It doesn’t matter if the election is three years or three days away, we’re constantly reminded who the most popular party is, who’s got the preferences, and who’s the preferred prime minister. It never seems to be the actual prime minister or the opposition leader, which is curious.


Every time I see one of these polls, I’m reminded of how I constantly check my phone for messages from my girlfriend. There never is any, because I don’t have one. Political polling is that pointless.

Where do these numbers come from? A surprisingly small number of people, often barely over a thousand. The polls claim a margin of error of only a few per cent, but in Australia we’re talking about complex issues and over 20 million people. I fondly remember a ‘Yes Prime Minister’ sketch that exposed political polling for the farce that it is (see above).

If you really must know, read the latest Newspoll results here.

In Australia, the people polled supposedly represent a cross section of the community. But nobody’s ever asked me. Or my friends. Actually some people I know have gotten the call, and they’re always sorry, but they’re just too busy to spare a moment of their time.

Who can? For the most part, lonely people who don’t have much going on. If you’ve recently taken the time to answer a poll, does that mean that I’m talking about you? Not necessarily, but it’s highly likely. Sorry. Maybe you should get out more.

The real problem is the effect of these polls. We’re getting lazier, our attention spans are shrinking, and journalists are dedicating less time to actual analysis. The result is that the polls are no longer telling us what we think. They’re telling us what to think.

They’re all about the opinion of the ‘average’ Australian, but when it comes to the big issues I’m not just interested in ‘average’. I want analysis, and to hear from a range of experts. Information and insight, so I can formulate my own opinions. Remember when people used to do that?

Instead of asking ourselves, ‘Is this policy a good idea?’ Now all we’re asking is, ‘Do other people think it’s a good idea? They do? Well that’s good enough for me. Back to Masterchef and my home delivered pizza.’

The result is that politicians are doing even less of what they think is best, and even more of the popular. This is already an inherent problem of the three year election cycle, as parties neglect making tough decisions for the long-term good. Instead they focus on the quick pay-off to increase their chances of being re-elected, offsetting negative effects for future generations. As an example, consider just about every piece of environmental policy.

By continually reporting the opinion of the general public and little else the moment a new policy or decision is announced, it leaves politicians scrambling to amend, improve and backpeddle. Leaving us with policy that does little more than cause as little offence as possible.

So are all these public opinion polls meaningless? Yes! Is the media aware of this? Yes! Do they tell us? No! The media are there to make money first, and provide meaningful information as a distant second, and polls provide far higher ratings than actual insight. Thus leaving us ample time to get back to the important business of being obsessed with ourselves and funny photos of cats.

Why not just limit ourselves to the one survey that matters? You know, that big one that happens every three and a bit years where we ask everyone.

Comments on this post will close at 8pm AEDST.

More articles, rants, fiction and jokes here. Next up I’m appearing at the Woodford Folk Festival.

Most commented

139 comments

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    • Super D says:

      05:08am | 12/12/12

      In my opinion the media,for the most part, treat politics as filler.  When you have to fill 30minutes of primetime news a few minutes on politics every day help pad the half hour or 24 minutes on commercial TV.  The polls are an easy way to fill the news.  Display the result, get a talking head comment, roll to a commercial and then the weather and an item about a dog who can ride a skateboard while juggling in a leotard.

      Indeed the average Australian’s opinion doesn’t matter but then neither does that of inner city hipsters.  It really comes down to the marginals and I for the life of me can’t understand why anyone would want to live in those electorates let alone how they react to the shennanigans we see ona daily basis.

    • One eyed toxic bore says:

      08:49am | 12/12/12

      There are two kinds of polls. The ones that tell me what I want to hear are incredibly accurate, very important, and have me shouting them from the rooftops, then scurrying off to measure up the drapes of the Lodge.

      The ones that don’t are biased, meaningless hypotheticals.

      Don’t disturb me with talk of the only poll that matters every three years. I’m busy counting my chickens.

    • subotic says:

      08:49am | 12/12/12

      And 87.2% of all statistics are made up on the spot….

    • cityboy @ Sydney says:

      08:58am | 12/12/12

      You really are very funny Super D, so early in the morning!
      And yes, who would want to live in one of those appalling marginal electorates out in suburgatory!

    • TimB says:

      02:00pm | 12/12/12

      @ ‘One eyed toxic Bore’

      That’s true AASQ, you are busy counting your chickens. Constantly crowing about PPM polls because they tell you the story you like, and ignoring the far more important 2PP measure because it’s a ‘hypothetical’.

      There’s enough cognitive dissonance to make you develop a split personality….oh wait.

    • FlyOnTheWall says:

      05:45am | 12/12/12

      Of course polls matter, they’re news. For someone who laments that government is too short term, there is insufficient analysis of policy and people are too unsophisticated to go ahead and write; “As an example, consider just about every piece of environmental policy” suggests that this peice is nothing more than a shallow whining waste of mine, and everyone else’s time.

      Are the polls simply too depressing for you? I’m surprised that this didn’t slant off onto the prank call. I mean, clearly people are struggling to come up with something to write about and everyone else is writing about it…

    • Ladyjane says:

      05:46am | 12/12/12

      The only poll that matters is the one on election day. The recent ACT election was a prime example of how polls can get it very wrong.

      I want a government that has a vision, a clear direction and plan for getting there and sticks to it in spite of the polls. I mightn’t agree with their aims, but at least I could have some respect. I’m tired of a government whose primary aim appears to be absolutely nothing other than retaining power at all costs.

      I appreciate the opportunity to form my own opinion. To that end, could I request that journalists report the facts and don’t infuse their stories with their own bias?

    • Philsopher says:

      07:31am | 12/12/12

      ‘I want a government that has a vision, a clear direction and plan for getting there and sticks to it in spite of the polls.’ I have just the party for you: Christian Democrats under Rev Fred Nile. You will find no clearer statement of intent and much more so than the ‘centrist right’ or ‘pragmatic left’ or ‘The Real Julia’ or ‘My Tony Loves All The Ladies’. With CDP you the Book of Luke: ‘I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.’ What’s not to like smile

      PS just joking. (for the many, many Puncher with no GSOH)

    • A Concerned Citizen says:

      08:18am | 12/12/12

      Philosopher, I think I can beat even that.
      Considering that Fred Nile is supporting a Casino at Barandaroo because James Packer convinced (more likely bribed) him, and is alleged to look at thousands of pornographic images each day, I wouldn’t even say the CDP have a ‘clear’ vision either.

      The CDP exist solely to bully and antagonize people they don’t like (gays).

    • Mark says:

      08:38am | 12/12/12

      Excuse me but how did the recent ACT election polls get it wrong? Despite the difficulty of polling in the ACT because of a smaller population and the Hare-Clarke system, my recollection is that the polls suggested a close election but a continuation of minority Labor Government, which is exactly what we got.

    • Big Jay says:

      08:42am | 12/12/12

      “I want a government that has a vision, a clear direction and plan for getting there and sticks to it in spite of the polls.”

      Me too, but I’m pretty sure that govt would lose with the make-up of the electorate we have today.

      Every major infrastructure project gets challenged by environmentalists and other opposition groups (it’s too expensive, its the wrong solution, its too big, it too small). Look at the NBN, second sydney airport, then imagine try to get a project like the Sydney Harbour bridge up and going today.

      His example on environmental policy is a good one. Every time people will whinge if they do anything (like pay some money, or change the slightest thing in the lifestyle, fishing or farming methods etc).

