Newspoll through Shanas’ Magic Looking Glass

There we were last night, political tragics scouring our computer screens looking for signs of what the latest Newspoll might show.  Two weeks ago Newspoll showed a significant closing of the gap between Labor and the Coalition to a TPP of 52/48.  The same result occurred last October, but because two weeks later it was back to usual levels, it was labelled an outlier.  The question was whether the recent 52/48 was an outlier or pointing to a trend.

It has now become a habit of The Australian to herald the outcome of its Newspoll the night before.  Two weeks ago there was an announcement on its website well in advance of the publication of a brief account of the result, which was adverse to Labor.  Since some queried whether an advance announcement was a bad sign for Labor, the tragics looked last night for this portent.  They were astonished to see on the Pollytics website ‘Newspoll at 9 pm’, and wondered what that unprecedented timing meant – was it a sign of disaster for Labor?  It turned out to be a hoax, was quickly revealed to be so, and the tragics turned to The Oz website looking for the signs, pressing F5 regularly.  But since there was no advance announcement of the time that Newspoll would be out, they reasoned that maybe it was not too bad for Labor. 

Eventually, somewhere around 10.15 pm, the Dennis Shanahan summary appeared with the striking headline: Rudd hits a new low: Newspoll.  In five paragraphs he pointed out that “Kevin Rudd's personal voter appeal was at its lowest since he became Labor leader more than three years ago”, that Labor's primary vote had “...dropped below 40 per cent for the first time since 2006”, “...its lowest since Kim Beazley was opposition leader”, that “...the Coalition has managed to hold its primary vote at 40 per cent for a month for the first time since the 2007 election loss”, and that support for Labor's emissions trading scheme had ‘slumped’: “In September last year, support for the CPRS was at 67 per cent but last weekend dropped to 57 per cent and those against the CPRS rose from 22 per cent to 34 per cent.”  All these statements were factually accurate.  He ended with a flourish: “While satisfaction with the Prime Minister is at a new low for him as leader, voter satisfaction with Tony Abbott's Liberal leadership has reached a new high.”

Pretty grim stuff for Labor and exhilarating for the Coalition!  But the numerical data were scant.  No TPP figures, no indication of how much Rudd’s ‘personal voter appeal’ had fallen, no figures about Tony Abbott’s ‘voter appeal’, no PPM figures; in fact the only figures were those quoted above.  This left us tantalized about how bad the situation might be for Labor, and how good for the Coalition.

Then along came Lateline where Leigh Sales announced that Newspoll was ‘good news for the Government’.  After reading Dennis’ piece, surely she must have made a mistake, inadvertently substituting ‘Government’ for ‘Coalition’.  But no, after a tedious half-hour wait for the segment, she told us that the Government had gone up one percentage point, and the Coalition one point down to give a TPP of 53/47, reversing the recent downward trend.  Given the MOE, no one with statistical nous is going to give too much credence to this small change, but since the media is not constrained in this way, giving as it does undeserving emphasis to such small movements, why was it that Dennis chose not to mention the TPP, the one aspect favourable to Labor?

Moreover, while Dennis’ assertions about Rudd’s ‘voter appeal’ are correct as far as they go, why did he chose to omit the actual figures that put the changes in perspective.  Rudd’s satisfaction rating is 50%, the same as two weeks ago, and his dissatisfaction rating is up 2% to 40%.  Compared with last November Rudd has certainly dropped from a net satisfaction rating of 22% to 10%, but satisfaction still sits at 50%, the sort of approval John Howard enjoyed through much of his incumbency.  In the PPM stakes Rudd has dropped 3% to 55% since the last Newspoll, while Abbott has gone up 1% to 27%, just half of Rudd’s rating.

In the morning’s paper Dennis fleshes out the figures in his piece: Newspoll: Rudd hits now low The tables accompany the piece.

On the subject of climate change Newspoll shows 73% believe it is occurring – only 22% don’t, compared with 84%/12% in July 2008; 94% believe it is caused by human activity, down from 96% in July 2008; 57% are in favour of the CPRS and 34% against, compared with 67%/22% in September 2009 and 72%/21% in October 2008.  While there has been a significant fall in support for action and specifically the CPRS, support remains quite high. Dennis assesses the situation thus: “But the Newspoll survey has shown opposition is growing to the ETS, although Australians overwhelmingly want action on climate change.”

Dennis paints a more sinister scenario for Labor in his supplementary piece The trends begin to run against Labor in today’s Australian. 

So what do we make of Dennis’ appraisal, so gloomy for Labor?  Why did Leigh Sales say the poll was ‘good news for the Government’ and introduce that segment with “The Government appears to have halted the Tony Abbott-led resurgence for the Opposition, according to the Newspoll to be published in tomorrow's Australian newspaper. The Rudd Government has improved its position by one point on a two-party-preferred basis to be now standing at 53 points, up from 52 a fortnight ago, while the Opposition has slipped a point to 47.”?  I notice though that the transcript header today is “Coalition's poll resurgence continues”, which seems to be at variance with her words.  Why did the ABC use that heading?

We all have our biases, which influence the way we interpret events.  We even interpret the hardest of hard data differently.  But our interpretation does reveal those biases.  So we can speculate about Dennis’ biases from what he writes.  Why did he omit information from last night’s summary that might have given a more balanced perspective, for example the TPP?  It would have taken only a few extra words.  Readers might be excused for deducing that he wanted to paint as poor a picture for Labor and as optimistic an image for the Coalition as was possible from the Newspoll results.

Is it an example of Dennis looking at the Newspoll results through his own Magic Looking Glass that enables him to see almost every piece of information as a plus for the Coalition and a minus for Labor; that enables Newspoll results to mean whatever he wants them to mean?  Lewis Carroll would have been proud of him.

What do you think?

Rate This Post

Current rating: NaN / 5 | Rated 0 times

You must be kidding

16/02/2010Given polling for the last three or so years has been very positive towards Rudd and then his Government I would suggest the apparatchiks and spin doctors within the Government’s media unit would be very concerned. It seems the polity is now getting an uncovering picture of the Prime Minister and beginning to understand him rather better than what has been the case in the past. The fact (as BB always wants to confirm ... just the facts) is that Rudd has had a very very good run for many years. There are reasons for this and one happens to be the now defeated former Government. Folks wanted a change and they thought Rudd was the bees-knees. The PM then went about making himself popular. Solving the indigenous issue with the apology, signing Kyoto and solving climate change, closing the pacific solution, having a think tank, community cabinets, all many of good news .... he was popular and the community knew they had made the right decision. Add to this the state of denial of the opposition and their internals and even more popular becomes our PM. Then the GFC comes a long ... what did he call it .... the greatest moral challenge of our lifetime ... no hang on that was the ETS ... it was the greatest something of our lifetime anyway and he gave money away to the community in December/January 2008/09 and of course even more in March 2009. So who the heck wouldn’t be popular with that type of largesse. Then add the school hall program and of course the insulation program and even more money ... but who cares about debt right? It seems no one on this site does ... so the PM’s figures keep going up. But then something happens ... just like Rudd when he took over from Beasley along comes a change of Opposition Leader and more focus on the issues and folks are beginning to question ... what the?? A few mistakes, a few broken promises, some over statements from the government and folks are now paying more attention. Indeed some of the journalists are now writing about the government as opposed to the opposition. Now we begin to focus on the government ... as it should be. We have Copenhagen, over 2000 refugee arrivals this year, environment programs falling over, Conroy giving money away to TV stations and giving best mates a job and the list will now keep getting bigger and bigger. Fols will start paying more attention and this will be reflected in the polls. If you watched the PM perform before teenagers and his holier than thou attitude and a new picture is beginning to emerge. Look the fact is (Got that BB)the Rudd Government will be returned ... history says it will but it will not be as easy as they thought it might be ... and the squirming and denialist arguments will increase ... pressure will increase and it will have an effect on the polls. If you want to get an indication of what is about to happen over the next few months read the contributions of those folks about to put finger to keyboard on this blog in outrage about the polls, the media, the filthy Opposition, how bad Abbott is and the clowns lead by Barnaby Boofhead ... methinks the emotion and passion will be a true indicator of how fickle the voters are.

lyn1

16/02/2010Hi Ad I was suprised at Leigh Sales last night as well, I nearly jumped out of my chair when she said up first good news for the Government, and annoyed that we had to wait for the very last minute of the show, in the past they have always announced the polls first. Sky News didn't announce the polls at all last night even on the writing Dennis Shanahan just latches onto the smallest of small, to put Kevin Rudd and the Government down, I wish I had a magic looking glass just like Dennis. Tell you what is annoying me, everyday the Australian Newspaper online has a photo up of Tony Abbott, today he is patting a little girl, yesterday kissing some poor lady outside a hospital and then to make me madder if they have't got a new photo they leave the same one up for 4 days, Abbott with a surfboard. The wild statements by Tony Abbott just keep coming, today Work Choices and penalty rates.

