bother me what people call the article – hoax or fraud, whether it was 5% or 15% rubbish, whether Windschuttle published it uncritically because it fit his ideological bent, or even whether the central point of the article, the so-called ‘decision’ by CSIRO not to proceed with human/cross species GMOs, is a total crock.

    To me the central issue is this. Howard received his richly-deserved humiliation at the last election and Windschuttle has now also received just a very little taste of the humiliations formerly meted out to Indigenous people by the Howard Government, by the British colonizers (excellent though they were) and by a certain historian.

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