      Any attempt to help the poor sees people cry class warfare.

      Imagine a govt saying “We as a country, need to pay off our mammoth foreign debt, that means we all need to a little a harder, and consume a little less.”...I’m thinking lead balloon.

    • acotrel says:

      08:46am | 12/12/12

      ‘The recent ACT election was a prime example of how polls can get it very wrong. ‘

      Perhaps the polls were being used as tools in an attempt to manipulate the outcome?  - The footy psychology of barracking for a winner.

    • Philosopher says:

      08:49am | 12/12/12

      @A Concerned Citizen, you are being unkind to the good reverend. He just enjoys seeing people as they were in the Garden of Eden, naked and unashamed. And laying with each other.

    • Andrew says:

      09:44am | 12/12/12

      No Mark, they predicted a easy win for the ALP, with a lost of seats for the coalition, labor lost seats or stayed the same (didnt see final results) and are only governing with the help of others.

    • Tyr says:

      09:47am | 12/12/12

      @acotrel: Can you please send me your crack dealer’s number? Seems like it’s good shit, and in steady supply…

    • acotrel says:

      11:06am | 12/12/12

      @Tyr
      So you believe the polls ? You and Tony Abbott deserve each other.  You could share a straight jacket.
      ‘The system runs on bullshit’ !

    • Augustus Caesar says:

      11:16am | 12/12/12

      “I want a government that has a vision, a clear direction , a plan for getting there & sticks to it in spite of the polls”
      “Ladyjane” wouldn’t that be wonderful!
      Pity is it’s just a Utopian Dream. Our politicians, Federal, State or Territory are more interested in what they can get out of it for themselves & their mates (male’n'female) than what is good for the country.
      Have a look at the history of former Prime Ministers, Premiers, Chief Ministers & 100% of all other pollies.
      We employ them. We then sack them. What happens next?
      They get fancy offices & staff for the rest of their lives. All paid for by their Former Employers - Us.
      They get Gold Passes for themselves & their parasitic families so that they can travel around Free of Charge for their Former Employers - Us - pay all the fares.
      They get a Pension Scheme the like of which their Former Employers can only dream of. They contribute virtually nothing to that Pension Fund. The vast majority of it is financed by their Foremer Employers - Us.
      Then they get their mates (M’n'F), irrespective of the Party they used to represent, to find them nice, cushy, highly-paid sinecures overseas.
      Over fully qualified diplomats, these parasites get their mates to arrange for their appointment as Ambassador, Consul, Trade Representative (State or Federal) or other cushy, highly paid (Paid, naturally, by their Former Employers - Us)
      That is what politics is all about today.Actually nothing has changed since I was Emperor all those centuries ago for I still live off my former employers - You!!!

    • A Concerned Citizen says:

      11:19am | 12/12/12

      @Philosopher- I would have thought the good Reverend was heroically looking at porn to protect others from it, somehow? “Taking our sins” so to speak?

      @Big Jay- in those circumstances I would actually blame the state government’s fetish for gorging taxpayer’s money for “studies” or other silly excuses rather than actually doing them.

      Take the Norwest rail line. Everybody wants it. Everybody has supported it, and demanded it for decades. Nobody at all is opposed to it. All we want is for them to continue digging the Epping-Chatswood line, as originally planned. The plan is already there. Yet Farrel and Greiner keep putting half-arsed proposals like ‘single deck train tunnels’ and ‘terminating at Chatswood’.

      If I didn’t know any better, I’d say they were deliberately avoiding doing anything so they can keep trying to milk these issues as a way to get paid to ‘study’ them.

    • Bho Ghan-Pryde says:

      11:58am | 12/12/12

      Gosh Ladyjane the Nazi party would fit your needs. With a very clear vision, a definite plan to get there, absolutely no concern for public opinion and to top it all off they wil keep going what ever the cost and do not care if they go down fighting. Sounds like the party for you.

    • MatLon says:

      05:54am | 12/12/12

      Can someone tell me why western Sydney is so important in these matters? I have no idea of Sydney demographics and I constantly hear about this area being so important in elections and polls.

      Why do Labor do so badly in this area?

    • SAm says:

      06:03am | 12/12/12

      Because its massive, population wise. Almost half of Sydney. Lots of ‘Battlers’ as Johnny liked to call them

    • FINK says:

      07:18am | 12/12/12

      @Sam,
      “Lots of ‘Battlers’ as Johnny liked to call them”

      Johnny’s little euphemism for “slow thinking bogans who can be easily bought by giving a little bit of their tax back to them in the form of Middle Class Welfare to buy a vote”. He was a masterclass in understanding how to manipulate the scavenging hordes west of Strathfield. Throw them bogan fools some crumbs from their own loaves and they will come.

    • Michael S says:

      07:28am | 12/12/12

      Western Sydney’s important because there’s a huge population. Also because there’s plenty of electorates that Labor holds at the moment but would only take a small swing to fall.
      I’m in Greenway - typical GWS territory. People are hurting, the cost of living is increasing faster than CPI, congestion on the roads and the trains is getting worse. And the Labor brand has been completely trashed by corruption and mismanagement. The voters are waiting with their baseball bats; and the Liberals will have the seat won by 6:15 on election night.

      It wouldn’t take many people to change their vote to see Greenway, Parramatta, Lindsay, Banks and Reid fall to the Liberals; and also the Central Coast seats of Dobell and Robertson. That’s more than enough to get Tony Abbott elected with a reasonable working majority.

    • iansand says:

      07:32am | 12/12/12

      Labor don’t do badly (necessarily) but western Sydney has a number of seats that are swinging seats that are finely balanced.  How western Sydney votes can mean a significant number of seats going one way or the other which will potentially be decisive in an election.

    • iansand says:

      07:33am | 12/12/12

      Labor don’t do badly (necessarily) but western Sydney has a number of seats that are swinging seats that are finely balanced.  How western Sydney votes can mean a significant number of seats going one way or the other which will potentially be decisive in an election.

    • Colin says:

      08:52am | 12/12/12

      @ MatLon

      ‘Cause if you don’t treat the Westies right, they’ll come to your house and shoot you, that’s why.

    • Tubesteak says:

      09:31am | 12/12/12

      Western Sydney is the epitome of the cashed-up bogan NIMBY economically illiterate aspirational entitlement hand-out complex

      Mortgaged to the hilt on their McMansion they constantly whine about the cost of living despite owning more stuff than they need. They flit from one party to another depending on bribes and soundbytes about economic management

      The utter lack of public transport and viable road system is hampered by their desire to not have new development in their backyard and an insistence that the government balance the books whilst never cutting off their bribes and entitlements

    • Colin says:

      09:44am | 12/12/12

      @ Tubesteak

      “Western Sydney is the epitome of the cashed-up bogan NIMBY economically illiterate aspirational entitlement hand-out complex…”

      Goodness, Tubesteak, I think that I am falling for you…

    • Bho Ghan-Pryde says:

      10:53am | 12/12/12

      Gosh, all these comments about Bogans. You beauty, apparently this is where you come to be a bigot. Ok let’s go. Western Sydney is important because the Asian drug gangs will kill you for a dollar and they have already killed one local member. You cannot ignore them. When not selling drugs to Skips and Bogans they are fighting Muslim street gangs who take time off from attacking white women and drive-by shootings to fight for drug turf with the Asians. Got it.