Sir Ian Crisp

16/02/2010AA, the polls rise and fall for our major parties depending on issues that gain traction with the voting public. The mini-series “Father Knows Best” starring family planning expert, Doctor Tony ahh, emm, err, Abbott didn’t do a lot for his image. On the other side of politics we were forced to witness the inept former rock star redefine ineptness as he stumble about when asked about four deaths and several roof fires due to dodgy roof insulation. Reading your article, a very unpleasant picture started to form in my mind. I thought your article was going to end by informing us that a large group of ALP voters had committed mass suicide with the number involved rivaling the Jonestown mass suicide. Then along came Leigh Sales. The ALP, in extremis in the early part of your article, was resuscitated by that winsome lass from the ABC. Leigh told us that the ALP’s TPP had remained solid. I also noted that the word ‘bias’ made an appearance in your article. I thought it would be a nice gesture if you could send Mr Shanahan a copy of Mark Bahnisch’s “Rules for Bloggers”. Mr Bahnisch wrote: Be prepared to confront and disassemble dishonest, disingenuous, biased speech or writing Include all the relevant facts, not a biased selection I then realized that you can hardly lecture one of our journos about bias when you dabble in it yourself.

Bilko

16/02/2010Joseph Goebbels would have wished he had had such a compliant media during his hey days, if one keeps spouting rubbish often enough “the big lie/lies” some of the punters will start to believe it, a point I have mentioned many times on this blog. The Government has to get its act together and put an end to this one sided spray that we are seeing, a possible start would be with the ABC which is starting to resemble a Murdoch media offshoot. I have a dream "an unbiased national broadcaster", instead of the current nightmare may be I will wake up from my nightmare. Finally with these figures labor will have an even bigger majority.

Bushfire Bill

16/02/2010YmbK wrote: [i]"Add to this the state of denial of the opposition and their internals and even more popular becomes our PM. Then the GFC comes a long ... what did he call it .... the greatest moral challenge of our lifetime ... no hang on that was the ETS ... it was the greatest something of our lifetime anyway and he gave money away to the community in December/January 2008/09 and of course even more in March 2009. So who the heck wouldn’t be popular with that type of largesse."[/i] I love this revisionist claptrap. A couple of months into the GFC, Joe Hockey was calling the approaching storm "The Rudd Recession". Malcolm Turnbull was saying the Coalition's three top priorities were, "Jobs, Jobs and Jobs." The economic gurus in the media were telling us we were heading for an employment shellacking that nothing could stop. I remember Stephen Long on the ABC saying that the Rudd Stimulus Package would be like trying to fill up a hole in the sand at the seaside. When it started working, when retailers had a much better Xmas 2008 than they thought they would have, when people started spending their freebie $900, Joe was out there saying the moolah was mostly being saved, and the part that [i]was[/i] being spent was being shovelled into the pokies and frittered away on plasma TVs. Every month we were told that unemployment was going to surge to unparalleled heights. Job ads were down, business confidence was bottoming, people's who had savings in non-bank institutions were going broke, ruined. Yet, every month, things weren't nearly as bad as the predictors of gloom assured us they would be. In fact, some indicators improved: inflation dived, interest rates went to decades long record lows, people kept their jobs. The Economics Game became a joke. As economic "experts" tried like blazes to trample confidence, ordinary people put on a brave face and voted confidence up, not down. The Gloom-And-Doom merchants of misery went from jokes to laughing stocks. They had their clients to service, of course, their predictive balls were on the line. Yet on almost every prognostication they were wrong. The biggest disappointment was when we didn't have two negative growth periods in a row. The Coalition thought the Bureau of Statistics had been nobbled, purposely deprived of funds to do their job properly. Turnbull and Hockey [i]knew[/i] we were in recession. The official figures were wrong and their gut instincts were right (after all, they are [i]the[/i] economic management experts, aren't they?). They, along with the Press Gallery, taunted Wayne Swan for not being able to say "the 'R' word" during the Budget speech, and "the 'B' word" when it came to saying what the government's loss of tax receipts and borrowings accumulated totals would be. Likewise, the economic experts trotted out onto national TV night after night, were wrong, but they didn't admit it either. What did they do? Faced with righteous ridicule, they invented new definitions of the word "recession", strangely enough, perfectly suited to their own feelings on the matter. "Recession", it turned out, meant "things aren't going too well", or "unemployment went up a quarter of a per cent." This tosh about two negative quarters was just a "technical" definition. The gurus knew well enough, we were rooned. And they told us at every opportunity. The figures would soon come back into sync with their opinions, so expensively paid for by their nervous customers in the money market, who themselves were beginning to wonder whether the advice they were getting really [i]was[/i] the best available. I'd even go so far as to say that the economists, especially the banks' economists, [i]wanted[/i] a recession, a real one. They had staked their reputations on it, it had been "factored in" (as they say) to share prices and their pricey investment newsletters. So where [i]was[/i] the bloody recession, damn it! Fast forward a few months and unemployment started to drop. Business confidence began to trend upwards. Profits began to rise. Income tax remittances (by far the largest component of the protracted shortfall in government revenue) weren't as low as it had been thought they might be. This meant that debt would be less that anticipated, as revenue could be used to pay for the stimulus package, not just borrowings. Joe Hockey's "$300 billion" figure, touted so far and wide as evidence that all Labor could do was spend, spend, spend other people's money, was quietly dropped, as the real figure approached $200 billion (now, in 2010, about $130 billion). The Schools Stimulus and similar projects, like the Insulation Stimulus packages, were succeeding in providing jobs and work. Economic activity held the line, backed up by the government spending the money that Howard saved for a rainy day. Well, the rainy day had come, and the money was spent, on [i]exactly[/i] what it was intended to be spent: saving our economy. But you'd be hard-pressed to find any of Howard's ex-acolytes admitting it. Oh, the Libs wouldn't have spent anything [i]like[/i] what the profligate Rudd was spending. They thought unemployment was good for the soul. It had sung out in throaty baritone from their Workchoices songsheet, and now it rang through the halls of Parliament as clear as a bell. Naturally, they refused to say what [i]they[/i] would have done. [i]They[/i] weren't the government (also Glenn Milne's favourite excuse when he's criticising someone [i]else[/i] for boof-headed behaviour). But they had to invent a reason for not spending. They couldn't just say, "A little unemployment is good for the soul," in such blunt terms. They'd have been lynched if they spouted that. So they invented The Recession We Never Had. From "The Rudd Recession" to "The Recession We Never Had". Their mouths never skipped a beat. Joe Hockey didn't even blush. Suddenly, it was [i]John Howard[/i] who had saved the nation. And Peter Costello (remember [i]him[/i]?). Messiahs, both of them. And if they'd have been in power, then the actual effects of the GFC would have been even [i]shorter[/i] lived... a convenient piece of bullshit due to its being entirely unprovable. This inconvenient fact of course didn't stop them from saying, and didn't stop a dutiful Murdoch media and there bumchums at the ABC from [i]quoting them[/i] saying it. The real history of the Rudd government is one of facing a king hit, unexpectedly coming from left field, of being able to fart and chew gum at the same time. Some of their promises were put to one side while the greatest financial crisis to hit the world since 1929 was dealt with. But did the Coalition and its supporters like YMbK offer any praise, or even grudging acknowledgement that Rudd and Swan (and Tanner and Gillard and Garrett and all the others) had done something right? Never! The reason for the stimulus payments was no longer to fight the quietly retired "Rudd Recession". Because we didn't [i]have[/i] a recession (we were [i]never[/i] going to have one, they told us, straight-faced), the only reason to spend the money was [i]to buy votes[/i]. There you go! KRudd was a grubby populist, spending taxpayers' hard-earned readies in an old-fashioned pork-barrelling rort. Never mind that if the money [i]hadn't[/i] been spent we would have had an extra 150,000 out of work, and the 5.9% figure that unemployment did reach might well have gotten to the predicted 8%. Never mind that the aim was to get money out into the system fast so that low business confidence would receive a boost and they would employ or retain workers. Never mind that designing airports, or highways, or training more teachers (all worthy efforts, and all about to come to the fore) would take years and thus not contribute to propping up the economy when it was needed. No, none of that mattered. Better to foster the never far from the surface in-grown ungratefulness and envy in the Australian people. Get them pissed off with the government because... why? Some signs were put up too close to schools; or maybe some P&C groups wanted a basketball court rather than a school hall... and now the latest: billions spent on creating jobs in the insulation industry for the unskilled; millions of tonnes of CO2 emissions prevented, billions saved in power bills... and all they can do is to resuscitate the "envy" gene and get their supporters whingeing about how the whole program is a "tragic farce", a "bloated boondoggle" and suchlike... because four people our of thousands had died. That they died in circumstances we don't really know the full facts about doesn't matter. Whether they were all unskilled an inexperienced we also don't know. Garrett, Rudd and Gillard are GUILTY as charged. Tony Abbott, God's man in the Liberal Party, even supplied the crime: "Industrial Manslaughter". On cue, the Australian today produced a tame H.R. Nicholls Society hack to say Garrett could be and should be charged. Geez, these Labor types, they can't even run a Rudd Recession We Never Had properly. OH yes, the broken promises... they're remembered, chapter and verse. Bugger fighting the GFC. Rudd should have been able to keep his promises [i]and[/i] fight off the Rudd Recession We Never Had at the same time. Like hospitals... Rudd said he'd take them over and didn't. No matter that the Commonwealth needs a constitutional referendum to properly legislate for any takeover and that this is [i]exactly what Rudd said he'd do[/i] and may yet do if the States don't co-operate. The computers: to listen to the harpies and narks of the right you'd think not one had been installed. The pretty blonde gel from the ACT and ANU Young Libs on Q&A told the nation about that broken promise. When it was pointed out to her that 260,000 [i]had[/i] been provided, she told the Tele it was a lie. [i]She'd[/i] know, I suppose. So now we can summarize YMbk's position: there was no recession and then there was, then there wasn't. Rudd has bribed the electorate with the Stimulus (what was he supposed to do, say he'd let unemployment take off so he couldn't be accused of prok-barrelling?). And anyway, it's all been, not a partial failure but a "tragic debacle". Jobs for the boys? No complaint when Downer, Costello, Nelson and Fischer took Rudd's shilling. They were perfectly appropriate appointments. We haven't heard a peep out of YMbK on those little sinecures. But when a Labor-affiliated unionist gets a guernsey with the NBN, all hell breaks loose. Neoptism writ large. Ex-Labor types just can't possibly be any good at their jobs. That's reserved for Coalition has-beens only. Everyone knows that. If it wasn't so sickening to contemplate YMbK's hypocrisy on this, it'd be a hilarious joke. Speaking of jokes, denied an Abbott and Costello team, the Libs have served an Abbott and the Bishop duo on us, second best to be sure, but still pretty funny (don't look her in the eyes!). Abbott and his mate from the bush, Barnarby Joyce (another backwoods Queenslander with delusions of grandeur) are being pumped up as God's gift to the polity. They, apparently, tell it like it is. Abbott: the Serial Hypocrite, who abandoned his pregnant girlfriend yet lectures the nation's women on the "precious gift" that is their virginity, who rails against the very concept and morality of Industrial Manslaughter and then uses it to beat Peter Garrett about the head with, and who has just introduced a Climate Change policy while saying that Climate Change is "Crap", and now who has told us that WorkChoices is "dead" yet (when he thinks no-one is listening) tells a small-business audience he's going to change the name and reintroduce it if he's elected. One thing comes out of one side of the Straight Talker's mouth and the complete opposite emerges out of the other. Yet we are solemnly told by the likes of Shanahan that "With Tony Abott you know what he believes in and where he stands." Pressed, even Shanahan would there's a certain capacity for cognitive dissonance in Abbott's behaviour, but only if pressed. He'd say, "It's politics" without the slightest effort to actually introduce truth into the equation. Joyce: the Claytons Shadow Finance Minister. Charged with the job of preserving the fiscal rectitude of our economy he now tells us that we will default on our debts as a nation, and that will happen after America does the same thing. Wow! There's a circumspect accountantcy type for you. Sober as a judge on the Claytons, but has Barnarby been into the Bundy when no-one's looking? Thankfully, no matter what we are told the polls are telling us (by the man who's got them right [i]so[/i] often, Dennis Shanahan), the prospect of Barnarby ever getting near the nations fiscal strings is moot. Sure, they'll have fun for a while with their wild schemes and quick fix scams. They'll fool some of the people, maybe some of these even all the time, but not the solid majority who are like survivors of a bomb dropped on their house: there's a lot of noise, a crashing of timbers all around them and when they wake up they check their limbs. Everything's still there, they're unharmed, and a Labor government that's been vilified by the best the conservatives had got (admittedly that's not saying much) is there to lend a helping hand and give them a job. Eventually the Coalition will tie themselves up in such knots that even Dennis Shanahan can't undo them. There are too many contradictions, too many gaffes, too many two-faced assurances given according to audience. Their aim is to wreck things for the government - from pointless Points Of Order through to mindles obstructionism in the Senate and spoon-fed naysaying in the media. But to wreck things for the government means wrecking it for all of us, or at least those of us who need a job, or a pension, or a decent school for our kids. And that's why we shouldn't let the likes of the Coalition Comedy Store and their spruikers such as YMbK get us down. They're just a passing fad, a bit of light relief, a counterpoint to the very serious business of government that, until they learn the lesson of humility and sobriety, they still have not accepted has, for a merciful moment, passed them by.