    • Terry2 says:

      06:05am | 12/12/12

      Like you, Xavier I have never, ever been polled and I don’t know anybody who has. Have any Punchers ever been polled, presumably they don’t just poll the same people each time ?

    • Wayne Kerr says:

      07:04am | 12/12/12

      I was polled many many years ago. Come to think of it I was called up twice in a short period of time so maybe they do call the same peopel most of the time.

      Now I have a private number.

    • Economist says:

      08:39am | 12/12/12

      I’ve received a phone call from Newspoll for one of their Omnibus surveys into consumption patterns rather than the who are you going to vote for Newspoll poll.

      They don’t need to poll that many people as each individual polled is representative of a cohort of people. For example, for that survey no doubt I represented the ridiculously good looking, inner city, overly intelligent, well informed, selective spending, mortgaged family man who had no interest in changing service providers or to the products being asked about. 

      Despite offering my services to represent this cohort in future surveys I’ve never been contacted again. Personally I’m surprised because I didn’t think that there were that many ridiculously good looking, inner city, overly intelligent, well informed, selective spending, mortgaged family men about.

    • Mark says:

      08:43am | 12/12/12

      They have your phone number among a few million others and only call a couple of thousand people each polling period. It shouldn’t be any surprise that you’ve never been polled…just like many adults have never been called up for jury duty.

    • iansand says:

      09:10am | 12/12/12

      I have been polled.  Participation in polls is your best shot at influencing policy.

    • acotrel says:

      11:15am | 12/12/12

      @iansand
      ’  Participation in polls is your best shot at influencing policy. ‘

      Blind acceptance that the poll results are honest and not designed to manipulate opinion by subtle bias by the pollster, -  both in the way the questions are asked and in the way your opinion is assessed and recorded ? ‘Who guards the guards ? ” 
      If the results are biassed then reported in the media, what then happens to public opinion , as recorded in the next poll which might be the election ?

    • TimB says:

      02:14pm | 12/12/12

      ‘If the results are biassed then reported in the media, what then happens to public opinion , as recorded in the next poll which might be the election ? ‘

      Er, nothing.

      Who are all these weak-minded people who only vote based on how other people are voting?

      Me, I like to think Australians are capable of making their own decisions, and not simply backing whoever is being tipped to win.

    • Pete says:

      03:43pm | 12/12/12

      People are forgetting the dreaded follow on from the poll - the ‘focus group’. Companies dish up average (ie. uneducated, middle class) Australians and probe them with questions so subjective, the results are worthless. The technique is just not reliable. Howard was a guru in the way he did not requiring these polls: he had antennae tuned into the misnamed ‘battler’ - in actual fact a poorly educated, on-the-make materialist determined to get as much stuff as possible and ape his superior classes with o/s holidays and masstige sh*t like Tiffany jewellery. It was genius in its Machievellian mastery.

    • Sean says:

      03:50pm | 12/12/12

      They’re called Liberal supporters.

    • Colin says:

      06:06am | 12/12/12

      “Who really cares what average Australians think?”

      Ah, see now, that’s where you made a fundamental mistake; Average Australians DON’T think, so your initial statement belies your entire premise…

    • acotrel says:

      06:26am | 12/12/12

      ‘Average Australians DON’T think, so your initial statement belies your entire premise… ‘

      The evidence is that Tony Abbott lasted more than a week in politics

    • Damocles says:

      07:16am | 12/12/12

      acotrel says:
      “The evidence is that Tony Abbott lasted more than a week in politics”
      I’ll fix this mistake for you, you poor deluded ALP stooge,
      “The evidence is that Gillard is still in office and the worst pm in Australian political history.”
      There that says it as the majority of Australians see it.

    • Don says:

      07:28am | 12/12/12

      Ditto for Julia, senior one trick pony.

    • HC says:

      07:48am | 12/12/12

      Yeah I have to agree, most people don’t give politics more than a moments thought in the voting booth and they only do this because they’re forced to.

      Mind you I like inoffensive, ineffective governments.  Politicians on all sides have a nasty habit of screwing up badly anytime they actually try to do something so better to have a useless lot who can do no harm (and no good at the same time) than a ‘useful’ lot who invariably ruin everything they touch.  Exhibit A: Fatty O’Barrell’s government is an excellent example of a good useless government, Ballieu is pretty dull and ordinary too.  Exhibits B & C: Gillard and Campbell, both attempting to ‘do’ things and cocking them up royally and/or p!ssing everybody off while doing it.

    • Shane says:

      07:56am | 12/12/12

      @acotrel

      Never look a gift horse in the mouth. If it weren’t for Abbott, the Libs wouldn’t have lost the election.

    • acotrel says:

      08:03am | 12/12/12

      The Howard government and the Liberal Party did their best to cause social division and inequality.  Their divisive politics were pursued under the guise of promoting Australian values, however in their cynicism they achieved little which was constructive.  Where are John Howard’s monuments ?  Compare with the NBN, NAPLAN, BER, NDIS and then place your hand on your heart and claim that Abbott would do better ! You will probably get struck by lightning !

    • acotrel says:

      08:12am | 12/12/12

      @Damocles
      ‘Gillard is still in office and the worst pm in Australian political history’

      Well you got the first part right, but the second ? BULLSHIT !
      William Morris Hughes
      Stanley Melbourne Bruce
      Sir Robert Menzies
      William Mc Mahon
      John Howard

      List their achievemnents apart from sitting on their hands holding tight to the purse strings - If you do nothing, you can never make a mistake ?
      Almost all of our infrastructure and social safety net have come from the ALP.

    • A Concerned Citizen says:

      08:31am | 12/12/12

      “Tony/Gillard lasted a week in politics”- well yes, considering that;
      1- we can only get rid of them at elections.
      2- Because we don’t directly elect our government, but instead vote for electorate representatives into parliament to vote for the government instead (with themselves randomly assigned as ministers), people in Gillard’s and Abbott’s electorate have little other but to vote for these clowns if they want the party they represent to get into government.
      3- alternatively, as only the people of that electorate get a say in either of these people being in government- if they are idiots and genuinely like Abbot and Gillard, then that’s what we get, and we take it or leave it during elections.

      If you want to stop this, you should start lobbying for government ministries to be directly-elected; that way we don’t get Gillard as Prime Minister, Abbot as Health Minister or Malcolm Turnbull as environment Minister- ever.

      Oh, and Binding CIR and the right to call early elections in a similar fashion.

    • acotrel says:

      08:31am | 12/12/12

      @shane
      ‘Never look a gift horse in the mouth. If it weren’t for Abbott, the Libs wouldn’t have lost the election. ‘

      My opinion of Abbott makes little difference .  Turnbull will be leading the LNP very soon, and because he actually has some smarts, they could get up.  Then we will see some real economic idiocy because Turnbull is not his own man.  You can tell that by the way he keeps his mouth tightly closed at present .
      Cynical ideologues rule in the Liberal Party.

    • Jack says:

      08:49am | 12/12/12

      Who really cares what average Australians think?”
      Where the bloody hell are they?

      Any left?

    • Borderer says:

      08:58am | 12/12/12

      Acotrel
      People actually want a government that does nothing, it gives them less to f*ck up…

    • FINK says:

      09:09am | 12/12/12

      @Damocles,
      “Gillard is still in office and the worst pm in Australian political history”
      You are correct in that within the next 12 months Julia Gillard will most certainly have the trophy of worst P.M. firmly sitting on the mantle. Unfortunately however I feel that within the next 4 years she will have to pass that trophy onto Tony Abbott At least she can hold her head high and declare that she was the record holder of worst P.M in recorded history for 3 years.