mick smetafor

16/02/2010bb you need to stop with all these "facts",there is just too many for us of the simple mind.we prefer to know what you feel in your water.it's much easier to, well er,criticize.

Macca

16/02/2010BB,you must stop using logic,insight and intelligence in your arguments. If you keep it up trolls, such as ymbk will leave us and I will be forced to read Bolt or Ackermans sycophants for the daily dose of humour.

You must be kidding

16/02/2010BB ... such a bucket. But I thought we were talking about the polls and the process of the community in changing their voter preference. What you have raised has no relevance to why the polls are shifting a trend other than to suggest you have some issues associated with understanding politics 101 and a limited balance of debate. As a suggestion perhaps rather than place a subjective influence on your opinion perhaps you could become a little more objective and get those facts you so dearly wish to align yourself ... it would help. The bottomline ... rather than try and interpret what I mean perhaps look at the facts on face value ... that is Rudd has been very popular and now his light is diminishing ... the question to ask is why? You blame the media, the ABC, the Opposition, the sun rising in the east ... I may suggest you might think through some of the reasons why the figures are trending as they are and perhaps provide an insight ... you may not only enlighten us a little more intellectually but perhaps you may also expose us to your obviously rigorous talent for debate. The bucket diminshes you and therefore your argument.

Ad astra reply

16/02/2010YMBK The point of the article was not to explain how the polls came to be the way they are. You have offered reasons, some of which might be cogent, but they have been well countered by Bushfire Bill with his usual clarity and incisiveness. The point of the piece was to show that Dennis Shanahan once again is allowing partisan bias to influence his writing. During the latter days of the Howard era, Dennis showed such extravagant bias in reporting [i]Newspoll[/i] results that the blogosphere took him to task so severely that he felt compelled to counter with an angry article that demeaned bloggers and their literary efforts. The editor of [i]The Australian[/i] also attacked bloggers for their audacity and asserted that they would never be able to hold down a proper journalist’s job. Nonetheless thereafter there was a noticeable lift in objectivity in Dennis’ articles, so much so that during the Turnbull era many lauded him for the balance he exhibited. Then in December last year he so reverted to form that I wrote [i]Dennis Shanahan is at it again[/i] http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/post/2009/12/08/Dennis-Shanahan-is-at-it-again.aspx which you may care to read. Today’s post was simply to show how once more he was allowing partisan bias to override his objectivity, objectivity of which he is quite capable when he puts his mind to it. You might say why worry, he’s entitled to his opinion, which of course he is. But is he entitled to impose his biased opinion on the readers of Australia’s premier national newspaper? Many readers have not the time or the inclination to dissect out fact from opinion or to analyse the reasoning underlying his assertions. They accept them as coming from an expert whose opinion is to be respected and espoused. Herein lies the danger of biased reporting – the conclusions are too easily absorbed without question. Dennis, like other columnists, has a responsibility to report such objective findings as appear in [i]Newspoll[/i] faithfully, and to draw conclusions logically and unemotionally, and leave it to the readers to make up their own minds. A further example of his bias is seen in the printed version of today’s [i]Australian[/i] where the only tables he displays in his front page article are the primary vote, Rudd’s performance and Abbott’s performance. There is no sign of the TPP table that shows Labor improving its situation. While Dennis continues in the manner exhibited yesterday and today he can expect to be challenged and castigated. Lyn1 It was an irritating wait for Leigh Sales to get round to [i]Newspoll[/i] – I felt sure she had got it wrong when she said that it was good news for the Government. Which illustrates my point about how potent biased reporting is – I took Dennis’ pronouncements seriously. Foolish of me. Sir Ian You have a marvellous filing system – you are right of course. [i]“Be prepared to confront and disassemble dishonest, disingenuous, biased speech or writing. Include all the relevant facts, not a biased selection”[/i] was on my list presented to Mark Bahnisch’s for his ‘Rules for Bloggers’. It is in pursuit of that very principle that this piece has been written. If you believe I have contravened this principle in writing this piece, please spell it out chapter and verse. Bilko Our ABC is disappointing. Its pursuit of balance seems too often to result in the opposite. I was amazed after what Leigh Sales reported that the caption to the transcript of her comments portrayed quite the opposite. BB What a brilliant exposure of the disingenuous claptrap we have had dished up by the Opposition, clutches of economists who have so often covered themselves in ignominy with their faulty predictions – all amplified by the media, whose columnists have so readily gone along with the gloom and doom, the erroneous forecasts and flawed analyses. I hope YMBK absorbs your message. mick and Macca Isn’t it an unusual yet gratifying experience to read BB’s factually accurate piece, after enduring the distortions of so much of what the media dishes up as fact and informed opinion.

lyn1

16/02/2010Hi Ad and Bushfire Bill Thankyou Ad for another well thoughtout topic and Bushfire Bill for another fantastic piece, you both make my day. Ad and Bushfire Bill some interesting bloggs I collected today hope you enjoy them, also You Must be Kidding, will enjoy them all for sure. http://larvatusprodeo.net/2010/02/15/do-the-polls-support-the-political-narrative-or-how-to-build-a-commentariat-bot/ http://grogsgamut.blogspot.com/2010/02/newspoll-alp-53-lnp-47-or-bound-in.html http://www.news.com.au/business/tony-abbott-wants-to-scrap-penalty-rates/story-e6frfm1i-1225830734775 http://guttertrash.wordpress.com/ http://andrewelder.blogspot.com/ http://leondelaney.blogspot.com/2010/02/its-not-promise-its-threat.html http://bloggingtownsville.blogspot.com/search/label/Mad%20Monk

Ad astra reply

16/02/2010Lyn1 What a fantastic collection of links. Many thanks for keeping us updated.

lyn1

16/02/2010Hi Ad Thankyou Ad, for your reply you made me smile.

Bushfire Bill

16/02/2010YMbK wrote: [i]"The bottomline ... rather than try and interpret what I mean perhaps look at the facts on face value ... that is Rudd has been very popular and now his light is diminishing ... the question to ask is why? [/i]" Well, YMbK, if you write something on this blog, you have to get used to the idea that someone might try to interpret what you write (as tedious a task as that might be). I find it amusing that you claim a man with a PPM rating of 55 compared to Abbott's 27% is "diminishing". I can see that this fortnight's poll is a few percentage point less than last fortnight's for Rudd, but really, YMbK, with such a lead over his main oponent, Kevin Rudd can be generous with a few percentage points here and there, can't he? Sure, if you draw a straight line through Rudd's last few poll results to extrapolate his fate, in about twelve months he'll be on less than zero approval. But do you really think this is going to happen, with an opponent like Tony Abbott? Only on Planet Shanahan (and it's moon, YMbK) would a 27% rating be cause for celebration. Once upon a time such a figure would mean the party room knives would be out for their possessor. To a drowning man a twig seems like a lifeboat. To a starving man a crumb is like a baked dinner. To a nothing politician, like Tony Abbott and his to his supporters, 27% seems like popular acclaim. I was pretty careful not to blame the sun rising in the east for anything, but if you want to read that into my post, then thank you for the compliment. I didn't know I was a poet! To use your phrase, "bottom line": bottom line, the Abbott shooting star is just another flash in the sky. Blink and you miss it (rather like missing Tony's latest position on anything from the ETS to virginity). The man has a certain talent for barroom brawling and an ability to land a punch on occasion, but there is no way in the wide world he'll ever be Prime Minister. Rudd has his faults, true, many of them, but Tony Abbott is not the person to do Rudd in, no matter what your "trends" (from two, or is it three, whole Newspolls) somehow prove to you. Other polls are not so good for the Opposition. There are too many of them to ignore - Nielsen, Essential Research and Morgan are three of the more regular ones. Whatever you might think of these as individual polls (yes, they're biased, I know, [i]yawwwwwn[/i]) they do keep Newspoll honest, sort of. The Australian has hoodwinked a certain section of their more gullible readership into believing that Newspoll is The Oracle of politics in Australia. It is not that. It is one of several polls, usually on the low side for Labor, balanced against some of the other which show consistent higher ratings for Labor. Newspoll has lately had severe problems with "outlying" results. It is very, VERY poorly interpreted by the people, News Ltd, who "own" it, especially Dennis Shanahan. Some of his topsy-turvey readings of the Newspoll chicken entrails over the past couple of years have been quite laughable. His cherry picking of the "killer" statistic in Newspoll - whether it be Primary Vote, 2PP, PPM or nett popularity - to suit his theory [i]du jour[/i] is lamentably ridiculous. I'm sure the Newspoll people are honest and professional in their sampling methods (I have been sampled myself, twice) but really, YMbK, you're reading too much into just a few beginning-of-the-year poll results. Abbott and his party have produced nothing much except uncosted thought bubbles and brainfarts as "policies". It's clear their Industrial Relations ideas and the Climate Change responses are not genuinely held beliefs. Otherwise the Bolt Crowd would be up in arms about them (and they're not, are they?). Those Boltsheviks don't take prisoners, and (like their Master on Insiders) never let the slightest point against their beliefs go unanswered. So if the Liberals and Nats were genuine about Climate Change and ther reaction to it there'd be a lynch mob out for them, like there was for Malcolm Turnbull. that there isn't proves (to me at least) that they know Straight Talk Tony is just kidding. Tony Abbott will give one too many speeches to one too many secret, or confidential gatherings, like he gave recently to the Small Business lobby on the subkect of reintroducing Workchoices. It's because he has an uncontrollable urge to blurt out whatever he's thinking at the time. Abbott is an interesting study in the general area of "The Tortured Soul". He is by nature mean and tricky, but has the "Roman Catholic" angle eating away at him, whispering in his ear to tell the truth, which he always does, somewhere, sometime. I went to a Catholic boys' college. I've seen a million Tony Abbotts, telling lies and half-truths, misleading people who trust them, speaking out of both sides of their mouths (and their consciences) simultaneously, enduring a tortuous struggle between the need to lie,God's command to tell the truth, and the promise of forgiveness if they admit their sins. The Catholic holy sacrament of Confession is the perfect solution for them. You go into the confessional, inform Father how long it's been since your last confession, tell all to the good priest, receive ten Hail Mary's as penance and then go out to sin again, forgiven. That's not how it's supposed to be, of course. It shows a naive, schoolboy understanding of Confession. "There is no absolution without genuine contrition" was a rule drummed into us at school. It means that you must be sorry in your heart, and you must be prepared to do something about avoiding sin in the future. Without that, Confession is meaningless, as are Tony's, because he means to sin again and does nothing about it. Abbott confesses to us, the public (or parts of it) all the time. He gave a tortured recitation to the nation of his sins of the flesh with his girlfriend from university years, even admitting to abandoning her and her baby to their own devices. More recently he publicly (on the 7.30 Report) recanted his use of the word "Crap" when describing Climate Change science, saying it was not only not fit for "a family show" like The 7.30 Report, but that it was not "his considered opinion". Who did he think he was fooling? He confessed his sins on Industrial Relations the other day to a group of small businesspeople, saying he was only kidding about WorkChoices being dead. He assured them he would resurrect it, with just a name change! Abbott is a confession junkie, a common Catholic trait. But this brings out another aspect of his personality: Tony Abbott can't keep his mouth shut. He loves the sound of his own voice. He enjoys the curly questions pointing out his contradictions. You might even wonder whether he deliberately contradicts himself just so he can show how smart he is at avoiding the traps he lays for himself. all very entertaining, but how in the hell anyone could say "You always know where you stand with Tony Abbott" is beyond me. What you are really asking, YMbK, is how long Abbott can keep up the charade of being an honest politician, a potential leader of his nation, a moral man of the faith, rather than just another snake-oil salesman, carpetbagging his way from town to town, hoping to avoid the tarring and feathering that will certainly come to him. You are really asking how long Abbott can continue impersonating a man of honour and faking being someone we can trust. Sure, Shanahan and his pals at News can spruik a little louder, but this latest Newspoll shows (if you're into the subtle nuances) that Abbott is so far behind Rudd that he'd have to be Phar Lap to catch him, and that his party is so mired in failure on almost every metric, that they will remain unelectable until they face facts, admit defeat and re-invent themselves with [i]genuine[/i], substantial policies, not the talking points and empty buzz words their spin doctors have crafted for them.

Rx

17/02/2010The ABC and good old Dennis are both biased in favour of the 'Coalition'.

You must be kidding

17/02/2010My gosh BB such vitriol I think the question was about the very biased Australian, News Corp and the ABC reporting only what they want to discredit the PM ... the current polling is indicating the numbers the PM used to pull (something in the 70’s if I recall) are trending down and he is now faced with the challenge of having to explain himself a little better than he has had to do in the past. And then we get the blast ... my gosh, you covered everything from Catholics to everything else including the ‘kitchen sink’ which only indicates this issue might be a little sensitive to you. There seems to be a lot of built up ... dare I say ... hatred in your narrative. Even anger ... which I suspect is a wasted emotion when it comes to politics. Now BB ... you always state that you are only concerned with the facts and then you write such emotionally charged rhetoric not based on any facts and expecting us to believe that your words are sacrosanct and thus right ... as AA implies when he tells you how wonderful you are for your contributions. The fact is BB ... the media and thus the community are now focusing on the PM and his government and this is a good thing because that is what a democracy should be doing. But I do really have some concerns for the PM ... the photo in the Oz today indicates he is under a little pressure ... he looks stressed, and with his red eyes and flushed skin can only indicate either the lighting is very poor or he is not well ... health issues could also explain why he spoke in hushed tones and indeed why Gillard is commenting on every issue. Interesting. BB ... relax ... keep your political bigotry under control, this type of hatred can only affect your health.