    • Colin says:

      09:18am | 12/12/12

      @ Jack

      ” Who really cares what average Australians think?” ... Where the bloody hell are they?... Any left?”

      Oh yes, Jack, plenty Left - also some Right, and some just plain watermelon…and (note the ill-conceived collective noun) there’s a whole BUNCH of “Commies” Trotskyites, Bolsheviks, Anarchists, and other groups as well…

      ALL of which also don’t have a clue.

    • acotrel says:

      09:47am | 12/12/12

      @Colin
      ‘there’s a whole BUNCH of “Commies” Trotskyites, Bolsheviks, Anarchists, and other groups as well…

      Paranoia can be treated .

    • acotrel says:

      09:57am | 12/12/12

      @Borderer
      The LNP does nothing when in power and their cynicism still f*cks up the other important stuff besides infrastructure e.g.  Workchoices, Patrick’s, reconciliation, multiculturalism, montreal protocol , social change. They are a bunch of luddite idiots. Conservative is the correct descriptor for them - progressive they will never be.

    • Colin says:

      10:02am | 12/12/12

      @ acotrel

      “Paranoia can be treated”

      Yes it can; at the end of The Gun of Democracy! Are you with me, brother?

    • acotrel says:

      11:18am | 12/12/12

      @Colin
      Is that why John Howard took away our guns ?

    • Colin says:

      11:47am | 12/12/12

      @ acotrel

      “Is that why John Howard took away our guns ?”

      Yes, yes it is.

      And it’s also why faeries fly spaceships fuelled by New!, Improved! “Anti-Gravvo”; as used by all good astronauts and The Duke of York…Now just forty-four million dollars per quad, New! Improved! Anti-Gravvo burns faster, cleaner, and with more exothermic motivational power than ever before. Keep your interstellar craft Clean and Green with New! Improved! Anti-Gravvo. Buy some TODAY!

      (Available at all good Quasars and The Shaver Shop)

    • My Space says:

      03:17pm | 12/12/12

      @ Acotrel

      Didn’t somebody show how the Federal Liberal Government built most of the infrastructure?? Snowy Hydro, Sydney Harbour Bridge .... Whatever Labor builds is paid for by the subsequent Liberal Government.

    • OchreBunyip says:

      06:30am | 12/12/12

      When you realise that the public media is an entertainment business and nothing more then useless reporting such as polls makes more sense.

    • fml says:

      07:23am | 12/12/12

      No one!

    • Sam says:

      07:33am | 12/12/12

      “A surprisingly small number of people, often barely over a thousand. The polls claim a margin of error of only a few per cent, but “

      So what you are saying is you do not understand error sampling and how it is extrapolated to large population sizes.

      Try starting here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sampling_error

    • Richard says:

      02:12pm | 12/12/12

      The author did point out that (most) polls assume that the sample has no bias when compared to the overall population. In reality you only get certain subsets of the population who will bother to respond to the poll.

    • Gregg says:

      07:33am | 12/12/12

      Maybe we should run a poll or something to find Xavier a girlfriend or at least some girls to give him a ring.

      But Xavier, do give Master Chef and the Pizza a big miss when you are putting stories together even if you are not going to get out more, just so as you do not tell us you would rather hear from some supposed expert so as to form an opinion straight after putting up
      ” The result is that the polls are no longer telling us what we think. They’re telling us what to think. “

      Is there a lot of difference between listening to what an alleged expert may have to say to being told what to think?

    • Bob from the bush says:

      03:52pm | 12/12/12

      Xavier has a girlfriend, she came in a box that had instructions, do not over inflate.LOL

    • PJ says:

      07:40am | 12/12/12

      LindsayTanners book said Labor was vision less, and was more concerned with polls and chasing votes than Governing the country.

      Certainly the loss of the Mining boom to Africa and elsewhere, the fall in our children’s education standards, zero surplus just record debt and the loss of control of our Borders to Criminal Gangs bares out Tanners assertions.

      The rushed compilation and release of the Asian Century White paper was meant to show Labor had vision actually, but it merely showed that Tanner was right. Besides, discovering Australia wasnt in Europe but resided in the Asia PAC, an area of high GDP growth and emerging markets, that was influenced by China, was hardly a visionary revelation but common knowledge since 2005.

      The Average Australia is starting to reject his recent diet of Bull that this Government has served and is now acutely aware of its failures.

      Oh yeah, this Government will care greatly, what the average Australian thinks.

    • G. Rinehart says:

      08:01am | 12/12/12

      Into my Weetbix. Crying.

    • PJ says:

      08:25am | 12/12/12

      At the risk of sounding egotistical. I thought this bit was the best. I hope the Punch will let me put it out there once more.

      The rushed compilation and release of the Asian Century White paper was meant to show Labor had vision actually, but it merely showed that Tanner was right. Besides, discovering Australia wasnt in Europe but resided in the Asia PAC, an area of high GDP growth and emerging markets, that was influenced by China, was hardly a visionary revelation but common knowledge since 2005.

      Funny as

    • acotrel says:

      08:56am | 12/12/12

      Which political party led Australia back into a civil relationship with China as the Vietrnam war ended ?

    • acotrel says:

      09:13am | 12/12/12

      ‘Certainly the loss of the Mining boom to Africa and elsewhere, the fall in our children’s education standards, zero surplus just record debt and the loss of control of our Borders to Criminal Gangs bares out Tanners assertions.’

      @PJ
      ‘All that glitters is not gold’
      What the miners take out of Africa is ten times what is donated to Africa by others as ‘foreign aid’.  Even the MRRT won’t provide as fair deal for the average Australia.
      The ‘dumbing down’ of the education system began in Victoria with the Bolte Liberal government and the tampering with the Matriculation exam to remove the perception that people have the right to attend university - the VCE was introduced.  It is extremely difficult to reverse that sort of cynicism. The pursuit if the surplus was a reponse t o LNP cries for belt tightening, and the IMF have warned of the risk of doing that during the current recession. Yes we have record debt, but the GFC actually happened, and relative to other countries our debt is small and manageable. Border control issues relative to asylum seekers is bullshit use of Hanson’s racist politics by the LNP.

    • Ravi says:

      07:54am | 12/12/12

      S’obvious, innit? Care in political circles is generated by group size multiplied by power. The less the power, the less the care. That is why the mentally ill can go f*** themselves as far as the government is concerned. Large group, very little power, because sick.

    • maria says:

      08:11am | 12/12/12

      Excellent article.

      WHY and why “So are all these public opinion polls meaningless?”

      A democracy is where a nation is ruled by its people, rather than one person or political partie or the mob who gets into power using lies and then doesn’t listen to public opinion.

      In a liberal democracy efforts are made to define and limit power, often by means of a written constitution. Checks and balances, such as the separation of the Parliament, senior government and judicial power, are instituted.

      After so many conventions what has happened to our constitution?

      Most representative systems deteriorate towards an oligarchy as it is here under the absolute power of the political parties in which the people are irrelevant and our system has become ;
      A GOVERNMENT IN WHICH THE PEOPLE ELECT THEIR DICTATORS .

      A democracy is a society in which the citizens are sovereign and control the government .