Bushfire Bill

17/02/2010[i]"But I do really have some concerns for the PM ... the photo in the Oz today indicates he is under a little pressure ... he looks stressed, and with his red eyes and flushed skin can only indicate either the lighting is very poor or he is not well ..."[/i] YmBk: fooled by a photograph! Now I've heard it all. YMbK solemnly informs us that a [i]photograph[/i] in The Australian tells us everything we need to know about Rudd's state of mind. Oh, please... As to facts, rather than just write phrases like "not based on any facts", please tell us what facts I got wrong. Emotional, yes, and I make no apologies for that. But emotion in writing does not preclude the use of facts. Politics is essentially an emotional business. Allegiances, loyalties, detection of spin... all these involve emotions. As to Abbott's Catholicism: it virtually defines the man. It takes a Catholic (or an "ex" like myself) to be able to see what's going on in abbott's mind. As I wrote, I've seen types like Abbott all my life. I know what makes them tick. They're Holy Warriors, constantly torn between righteousness and temptations of the flesh and Mammon. It is important that the public understands this basic driving force in Abbott. It is at his core. I don't mind, I even welcome the media focusing on the government. But what we are seeing in the likes of Shanahan's article, and many other of the Murdoch stable boys and girls, is cloud-cuckoo optimism coupled with dishonest negativism. We are at the top of the international ladder in our response to the GFC. Unemployment is trending down. Today we are told that economic boom times are around the corner again. Business and consumer confidence is up. Yet all we hear is how much of a "total fiasco" the government's GFC countermeasures have been. I could forgive "flawed", or "faulty", or maybe "uneven in results", but "total fiasco" is beyond common sense. A few malcontents whingeing about signs, or school halls versus basketball courts; a few deaths that have occurred in the insulation program witout the slightest attempt to find out the true facts behind them and suddenly the government is a bunch of homicidal, climate obsessed fanatics out to wreck the country with debt and deficit. YMbK, this is more than criticism. This is a calculated attempt to belittle anything and just about everything the government has done in its two years in office. Apart from the fake "Australian Of The Year" award (made only as a fig leaf for the more plenary condemnations before and after) the Murdoch press and, to some extent, the ABC have gone at the government hammer and tongs for over two years, nitpicking everything they have done. I repeat, I agree with you that a little nitpicking is good for democracy, but the Australian's attitude is that the government is all nits and no achievement. If you want to argue based on facts, get some under your belt before you turn up here accusing others of being "biased".

janice

17/02/2010"As to Abbott's Catholicism: it virtually defines the man. It takes a Catholic (or an "ex" like myself) to be able to see what's going on in abbott's mind." Spot on Bushfire Bill. I am also an escapee of the Catholic religion who sees very well how Abbott's mind works. At the tender age of 10 years I was dubbed 'the little heathen' because I dared question the teachings and wondered aloud why the teachers and the upstanding, righteous role models paraded before us did not practice what they preached. The fact that I never ever got less than 95% for religious instruction and knew the ins and outs of even the most obscure saints, didn't make it any better either. By the time I left school I had become an atheist and have remained so ever since. I get the distinct impression that YMBK is not interested in logical analysis. Just like Tony Abbott, he/she has been conditioned to take it on faith that the coalition is better than the Labor Party and a Coalition Government must be better than a Labor Government. The answer to the ultimate question in Abbott's tiny mind is faith, and he lives it and breathes it. Why worry about the economy, the homeless, workers being reduced to slave labour, public hospitals and schools - just have faith that the faith of the would've-been priest will provide one way or the other. Just like the born-to-rule mob running the coalition at present plus the Murdoch Press, YMBK is hoping and praying for the downfall of PM Rudd and his Government and will do and say whatever it takes to undermine it; it matters not whether it is a pack of lies, mis-information or attempting to saddle Minister Garrett with a perception that he's guilty of 'Industrial manslaughter'. IMHO they are all like a pack of hyenas with an eye on the prey (power) and bugger the welfare of the country and it's people.

You must be kidding

17/02/2010Well if you asked BB to correct you allow me to do just that on many of your interesting ‘facts’ (and it's moon, YMbK) ... now whilst I have yet to disclose gender I am certainly not a moon. I may be a son but then again I may not but certainly not a moon although I think your contribution is trying to be the equivalent of mooning me. So I guess that is wrong. a nothing politician, like Tony Abbott ... elected in I think 1994. Senior cabinet Minister in various portfolios on any measurement good or bad far from a nothing politician so I guess that is wrong as well the Abbott shooting star is just another flash in the sky ... the polls would indicate that statement is wrong and strangely they used to say the same thing about the polls when Rudd was first elected leader. Interestingly the PM is at his lowest figure since that time. Tony Abbott is not the person to do Rudd in, ... this is your first fact ... the Labor comrades will do that in around 2 years. Abbott and his party have produced nothing much except uncosted thought bubbles and brainfarts as "policies". ... and these I suppose are similar to the NBN type policy which we were told would be $4.7Billion prior to an election and yet is now $43 Billion still without a business plan and a cost benefit analysis ... those types of brainfarts you mean. Tony Abbott will give one too many speeches to one too many secret, or confidential gatherings, like he gave recently to the Small Business lobby on the subject of reintroducing Workchoices. ... this is clearly wrong as you know about it, so these so called confidential meetings are clearly not the case if you know ... so that fact is wrong. He is by nature mean and tricky, ... you have no evidence to support this so called fact. but has the "Roman Catholic" angle eating away at him, whispering in his ear to tell the truth, which he always does, somewhere, sometime. ... nothing to support this only your experience which is what i suggested somehow internalised and you are venting through Tony ... oh by the way Kevin is Roman Catholic. The Catholic holy sacrament of Confession is the perfect solution for them. ... By them I suppose you mean Kevin and Tony and every other Catholic out there which only clearly indicates you have some repressed issue there. He gave a tortured recitation to the nation of his sins of the flesh with his girlfriend from university years, even admitting to abandoning her and her baby to their own devices. ... This is clearly not true. When he was told his girlfriend of those years was pregnant they went through the pregnancy and adoption together. Indeed when advised of a boy was identified as his he clearly accepted the responsibility until of course DNA confirmed the so called girlfriend was not necessarily just Abbott's girlfriend. Yet he struggled for many years believing that the baby adopted out was his. She never told him. Maybe that experience shapes opinion maybe not. More recently he publicly (on the 7.30 Report) recanted his use of the word "Crap" when describing Climate Change science, saying it was not only not fit for "a family show" like The 7.30 Report, but that it was not "his considered opinion". ... This is a slight exaggeration. His actual comment at this supposed secret meeting was that the argument is crap ... a little different to climate change being crap. The argument is crap as we are learning every day. He confessed his sins on Industrial Relations the other day to a group of small businesspeople, saying he was only kidding about WorkChoices being dead. He assured them he would resurrect it, with just a name change! ... Clearly this is not true ... he has stated publically that WorkChoices is dead. The fact is what he said he wants is afree and flexible workplace ... and don't we all BB, don't we all. He enjoys the curly questions pointing out his contradictions. Are you talking about Abbott or Rudd here? What you are really asking, YMbK, is how long Rudd can keep up the charade of being an honest politician, a potential leader of his nation, a moral man of the faith, rather than just another snake-oil salesman, carpetbagging his way from town to town, hoping to avoid the tarring and feathering that will certainly come to him. ... Let me suggest possibly another two to three years before the comrades start boiling the tar. His party is so mired in failure on almost every metric, that they will remain unelectable until they face facts, admit defeat and re-invent themselves with genuine, substantial policies, not the talking points and empty buzz words their spin doctors have crafted for them. Are you talking about the Liberal Party here in opposition or the Labor Party in opposition ... but then again Labor won the election didn’t they based upon now false promise, and history BB will indicate they will lose sooner or later and the FACT is BB it’s going to be sooner than later. So get it out BB, let’s rant and vent about the opposition and how unfair everything is ... and how biased the media especially that OZ newspaper and the ABC (now that's a paradox Bilko would understand) are against the Government and how the government is perfect and why everyone who doesn’t believe that FACT is just beyond your comprehension and a dirty rotten tory. it's not fair umph! The FACT remains as AA so admirably pointed out ... the community is changing its view about Rudd and the polls are beginning to show it. So get used to being frustrated I'm afraid but look after yourself, I'm worried ... perhaps a good confession would help

Bushfire Bill

17/02/2010Janice, I didn't get the Little Heathen moniker. It was the opposite, if anything. The brothers thought my Doubt made me a dead cert for the priesthood (on the "The bigger they are the harder they fall" principle, I guess). All I did was ask slightly sceptical questions whenever the brother or the priest from the missions would come along on a recruitment drive (they used to put likely lads into a composite seminary/highschool in those days. They thought my questions meant I was curious about Catholicism. In actual fact it meant I was curious about why anyone could stay fooled by Catholicism for so long! I don't have a grudge against Catholics, though. I enjoyed my school years and thrived in the sceptical atmosphere the brothers provided (the same school produced Labor politicians like the Ferguson brothers, Craig Emerson, Tony Burke, John Brown, and even the Liberals' John Brogden, as well as Tom Kennealey, to name a few). But what I can't cope with are the Holy Hoes, forever struggling with their temptations, sinning today, forgiven tomorrow and back being bad the day after that. Abbott is a prime example of the Holy Warrior, tasked with getting results using methods that are most un-Catholic (but which are fixable with a trip to the confessional). Jesuits (Abbott went to Riverview in Sydney) in the Elizabethan period were assassins, with a free hand to kill the heretic queen. Later on they provided the theological basis for the rape of South and Central America. Today they run Opus Dei. Abbott is a modern day warrior for the Church, and his methods are rather questionable. I'm guess Cardinal Pell has given him absolution in advance.