      Democracy might be a horrible system FOR SOME, but it’s better than anything else ,the people are given a direct say in their own affairs under Switzerland’s system of direct democracy, which has no parallel in any other country.

      Direct democracy is a way to check political power. It allows benevolent and enlightened citizens to oppose laws made by evil politicians.
      Direct democracy would stimulate government to do the job it was elected to do .....

      It doesn’t matter if the election is three years or three days away, we wouldn’ t have all the problems we have today created by a political class who are in essence a dictatorship who are cut off from real world, manipulate the truth, enrich themselves at the tax payers expense.

    • Stephen says:

      08:42am | 12/12/12

      Hear hear!!! I wonder if the politicians are hearing THIS message. And if they do, whats the betting they shrug their shoulders and with a condescending smirk, brand people who hold this belief as radicals or anarchists. One thing is certain, THEY won’t hold the same perspective, as they are products of their own propaganda and mind control.

      Thus, we can hardly expect them to make changes.

      But we need to break the power of parties, and their flunkies. We need to prevent governments making laws because whichever political group is in power thinks its a good idea. Or the Prime Dictator thinks its a good idea.

      I dont CARE what the Prime Minister thinks. I dont CARE what an elected official thinks.

      Its their responsibility to care what I think!!!

    • HC says:

      08:42am | 12/12/12

      Only problem with a direct democracy is that citizens are anything but enlightened and are certainly the opposite of benevolent.

      Ordinary people are almost without exception stupid, selfish, dishonest, ignorant, greedy and cruel.  You call politicians evil but fail to realise that they’re merely representatives and reflections of the larger society.

    • A Concerned Citizen says:

      08:51am | 12/12/12

      Pretty much this.
      The only REAL insight into public opinion would be a plebiscite- or an better yet, an outright referendum (and before you people start, referendums DO in fact mean public input into ANY area of policy- it’s simply that only in Australia has referendums been restricted to constitutional change only).

      Not to mention as far as direct democracy goes, were we to vote on a contentious issue tomorrow, governments would stop focusing so much on them in their point-scoring activities for the next 16 years to come, and would need to focus on any of the other issues that are affecting our country.
      Imagine how this would change the way we vote for governments too. If we were to vote for say, Gay Marriage tomorrow, and it became legal, we would never need to consider ‘Gay Marriage’ as criteria for who we vote for ever again because we already solved it and have since moved on to the next important issue, rather than spend the next decade using it as a football or self-promotion topic than never gets followed through (Turnbull) and the Christian Democrats would probably collapse too.

    • iansand says:

      09:07am | 12/12/12

      A form of direct democracy is a major reason why the richest state on the planet, California, is struggling financially.  People voting for their own interests are not necessarily voting for the interests of their country.

      Have a look for Proposition 13.

    • acotrel says:

      09:18am | 12/12/12

      ‘Ordinary people are almost without exception stupid, selfish, dishonest, ignorant, greedy and cruel. ‘

      And some tell big lies ! You must live in a very strange world.  My experience has been that most people will do you a good turn before a bad one. You make your own Kharma.

    • Jon says:

      09:22am | 12/12/12

      Well said, the older you get the more you realised that its not what the people want or think, it’s what the government wants and thinks.

      Our elected dictators spend most of the time deluding the public into believing that what the governments wants is in fact what the public wants.

    • Stephen T says:

      09:47am | 12/12/12

      @iansand: “People voting for their own interests are not necessarily voting for the interests of their country.”

      Truer words have never been spoken; everyone serves their own self interest at times, some more so than others. Sadly some will also vote based on their perception of self even if it is not in their best interest.

    • philip says:

      10:03am | 12/12/12

      if thats the case acotreI for aII of tony abbotts charity he does for the heII of it then he deserves to be in the highest office in the Iand whiIst ms GiIIard shouId be in gaoI.

    • acotrel says:

      10:05am | 12/12/12

      @Jon
      ’ the older you get the more you realised that its not what the people want or think, it’s what the government wants and thinks’

      Not the government - these people :
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yx4ROoYbZNs

    • St. Michael says:

      10:48am | 12/12/12

      I’m just glad you got through that entire post without saying the word “mafiacracy”, Maria.

    • Philosopher says:

      11:08am | 12/12/12

      HC, the more posts of yours I read, the more I can only admire!

    • A Concerned Citizen says:

      11:24am | 12/12/12

      @iansand.
      Then how do you explain SWITZERLAND, one of the most successful countries on the planet, with one of the most stable economies, wealthiest people, highest standard of living AND best environmental practices among the Western World?
      Oh, and also one of the countries with the shortest war records in the world?

      In fact, when North Sydney had Ted Mack, it flourished.

    • acotrel says:

      11:25am | 12/12/12

      @Phillip
      ‘if thats the case acotreI for aII of tony abbotts charity he does for the heII of it then he deserves to be in the highest office in the Iand whiIst ms GiIIard shouId be in gaoI. ‘

      Have you watched Mrs Bucket in ‘Keeping up appearances’ ?  Tony Abbott - Same thing ! But at least he’s got balls - we’ve all seen them poking out of his budgie smugglers. UGH ! How disgusting.

    • Sandra says:

      11:38am | 12/12/12

      The best comment so far to describe our system, a system cut off from real world, manipulate the truth, enrich themselves at the tax payers expense.

      @St. Michael

      How would you call our system after that comment and please don’t be shy?

    • philip says:

      12:14pm | 12/12/12

      acotreI some peopIe dont base what happens in reaI Iife to what happens in a tv show if you think that he does his charity works and voIunteering because he has an agenda whiIst doing that then you are soreIy deIuded, teII me one thing that giIIard has done voIunteer wise that is admirabIe?

    • St. Michael says:

      12:16pm | 12/12/12

      @ Sandra: Simply put, I’d call our system an apathocracy.

      That is: we get precisely the governments we deserve as the apathetic electors we are.  No conspiracy or closed shop required.  As Steve Jobs said, and which I’ve mentioned in the past: suggesting there’s a conspiracy is optimistic.  You can have a revolution, you can vote the bastards out.  But as you get older you realise that the media simply gives people exactly what they want, and governments only reflect exactly what people want.

      You guys are out here proclaiming the evils with the system.  It’d be a better idea to proclaim it to a slightly wider audience than the 20-odd keyboard jockeys who occupy the Hunch on a regular basis.  Or better yet, put your money where your mouth is and run for Parliament on these ideas and propose how it ought be changed.  And run with integrity, with a determination to do what is right for the country.

      That is the only way the situation will change.

      If those options are not available or appealing to you, then do the next best thing: quietly orient your affairs so as to be affected least by this system you hate.  Or ideally become a citizen of more than one flag, as some people do, so you can pick and choose what laws you will alllow to apply to you.  It’s what the rich have already done, and what they always do.

      Shit or get off the thunderbox, in short.

    • Ted says:

      01:08pm | 12/12/12

      @Sandra

      How would you call our system after that comment and please don’t be shy?
      Anything but not a democracy.

    • A Concerned Citizen says:

      01:27pm | 12/12/12

      St Michael- what you said is very true; You can easily get several thousands of people who can agree on this in a forum but it means little in a nation of 21+ Million.

      The very least people can do is to STOP voting for political parties that have been caught out doing the wrong thing at the very least.
      So forget Liberal, Labor, the Nationals, Democrats, Christian Democrats, Shooters and Fishers, the Builders.
      If you want some accountability, vote for other parties in the senate; research your electorate and who runs there, your independents, and definitely consider groups like the “Save Our Suburbs/Save Our State” party, who campaign for political transparency.
      And if any of the candidates your support turn out to be rubbish, simply vote for someone else next time.

      And don’t just do it- tell OTHER people what you are doing too if the conversation comes up. Word and mouth in the ‘real world’ IS enough to make some change.

    • Sandra says:

      02:49pm | 12/12/12

      @St. Michael
      I’d call our system an apathocracy     WHY?

      The day we will teach in our schools-colleges and Univ why do we vote and why do we have a constitution and what is the role of the constitution we may start to see some light at the end of the tunnel.  For responsible government to be effective, citizens must feel they are connected to government and the question is are we connected ?

      Or better yet, put your money where your mouth is and run for Parliament on these ideas and propose how it ought be changed.

      What are waiting for to stop the apathocracy ....
      Do you have the money to do it?

      Didn’t Pauline Hanson try?..........
      Who really cares what average Australians think?

      If you are really concerned about our chronic trade and current account deficit, a country without border etc….. why don’t you put your money where your mouth is ?

      Quack quack quack

    • Stephen T says:

      03:21pm | 12/12/12

      @A Concerned Citizen:  “Oh, and also one of the countries with the shortest war records in the world?”

      Sorry to disillusion you but Swiss soldiers drawn from the cantons of Switzerland gained a reputation as mercenaries throughout Europe, by the fifteenth century the Swiss had become particularly valued as soldiers-for-hire, this continued through to until the late 17th Century.  Then you have the civil war in 1847 that lead to the formation of Switzerland as a federal state.

      As to the rest of your comment, Switzerland’s economic success is in large part a result of not suffering loss of infrastructure or resource’s during WWII.  Switzerland’s usefulness to the Germans was why it was not invaded, the Swiss made many useful weapon components for the Axis powers during WWII and their neutrality ensured that their factories were not bombed every night. The Swiss National bank also bought gold from the Reichsbank, the Reichsbank was given Swiss francs in exchange, and used them to buy cobalt, nickel and tungsten from the other “neutral” countries.

      No European country remained truly neutral during WWII, the Swiss are now coming to terms with this part of their history.  I would ask that you please read the Independent Commission of Experts Switzerland - World War II, final report, before you cite Switzerland’s success as a reason to remodel our system of government.

    • St. Michael says:

      03:50pm | 12/12/12

      “If you are really concerned about our chronic trade and current account deficit, a country without border etc….. why don’t you put your money where your mouth is ?

      Quack quack quack “

      Oh dearie me, Sandra Dee.  Have you really nothing better than “No you” as a response?

    • iansand says:

      03:53pm | 12/12/12

      A Concerned Citizen - I have no explanation for Switzerland that does not involve melted cheese, cowbells, girls called Heidi and cows with legs on one side being shorter than the legs on the other (it’s because they live on the sides of mountains) but it would be a country that only gave women the vote in 1971.  A shining example of stuff.

      But ,as I was making a point specifically about California’s impoverishment being directly attributable to a citizen initiated referendum, how do you explain California? 

      I think we have another of them thar pesky non sequiturs

    • Jack says:

      04:00pm | 12/12/12

      @HC
      Who is imposing phony laws with loopholes as big as the country the stupid, selfish, dishonest, ignorant, greedy and cruel Ordinary people or our so-called servants of the people who are refusing to rectify them?

      @iansand
      California, is struggling financially no it is the whole of America who is struggling under their system of plutocracy and what about Europe under their representative democracy bankrupted while Switzerland is in good health.
      What about the communist China???????

      What’s wrong with you folks?

    • St. Michael says:

      04:36pm | 12/12/12

      @ iansand: your post needs more cowbell.

    • expat says:

      05:10pm | 12/12/12

      Errm Jack you do realise for a good part of the last century Switzerland was also well known as a tax haven don’t you?

      You attract an awful lot of wealth as a tax haven, that wealth although not earning the country a great deal of revenue from taxation, certainly made up for it with trickle down wealth effects.

      The smallest countries are by far the smartest countries, they have to innovate to generate wealth and investment, they cannot just rely on natural resources and agriculture. The problem is that the far left have to go an ruin a good thing, Switzerland has been in demise for the last decade, since more transparency was applied to banking, people have been taking their money elsewhere. It will be in the same situation as spain is in within the not too distant future.

    • A Concerned Citizen says:

      06:12pm | 12/12/12

      @iansand- actually there’s a logical explanation for the sexist voting policy in Switzerland. They never went to war during the 20th century, thus didn’t have a shortage of workers and were forced to grudgingly accept women as having any rights whatsoever at a much earlier time like ourselves. Of course, now they’ve granted equal voting rights today anyway, so there is not much to pin on them these days.
      So if in nowadays we have Switzerland as a clear success of direct-democracy, and California as a failure-story, what does this mean? Maybe the Swiss voters are simply more politically-engaged? If that’s the case, then Direct-Democracy isn’t to blame, as no political system is going to cure a problem with the attitudes of the citizens.

      @Stephen T
      “Neutral” means a country doesn’t take sides in a war; that’s it. That does not mean they are required to sever all contact whatsoever from the outside world until all conflicts blow over. They are certainly entitled to trade with whoever they like, including OUR enemies, as again, they aren’t enemies of anyone else themselves. Thus whoever they permitted their companies to do their banking with or their factories to sell parts to is irrelevant.

      And you’ve drawn a strange deduction by implicating a country into a conflict simply because some of its expats serve as mercenaries for foreign powers. By that logic, Australia had also sided with the Taliban in the war in Afghanistan because David Hicks was an Australian expat.

    • A Concerned Citizen says:

      03:10pm | 12/12/12

      Didn’t Churchill say that after getting voted out of office though?
      So really, this quote isn’t actually a principled statement, but nothing more than a whinging parting-remark by a sore loser getting the boot.

      Of course, Churchill also had quite a few very repugnant viewpoints, so he’s hardly a credible source for wisdom.

    • My Space says:

      03:28pm | 12/12/12

      Do yourself a favour ..... watch “To Sir with Love” and you will realise the standard of education in England after the time of that quote.

    • AdamC says:

      08:58am | 12/12/12

      “Where do these numbers come from? A surprisingly small number of people, often barely over a thousand.”

      Actually, 1000+ people is a pretty solid sample size. There is a steeply dimionishing statistical benefit from including more people in surveys after a certain sample size. And the accuracy of a survey is not related to the size of the overall population, but the sample size aone. But don’t mind me, I almost failed first year business statistics. (And came even closer in second year!)

      The thing about ordinary people is that they decide elections in our democracy. Actually, about 15% of ordinary people, in particular geographical areas, do. So what this relatively small group of aggressively odinary people think is pretty important to our political leaders.

      BTW, in my experience, most people who rail against the bogan dictatorship of outer suburban swing voters are no less closed-minded than said bogan (electoral) swingers. They just get their received wisdom from Barrie Cassidy and the local ABC talk radio stations, rather than from ‘shock jocks’ or tabloid newspapers. So I find the intellectual snobbery of the ‘chattering class’ a bit of a turn off myself.

    • Economist says:

      11:20am | 12/12/12

      I have to say @AdamC I’m a little bemused by this mainly because of your opinion of the education of these very Australians. You deride intellect yet demand education results improve, when in all likelihood it is these very people that contribute to the ‘dumbing down’ because of there lack of interest in education.