You must be kidding

17/02/2010AND ANOTHER THING Janice I have to remind you that our PM is also a Catholic which sort of stymies your argument and your lovely analogy about your excellent school marks ... well done by the way. This born to rule mentality is evidenced by what ... the labor Party's disdain for anything conservative? Is that it ... I mean what does a born to rule mentality look like. The Union movement perhaps with only 22% of the workforce as members suggesting to the Labor Party that there is more they have to do to reduce productivity? Is that it? Contrary to your belief Janice ... can I use the word belief when addressing you, it doesn't haunt you does it? But contrary to your beleif I have been arguing for logical analysis on this site for some time ... not partisan venting which many of your colleagues fall for the trap of doing. What starts out as a good topic on the polls and the bias of the media turns into an anti catholic rant ... and you forget the PM is a religious man. So this argument is just personal venting about the horrors of heathen studies of Saints. By the way I think the Siants were right in dropping the drongo who was sinning.

Ostermann

17/02/2010YMBK you do like to push the envelope don't you, what started as a post about Dennis Shanahan and his interpretation of a poll and his obvious bias towards the Right, began by you as what appeared to be against Labour in general, and spruiking the usual lines that we have all heard time and time again Broken Promises, Debt, yada yada yada, before you say it I am a centerist so I cop it from both sides. So since the conversation has diverged onto why the polls are as they are, rather the original topic, I don't think it is a swing away from Rudd, it was a swing towards Rudd given the public sentiment with Howard, for some reason he pissed too many Australians, the economy was booming, money in the bank, high prosperity so why change goverments. Then we had the usual opposition fall out, leader changes, Tony Abbott what ever you think of him has stabilised the party at least as far as we can see on the surface, which means that those right of centre swingers have drifted back, so it appears to me more of a natural cycle, people are fickle, Keating was hated but Labour still got in 1993. As for Rudd buying votes with the handout, too early in the electoral term for that one to wash, people forget too quickly, I was a recipient of the handout and it was very welcomed, I didn't go out and buy a Plasma TV with it, it helped get through a very tough year as my weekly hours dropped due to the slump and when you are a single income family it hurts, so I was very appreciative. Debt, I don't like debt at all and in fact do not have any debt family policy no cash no buy, but that only works for a single family of 5 not the entire nation though and given that the total household debt nationwide is about 1.2 trillion dollars, loss of income would have been catastrophic for many people and the nation, so the goverment had to act and create work.

lyn1

17/02/2010Hi Ad This morning on 3Aw Tony Abbott has called the TV Handout and Conroy skiing with a media mogul a bribe in an election year. Now this has happened wow!!!! http://blogs.crikey.com.au/thestump/2010/02/17/abbott-and-murdoch-breakfast-but-no-skiing/ The Stump is wondering about the media coverage for the Abbott, Murdoch breakfast. Ad did you watch Paul Howes address to the National Press Club today, about the dangers of Work Choices be reintroduced if the Coalition gets back into office also the threat of Tony Abbott ever becoming Prime Minister. Paul Howes was excellent Link of the Press address in case you missed it http://www.awu.net.au/959657_2.html Ad I only just found out that Tim Gartrell is the CEO of Auspoll, Paul Howes mentions polling in his speech, maybe thats the best poll for us to watch. http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/opinion/tony-abbott-brings-back-the-biff/story-e6frezz0-1225829994412

janice

17/02/2010YMBK, I am not against catholics per se - in fact I happen to be the only 'heathen' in my family and I have many friends who happen to be catholics. Our PM may or may not be "a religious man" and that is his business but the day he endeavours to foist his religion on the country is the day I will also criticise him for doing so. This country is made up of many religions, agnostics and even atheists like me and the Prime Minister, his Ministers and back-benchers must govern for every one of them. BB, my experience of a catholic boarding school was not pleasant and although I was never physically abused, I did suffer debilitating mental abuse and it took me half a lifetime to come to terms with the miserable years I experienced from 6rs to 14 yrs. I loathe and despise Tony Abbott because he epitomises the hypocricy, the mental torture and intolerance I suffered at the hands of those devout god-bothering nuns and priests who were into brainwashing techniques that beat normal thinking brains into submission. Holy Warrior indeed! YMBK, the born to rule mentality goes back to the days of the squattocracy when the 'gentry' ruled and the workers paid homage. The conservatives considered themselves to be the better class and therefore held the right to rule. The working men's party, the labor party were seen as underclass rabble unfit to hold high office. The born to rule mentality still continues to this day within the Liberal and National Party which is why at every election they drag out the old mantra that Labor is beholden to the Unions. Look they say, our MPs are lawyers, doctors, businessmen, people with big bucks while Labor MPs are all ex Union Reps, the dregs of society.

You must be kidding

17/02/2010With the greatest respect to your views Janice but you must get across history and indeed the make up of the Australian Parliament. The modern Liberal Party was established in 1945 which brought together a collection of parties. Their membership then and now was mostly based on Australian middleclass such as small business operators. Their first Prime Minister was of course Menzies. Labor on the other hand had their first Prime Minister as John Watson in 1904. To suggest Menzies was from the squattocracy is a long bow. The second longest serving PM is Howard and to suggest he came from a priviledged background is slightly bigoted. What we have to realise is that Menzies retired with nothing much the same as Howard (pensions excluded) as opposed to the wealth gained by Bob Hawke, Rhodes Scholar and all round good chap and of course Paul Keating during their service. Unlike Rudd who is a multi millionaire mostly earned by his wife from Government changes to the privatisation of the CES in 1996 when has a Liberal Prime Minster had such wealth? Just how does a politician who spends around 15 years in parliamanet retire as a millionaire ... how does that work? The answer of course was that Bob Hawke had some shares in a building and the tenants suddenly became government departments over paying their rental. Another example of that rort is Centenary House in Canberra. As to this born to rule mentality ... I suspect if you go through the backgrounds of both sides of parliament you will have an eclectic group but the facts are the Labor folks are mostly trained either within the Party or through the Union movement ... no such government funded body exists for the conservative side of politics. So if you are positioning the born to rule mentality on a side of politics ... I would point the finger at the Union movement and their born to rule mentality in training and then getting their mostly chaps elected into Parliament. Rsearch you might like to do is see how the Labor Party uses the Senate to churn their good mostly fellows from the union movement ... strangely the average length of stay for a Labor Senator who comes from the Party or Union movement is two terms ... 12 years ... why? Because that's when they qualify for a pension. Take for instance folks like Richardson and Loosely ... how long were they there for, indeed they should still be there if they were committed ... they both held senior positions which means they maximise their pension earnings ... they leave and the next rewarded person comes in. Born to rule ... you say. When does the avergae Labor member have a say on preselections .... they are all done with factions and given not to hard working locals but to party and union members. Have a look at the backgrounds ... I absolutely agree there are too many cheap lawyers in the Parliament .... no good on the outside and happy to sit in a safe seat in the parliament. Yet the Labor party is the only one organisaed and uses the system to their advantage when it comes to placing politicians into power. But get some history into the debate. For instance the way the Labor Party funds unions when they are in power ... and how then the union movement returns that funding to campaigns. We all think the parties ... all of them ... are above such crass manipulation but unless you actually know the system then no one understands ... and we continue such commentary that the 'born to rule' mentality of the liberals is the worst thing to have foisted upon us. The reality is very very different to your perception I'm afraid.

janice

17/02/2010I know the history of both the Labor Party and the Liberal Party YMBK. I remember Menzies and Black Jack McEwen; in fact I even met both of them. Menzies thought he was British Upperclass and Dame Pattie looked down her nose at the inferior working class. The rest of your post is largely the bullshit put out by the Liberal Party Machine from their crevices in the gutter. There are politicians on both sides of the political divide I wouldn't bother to feed let alone pay out of the public purse. However, they're there because people are gullible, don't care or simply vote for the party their favourite shock jock, friend or family tells them is the way to go. IMO it is you who needs a lesson in reality.