    • AdamC says:

      12:31pm | 12/12/12

      Economist, I guess I am in favour of intelligence, but not intellectual snobbery. They are not actually the same thing, after all.

      BTW, I wasn’t displaying a great deal of intelligence with all the typos in that comment. I cringed when I saw it.

    • Economist says:

      01:38pm | 12/12/12

      fair point wink

    • Ben says:

      06:45pm | 12/12/12

      AdamC makes a fair point. I’ve lived in an inner city area for some years now, and I grow tired of the insufferable self-righteousness and group think that prevail. Despite being educated and espousing egalitarianism and tolerance for all, many of these people have no hesitation in sneering at so-called bogans and their habits. In my opinion they can’t stand the fact that the great unwashed actually think for themselves and exercise their democratic rights - outrageous!

    • marley says:

      09:22am | 12/12/12

      The author is concerned that polls no longer tell us what we think, but what to think.  I’m just wondering why polls today are so much more insidious than polls 50 years ago, or even 20 years ago.  They’re generally more accurate than older versions, but other than that, have changed little in their nature in a half century or more.  So why are they suddenly a threat?

      If the author wants analysis, there’s plenty of it out there. If he doesn’t like the Oz or the AFR, he can look at the Age or the SMH.  The mainstream commercial channels don’t provide enough analysis?  How about the ABC or the BBC?  Al Jazeera, the Guardian, Crikey, and innumberable blogsites, reputable or otherwise, on economics, politics, human rights and the like, all available at the touch of a mouse.

      If the author is too lazy to avail himself of all the information that he has access to,  then he can hardly blame the polls for it.  He needs to look to himself.  Because no, the polls don’t tell him what to think.

    • Fed Up says:

      09:31am | 12/12/12

      Well the average Joe doesn’t have to look at a poll to know Labor under Ju-liar Gillard suck at everything they do.
      I mean its there in black and white…the pink batts,the mining tax,border protection and now we learn that after 5 yrs and millions of dollars spent on education our kids are dumber.
      The average Joe doesn’t care about gay marriage or saving the whale, he’s more concerned how he will either spend his middle class welfare on a holiday or wish he was getting more low income assistance to pay his electricity bill.
      He’s engrained… calling German motor vehicles “poofta mobiles”,loves to have a beer and intro himself by saying “howz it gowing mate”
      He will vote for anyone that doesn’t come across as a wanker and appears to walk a straight line….politics is for the politicians….the average Joe needs work and to be paid adequatley for the work.He does not need to be screwed every 5 minutes with cost of living increases.He does not need to hear that his tax dollars are being continually wasted/rorted by politicians/Gov sector.

    • acotrel says:

      09:34am | 12/12/12

      Checking out the odds at the bookies might be a more accurate way than polling,  to assess which party is ahead in the politics race. At least the bookie is usually only interested in maximising his own monetary return rather than manipulating the result, unless the two easily coincide .

    • St. Michael says:

      10:45am | 12/12/12

      For one bright, shining moment I agree with you, aco.  Historically the bookies have picked Federal elections a hell of a lot better than the media or the pollsters do.  And bookies don’t have a lot of control over elections, mostly because they can’t bribe someone to inject Julia Gillard with ketamine.

      Although…given her performance to date…

    • acotrel says:

      11:30am | 12/12/12

      Nobody nees to inject her with anything to fix the election,  there is enough LNP poison around to bring her down before she reaches the winning post, unless she lashes out with another well directed kick to Abbott’s misogynist bum

    • St. Michael says:

      12:17pm | 12/12/12

      As long as she does it with those fake carbon-tax painted hooves, I’ll be entertained.

    • My Space says:

      03:24pm | 12/12/12

      Oh please Acotrel ...... Labor is Toxic.

    • expat says:

      05:58pm | 12/12/12

      @ $3.50 for the ALP and $1.22 for the NLP. Not looking good for you acotrel..

    • Stormy Weather says:

      09:53am | 12/12/12

      There is always expert opinion available but you have to know where to look for it and mainstream media may only give you a snippet if anything at all. Sometimes, I think people are too quick to dismiss this opinion though if it’s too confrontational or goes against their own ideals.

      It appears Government places higher value in polls than it does it’s own expert committees and MP’s who it often ignores when implementing policies in favour of populism and the soft vote.

      Valuing the results of political polls is as futile as assessing your own personal worth via the amount of likes you get on facebook.
      The average person, Billy Bloggs or Joe Blow, does not exist just like most of those facebook “friends”.
      Most of the time people only ever really care about their own predicament, their own agenda.
      I think it’s important for all to participate in democracy and for everyone to be heard but there is a lot of ignorance and stupidity. Surely one persons sound opinion is worth a thousand bigoted views?

      I agree that the only important poll will be one practiced by the people come election day, for better or for worse.

    • Achmed says:

      10:08am | 12/12/12

      Polls dont influence me.  I find them an amusing little distraction.

      When I vote I’ll look at the polices of each party.  Try to gauge how much they really believe in those policies or are they just popularist rhetoric.  Make an assessment of the honesty in their costings. 

      Its getting harder.  There is more interest in being PM than the future of Australia.  There are a few things that there should be bipartisan agreement , we can’t afford the change everytime we change Govt.
      Health, education, asylum seekers, infrastructure priorities, “climate change”.  We need mature people at the top, those who dont oppose just because the other side said it.

    • Bill OTS says:

      10:10am | 12/12/12

      It’s not all about the polls - they have been around forever but are indeed getting more attention than they deserve. It’s more about the 15 second media grabs that are used influence the public. And it all started with John Winston Howard…

    • Al says:

      10:24am | 12/12/12

      Bill OTS - sorry to disillusion you but the whole ‘media grabs that are used to influence the public’ existed LONG before Howard, one of the 1st to use visual media to do so was Hitler.

    • Bill OTS says:

      01:48pm | 12/12/12

      @ Al: I concede your point. I guess I should clarify that I meant that all the spin in Australia started in earnest with JWH. No disillusion with that.

    • Bob says:

      10:13am | 12/12/12

      Is 5 years too long?  Minimum of 3?  Imagine what may have been achieved with a little cross-partisan discussion and compromise these last 2 years without the hindrance of Abbott thinking he could tear the place down. 

      But then again, imagine another 2-3 years of Slipper, Thompson, Oakeshott, Windsor, Katter et al.

      Either way, we’d get a few years respite from the polls (maybe).

    • Michael S says:

      10:32am | 12/12/12

      Five years is way too long. After our experience with the Iemma/Rees/Kenneally triumvirate, even four years is too long.

    • Achmed says:

      10:39am | 12/12/12

      Another 2-3 years of Abbott’s one line rants that pass as policy, his and Hockey’s hypocracy on the economy and more pictures of Abbott in budgie smugglers…..

    • Leigh says:

      10:31am | 12/12/12

      Who really cares what average Australians think?

      Well, let’s cut the possibilities down by facing the fact that it is certainly not Australian politicians.

      With compulsory voting making them to lazy, they know that we will vote for one side or the other, and in government or out of it, they still pull in a screw and perks that they couldn’t earn if they had a real job.

      Think about it. No matter what side you are on, all you have to do is get preselected after a few years as a staffer and crawler, then get elected. You can be a real no-hoper, because people vote for the party; not the man/woman, who is just a mouth piece for the party. He or she does NOT represent you; he/she represents the party TO you.

      Or, if you don’t crawl enough, you can always get a day job and get into local government, turn up night meetings, and get “allowances” far higher than the average person actually earns in a productive occupation.

      There is no point in asking who listens to us when we know that the only people who should listen and who are capable of doing anything for us and the country definitely do not listen.

      Polls are crap. And politicians always tell us that they don’t take any notice of them anyway. Neither should we.

    • Ted says:

      01:20pm | 12/12/12

      local government ??????
      The Australian Constitution DOES NOT recognise “local government?.

      Attempts by the “government” to alter the constitution to recognize „local government? have failed TWICE. The last Referendum was held on the 3rd of September 1988. 67% of the population REJECTED the proposal for recognition of a third tier of “government”, namely, local “councils”.

      The result of any Referendum is LAW.
      Despite that clear unmistakable affirmation of the
      Constitution by the people of Australia IN ALL STATES, the “government” (Hawke) introduced the
      „Local Government Act 1989” (1993 in some states)
      Fact is the constitution is irrelevant as we all are after each election.

    • Leigh says:

      02:34pm | 12/12/12

      Ted,
      Yes, I know all about the the Constitution and Local Government. I don’t know what your point is though. It’s a good lurk for people who fail to get into state or federal politics; they are well compensated for very little effort.

      Many state and federal politicians start out in Local Government. It is recognised as the third layer of goverment even though it is not recognised in the constitution. You pay for it just as you pay for federal and state governments. But as I said, I don’t get your point at all; I can’t see any reason for your post.

    • Cat says:

      10:34am | 12/12/12

      Ah right polls - and lies and statistics. First up - no I have never been asked. Second, if I was I would avoid answering if I could. Third, if I had to answer, I would lie. Any sensible person would do the second or third.
      Why? Because most polls are designed to get the answer the pollster has been asked to get.  The questions are very carefully worded to suggest answers or the option you want is not there. Take one about the “preferred” Prime Minister. You are being told very subtly that you do prefer one over the other (and perhaps you do) but, if you do not, then there is often no other option. “Undecided”? No, it is not really the same thing. Refused to answer? Usually not included in the results - and definitely not the same as “undecided”.
      Ar very best polls might, but only might, give a clue to what people think about issues but the reality is that most of them are used to manipulate the way we think. The real research goes on elsewhere and in other ways.

    • simply kev says:

      10:56am | 12/12/12

      the worry i have is that Newspoll is owned by the same people that own the Australian paper and they clearly have a coalition bias, especially one or two of their columnists, Dennis and Janet, who sound obssessed with regime change, Polls do influence people no doubt but i have never answered a poll ever and im old, lets talk about POLICY, like in you know, what services are to be cut and how much to spend of defence, stuff like that ! please

    • ramases says:

      11:24am | 12/12/12

      If anybody thinks that politicians give a damn about what the public think they need look no further than this Government. Its plain to see that the average Australian no longer has a voice as the Unions and Labor dominate what we do and say.
        There are lies, damned lies and polls and the only good thing about polls is the look on politicians faces when a negative poll comes out and their chirping that polls mean nothing, hahahahahaha.

    • James says:

      01:45pm | 12/12/12

      You don’t think what we think is related to how we vote ? Governments seem to have a vague interest in that.

    • ramases says:

      02:45pm | 12/12/12

      Most polls are taken over a 1000 person call out, the questions are usually couched in such a way that the answer is a forgone conclusion and that my friend is a drop in the bucket of the number of people who have to vote. Sit around a table with friends and neighbours and you will get the real answer as they have nothing to hide and will vent their spleen on just about any subject We had a block party the other day and out of the 50 people who stayed for after party drinks the consensus was that the best thing for Australia was for Julia Gillard to go overseas and not come back. Now that was 100% of the people there which is better than the average yes answer taken in phone polls.
        What we think is related to how we vote but to take 1000 people get a positive answer to a loaded question and then publish is is no way of judging what people really think.

    • James says:

      04:12pm | 12/12/12

      So 50 friends are better than 1000 random people? I can see now why the Republicans were so surprised when Romney’s “landslide victory” turned out to be anything but. Their consensus was that the best thing for America was for President Obama to go overseas and not come back.

      So Governments seem to have a vague interest in how we vote but not in what we think because what we think is not what we really think, even though what we think is related to how we vote.

    • Richard says:

      02:17pm | 12/12/12

      This is the most accurate sentence in the whole article:
      Instead of asking ourselves, ‘Is this policy a good idea?’ Now all we’re asking is, ‘Do other people think it’s a good idea? They do? Well that’s good enough for me. Back to Masterchef and my home delivered pizza.
      People want to appear informed about and engaged with complex issues, but when it comes to having a real opinion or idea are found to be shallow and crusty.

    • James Darby says:

      02:45pm | 12/12/12

      Every Small Business owner is aware that each year the crop of school leavers is less employable than the previous year. Uni-leavers are generally worse having been exposed to socialist “teachers” for a longer period. The ex Uni-Student is even more inclined, than a school leaver,  in answer to the question “What is the aim of a business?” ; to reply “The aim of a business is to provide a service to the public.”
      Instead of Australia leading the world in educating future citizens to read, write and understand mathematics we come in as rated in the early 20’s. Kids are not taught maths as mathematics is the basis of truth, logic and reason.  The educators know that future Labor/Greens voters must not have any of those qualities in order to be a Labor/Greens voter so the school leaver has no concept of how to work out 10% of any figure.
      To-days new prospective employee is collectivised, illiterate and cursed with a mindset of equality and dammed with the negated persona of an apologist. Intent and educated only on ‘entitlements’  the new staff rarely exhibits any understanding of their responsibility for profitability.
      Adam Smith wrote “It is the teacher who learns” and as the educators teach only socialism and socialist lies and deception so of course the majority of teachers have self cursed themselves.  Of course the school teacher has chosen a vocation where there is incredible security of tenure, non-accountability for productivity, maximum down time and an average income with small chance of increase.
      The responsibility for education must be returned to the States so that various States can compete for students. Children must be taught they are unique, not equal, individual not collectivised and in control of their own future destiny. I would give tax concessions or bonuses to school teachers who produce high income earners and self employed citizens.
      Australia must develop a capitalist education system that prepares it’s youth for home ownership, business ownership and self responsibility.  Everything that a Greens/Labor voter is not.
      James Darby
      121212

    • Ted says:

      04:40pm | 12/12/12

      In today’s world it is the communist China who is the ruler..
      Australia must develop a communist education system that prepares it’s youth to folow the new leader.

    • George says:

      05:00pm | 12/12/12

      So what happened during the 12 years of Howard Liberal Govt???? Or the years of state Liberal Govts?  The states already have responsibility for education, Howard stuck his nose to ensure the “right"schools got extra funding from the Federal Govt.
      It was Labor under Gough Whitlam that made University free to all, what did the Liberals do to try to encourage those other than their ‘silver spoon/born to rule’cronies to get further education.

    • expat says:

      06:08pm | 12/12/12

      Could not agree more, exposing students to 12+ years of socialist ideas in schools is a significant problem.

    • Swamp Thing says:

      03:28pm | 12/12/12

      “Who really cares what average Australians think?”
      Nobody, nobody at all.

    • James Darby says:

      04:06pm | 12/12/12

      I care Swamp Thing. And I wonder why you write such a thing?

    • Ted says:

      04:43pm | 12/12/12

      @James Darby
      than you must be the only one.

 

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