Macca

17/02/2010Once again we see the predictable Murdoch attack on the Labor government and in particular the Prime Minister. Apparently everything they/he have done is wrong, ill advised and has set the country on the road to financial ruin and moral decay. They may have a point. Imagine,if you will, a little school in the bush, not many students; most of whom would rather be back at home driving Dads tractor, rounding up the sheep, whilst riding the motorbike, and directing the dogs. In short,they want to be anywhere bar school. Obviously that community has no need for pleasant, modern school surroundings and certainly the local builder, hardware supplier and trades people, with their apprentices, are superflous,as is the local transport company and most other commercial operations in town. Complete waste of tax payers money. Rudd should be ashamed. Incidently,this town is in a rather arid, marginal area in the northern half of the country. Most of the houses have tin roofs, lourvre windows and flyscreens and perhaps one air conditioner fitted into the lounge room window,which is only used on really, really hot days, because power does cost more in the country. So, naturally subsidised roof insulation is neither required ,nor needed. This government has so much to answer for. I could go on and on about this ill advised stimulus package.It is just wrong, wrong wrong. This incompetent government has borrowed money, from overseas yet, and is committed to spending it on Australian people to keep us all going. The fact that the majority of us are mature enough to understand this and fully expect to have our collective belts tighten a notch or two is neither worthy of debate or, interestingly, the subject of media analisys. Kevin Rudd, Wayne Swan, Julia Gillard and Lindsay Tanner hang your heads in shame. The underlying disease in the Murdoch press is the full realisation that they, Shanahan, Bolt, Albrechtson and the rest of the two bob hacks employed there, are becoming increasingly irrelevent. They are going to take Rudd on again. They are going to lose again,badly. They underestimated him in the 2007 election. They underestimated him in utegate. While they may extoll the street fighting abilities of Tony Abbott and how he,apparrently has Rudd running scared or "rattled" the lesson coming along will be pretty emphatic. Do these boofheads really believe that Rudd has been quiet for so long that he"s scared? I think he has spent time, apart from running the country,of course, quietly contemplating the "enemy". When the hacks start to get dirtier,and they will, I dont think too many of them will enjoy the fight back. Cowards rarely do.( apologies to George M....A diamond floating on top of a bucket of shit) The majority of Australians can see and understand the logic behind the governments policy. Murdoch doesn't do logic...he excells in moron. Thats why Shanahan is as he is.

Sir Ian Crisp

17/02/2010AA, remember this: More on the Fitzgibbon affair, Bolt, and other trivia • Posted by Ad astra on May 31, 2009 Can you imagine how much time has been expended on a process involving 1700 people, on 600 interviews, on the writing of 1300 statutory declarations, the time taken to prepare the report, the disruption this caused the Defence Department; and the anxiety it inflicted on its staff, leaving aside the embarrassment and stress suffered by Helen Liu, and the problem it created for Fitzgibbon himself, exposed as he was to Opposition attacks that questioned his competence and demanded his resignation? All because some journalists wrote a story that Fairfax papers ran, that so far has turned out to be false. And so far no apology has been forthcoming, or any redress. Followed by this: The Fitzgibbon affair – endgame? • Posted by Ad astra on June 6, 2009 First it must be accepted that Joel Fitzgibbon shot himself in the foot – several times. So when it all boils down he has only himself to blame for his exit to the backbench. The first-revealed misdemeanours of not recording gifts on the pecuniary interests register betrayed lack of attention to such requirements, an air of carelessness, but were forgiven. The one that brought him undone was lack of probity in his relationship with his brother and his colleagues seeking Defence Department contracts for health care. AA, did you hear about the poor slob in Mudville who signed his tax return knowing it to be false and inaccurate? He was fined for making a false declaration. Here’s a bit of a nudge for you: • BIAS (noun) The noun BIAS has 2 senses: 1. a partiality that prevents objective consideration of an issue or situation

Sir Ian Crisp

17/02/2010By the way, the poor slob from Mudville tried to use the word 'untidy' when the matter of making a false declaration was raised by the ATO bloodhounds. It was rejected.

Ad astra reply

17/02/2010Folks What started out as a commentary on the bias of Dennis Shanahan when he interprets [i]Newspoll[/i], has wandered far and wide, resulting in much interesting reading. To return to the theme, you may be interested to take in the facts detailed in the following Important Issues that were surveyed at the same time as the recent [i]Newspoll[/i] and published today. http://resources.news.com.au/files/2010/02/16/1225831/120603-aus-news-file-newspoll-100217.pdf Then read Dennis Shanahan’s interpretation of these findings in [i]Protest poll flags rush to Coalition[/i] http://www.theaustralian.com.au/politics/opinion/protest-poll-flags-rush-to-coalition/story-e6frgd0x-1225831138571 and [i]Coalition making inroads in all areas[/i] http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/coalition-making-inroads-in-all-areas/story-e6frg75f-1225831141247 I’d be interested to have your appraisal of Dennis’ interpretation. Lyn1 Thanks again for the valuable links.

Bushfire Bill

17/02/2010[i]I’d be interested to have your appraisal of Dennis’ interpretation. [/i] Dennis has jumped the shark. On the basis of a couple of Newspolls he's written off the Rudd government and all its achievements. I'd say he's responding to the incredulity at his interpretation of this poll expressed in both the blogsosphere and by his peers at other news organizations. Expect another Shanahan meltdown soon. The man's gone mad. He's back to shuffling his little pieces of paper - each with a "Get Rudd" bullet point scrawled on it - and has, once again (but only in his own fevered imagination) come up with the killer analysis. It's wishful thinking writ large. Big six-inch high letters. War headlines. Rudd and his government are still MILES ahead of the oppositon on most points and much improved on their immediate post-election position on all of them (including the economy), but on a few stale crumbs doled out by Newspoll Dennis has (once again) written it up into a manifesto, prematurely celebrating the death of Labor. Shanahan's last paragraph: [i]This move towards the Coalition in every policy area is more significant in political terms than the narrowing of the primary vote and falling satisfaction with the Prime Minister. This is a vote on how the government is doing in key areas and flags a move back to the Coalition that doesn't depend on Abbott as Opposition Leader. This is a protest poll.[/i] he reference to this poll being "more significant in political terms than the narrowing of the primary vote and falling satisfaction with the Prime Minister" indicates that he's been stung by criticisms of his previous fevered theories which had PPM as [i]the most important[/i] metric of Newspoll. Now he's trying to say that none of this matters anymore. Although the government is ahead on most issues, somehow Dennis sees a marginal drop here and there as evidence the public has lost faith in Labor. A few years ago (August 2006) one poll showing Howard at 51/49 TPP was hailed by Shanahan as "an election winning lead" for his hero. It was all supposed to be on the rise after that, according to the Jurdoch Political Oracle. Except, this was the very last poll that has seen the Coalition ahead since then. Three-and-a-half years of misery is countered by a couple of polls that show some of the paint is coming off Rudd. This is extrapolated into "a move back to the Coalition". Even Abbott is unnecessary in Shanahan's latest scenario for a triumphant Tory return. The latest couple of polls, Dennis tells us, show that Abbott has little to do with what's happening to the government. After weeks of spruiking Abbott's worthiness as a challenger, suddenly Shanahan has cast him adrift, cancelled him out of the equation. If anything was a concession that Abbott has failed, this is it. Abbott is no longer the star. He's a bit player in Shanahan's return of the kings. His colleagues at Fairfax have probably rung him and told him to calm down, not to put too much store on Tony Abbott. Dennis' response? "IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH TONY ABBOTT!" See what I mean about "jumped the shark"? Poor guy, I thought there was some hope for him, but I was wrong.

janice

18/02/2010Sorry everyone for straying off topic. I can only offer the excuse that frustration with the biased media got the better of me - My BP is now under control and I'm back on track LOL. Shanahan has lost his marbles I'm afraid. He just seems to be colouring his pieces the way he wishes it to be, or perhaps it is just that he is disillusioned with his beloved Tories and cannot bring himself to acknowledge there can be anything good in PM Rudd or the Labor Party.

Bushfire Bill

18/02/2010Is there any end to Kevin Rudd's ineptness? Now his status as an "accomplished media performer" is in doubt. As an eager Shahanan tells us: [i]"Yesterday, as Prime Minister, he called a media conference but he was unable to set his intended agenda, strayed into negative topics and got upstaged on the evening television news by Tony Abbott almost getting hit by a truck."[/i] "Unable to set the intended aganda"? This is surely the end of the road for KRudd. It goes straight to his character, no doubt, that he was obsessively negative (unlike Tony Abbott who is bathed in positive waves): [i]"There was no sign of the frontrunning, confident politician in charge of a media conference positively promoting his own policies and deftly smothering the Coalition agenda."[/i] Oh Kevin, where art thou? And how did the cunning Tony Abbott manage to upstage the PM? He (literally) nearly got run over by a truck. I dunno, political brilliance must be a gift. [i]"There wasn't anything Rudd could do about the dramatic television footage of the new Liberal leader's close shave putting him down the evening news bulletins, but calling a media conference without a theme was a miscalculation."[/i] That Kevin Rudd wasn't up to the latest twists and turns in Abbott's thrill-a-minute life is one thing, but the constant negativity is the killer, as Dennis lreminds us again: [i]"The Prime Minister continued negative attacks on Abbott over homelessness, his accusation that Environment Minister Peter Garrett could face industrial manslaughter charges, his claim that the $250m given to the commercial television stations was an "election year bribe" and the Coalition's policy of a debate on nuclear power. [b]These all ended in media coverage of negative issues for the government and positive television footage of Abbott making scones and talking about road safety. There's no sign yet of Kevin 07.[/b]"[/i] One thing is for sure. When Dennis thinkshis man's on a roll, he lets us know. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/politics/opinion/rudd-bumped-by-opposition-story/story-e6frgd0x-1225831555761

You must be kidding

18/02/2010Is this description one of your born to rule types Janice? I did some research on a number of our polticians recently and found this profile Went to Barker College in Sydney's upper North Shore Devout Christian Trained as a lawyer Recently said he loves the rissoles and mash his "dear wife" (sic) makes for him Said that if he could have dinner with anyone it would be with the apostle Paul. Is this the type of poltician you have the hatred for? The ones you think are the born to rulers? I once met the PM who said that Australia is the arse end of the world, that the only good thing about Darwin is flying over it on the way to Europe ... is this the type of politician you talk about who sneers down their nose when they talk to us working class. Kim Beasley senior once said when he first joined the Labor Party it was made up of the elite of the working class and to his chargrin when he left poltics it was unfortunately made up of the dregs of the middleclass ... is this what you mean about the born to rulers? And finally ... BB you seem to have finally got it ... amongst the bias press, those layabout journos and the terrible ABC you have finally come to realise it is not Abbott that is affecting the polls ... finally you get it! It is the Rudd Government that is affecting the polls and as I have argued for sometime, in a democracy this is as it should be.

Bushfire Bill

18/02/2010[i]"And finally ... BB you seem to have finally got it ... amongst the bias press, those layabout journos and the terrible ABC you have finally come to realise it is not Abbott that is affecting the polls ... finally you get it! It is the Rudd Government that is affecting the polls and as I have argued for sometime, in a democracy this is as it should be."[/i] Sorry, YmbK, I haven't got a clue what you're talking about.

janice

18/02/2010Oh really YMBK you are an exasperating individual - go climb a box tree will you?

You must be kidding

18/02/2010Janice I suspect debate is not in your lexicon for if it were you would perhaps respond to the questions/comments I posed as opposed to asking me to climb a tree ... bit hard in what I am wearing today I’m afraid. But I found this link that might be able to help the debate. http://www.2020site.org/trees/box.html As to BB ... you really must get across what you submit under your BB name because in your analysis of Comrade Dennis who apparently is more biased than the ABC and Rupert you wrote ... Even Abbott is unnecessary in Shanahan's latest scenario for a triumphant Tory return. The latest couple of polls, Dennis tells us, show that Abbott has little to do with what's happening to the government. After weeks of spruiking Abbott's worthiness as a challenger, suddenly Shanahan has cast him adrift, cancelled him out of the equation. If anything was a concession that Abbott has failed, this is it. Abbott is no longer the star. He's a bit player in Shanahan's return of the kings. His colleagues at Fairfax have probably rung him and told him to calm down, not to put too much store on Tony Abbott. Dennis' response? "IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH TONY ABBOTT!" Now on the basis that you can’t have it both ways ... Tony Abbott is either leading a change in community thinking or he is not ... you have said in the past ... and I shall paraphrase your contributions that Abbott was nothing more than a crusty old lying catholic who couldn’t see a policy even if it was in his lycra. So if you have said that then if the polls change and Abbott is as useless as you portray him to be ... then the change in community thinking has nothing to do with Abbott ... so you must be agreeing with Comrade Dennis when he says Abbott has had little impact ... which the figures indicate. But if you think Comrade Dennis is wrong then what you have been saying all along is not right ... and given ... as we are so readily advised by AA ... that you are an astute and “on top of it” commentator then you must believe that Abbott is not affecting the polls and thus the government is impacting the community’s reason ... which is what I was congratulating you about ... you are astute because you see that Abbott is of no consequence and it is the government which is becoming the target. So well done BB.

Bushfire Bill

18/02/2010But, YMbK, I don't agree that Abbott, or at least the [i]spruiking[/i] of Abbott, has nothing to do with the slight poll variances in the past month or so. That's [i]Shanahan's[/i] theory. In order to pass off the wall-to-wall coverage the Australian has given to Abbott recently, Shanahn says Abbott is not important in the equation, implying that the Australian's coverage is inconsequential. It's a roundabout way of denying the coverage in favour of Abbott is over the top, by saying it has no effect, that Rudd has damaged himself. The alternative theory is that Abbott is for the chop, or at least should be, because if he's having no effect after the airwaves and column inches have been saturated with him, then he really had better go. Shanahan's was a stupid column. It reads like a thought bubble, a bullet point. The man hates Rudd and Labor, that's clear and has been well-known and understood for as long as anyone can remember. When Shanahan jumps the shark he uses a pole to get higher. He takes himself so seriously, but he's just a partisan spruiker and would-be kingmaker masquerading as a journalist. The one "success" he had was a campaign to get rid of Beazley in 2006. And he did... ushering in Rudd! Poor guy, he can't take a trick. I could go into detail on the number of times in recent years he's made a fool of himself, but I fear I'd be wasting my time on trying to show you. If you're any kind of half-way serious student of politics in Australia, you'd know the details anyway.

Grog

18/02/2010On the issue of the 9pm release of Newspoll. That came from John Bergin (Sky News) via twitter (interestingly the tweet has been deleted). He did tweet before 9pm that he was wrong: [Stand down. I was mistaken re: earlier tweet. Info available at the usual time at www.theaustralian.com.au.] http://twitter.com/theburgerman/status/9134292113 I don't know if I'd call it a hoax - though the 9pm timing certainly did get me thinking it would likely be good news for the LNP

vote1maxine

18/02/2010Hi Bushfire We went to the same school. I finished in 1973 and am curious to find out if we were contemporaries. BTW my post to you on PB was meant to be humorous but you may have taken it the wrong way. That was not my intention, apologies if you took offence. Love your posts, always informative and factual. Regards

Bushfire Bill

18/02/2010V1Mx, no, no offence taken at all. I left at the end of 1970, so you would have been in 3rd form (as they used to call it) when I was in 6th form. There are always ex Catholic school kids who take "The Faith" very seriously, while most drift away from the Church in adult life. I'm one of the latter, and Abbott seems to have gone pretty extremely the other way, what with his early priestly ambitions and his continued contact with Cardinal Pell. He's more a "DLP" type of guy than just an ordinary practising Catholic. Energized and active, his faith defines the way he approaches life. They say the real test is whether you return to the faith on your death bed. I haven't had to face that test yet, and I'm not at all confident that I will pass it. I may call for the priest, like many others do. AA would be able to shed more light on "death bed Catholics", I suspect. But Abbott's faith is in the here and now. He's the modern day equivalent of the old-fashioned Holy Warrior. His own conscience is his business, but when it impinges on his style, or potential style of governance, then it becomes everyone's business. I get the feeling about him that he's jealous of Rudd taking over what Abbott saw as his ownership of the "religion franchise" of Australian politics. He takes every opportunity to tell us what a hypocrite Rudd is on religion and morals. It clearly irks him. Maybe something else that irks him is that Rudd left the Catholic Church and took up Anglican Protestantism. Full-on Catholics see that as treason. They still believe theirs is "The One True Church" and that the others are imposters. It all seems so long ago that I used to cry myself to sleep as a young boy when my older sister gave up going to Mass on Sundays. I prayed for her soul to a God that a few years later I would lose belief in. Catholicism gets to you like that. All the talk of mortal sins (where you go to Hell without the option) and the terrible punishments awaiting seeming minor transgressions can scare the bejesus out of a young kid. Some never get over it. Our old school and many other Catholic schools no longer have brothers (or nuns) as teachers. They're all lay staff nowadays. I think Abbott's still has Jesuit priests on staff. It's a sort of "last bastion" of the faith, God's redoubt. It'd be interesting to see what Shanahan's faith is, if any. With an Irish name like that (and ten kids, I believe) you'd expect he'd be either a Catholic or an ex-Catholic.

Ad astra reply

18/02/2010Folks I couldn't resist writing another piece about [i]Shanas' Magic Looking Glass[/i] based on his analysis, if that word is applicable, of the [i]Important Issues[/i] survey that accompanied this week's [i]Newspoll[/i]. You'll find it: [i]More of Shanas' Magic Looking Glass[/i] at http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/post/2010/02/18/More-of-Shanase28099-Magic-Looking-Glass.aspx

Ad astra reply

19/02/2010Folks I think this post has run its course, so I'm closing comments.
How many umbrellas are there if I start with two and take 2 away?