The emails are still flooding in as people either celebrate or try to come to terms with the election result:

Complaint of bias for Crikey coverage

This is my third email complaining about the ever increasing bias of your organisation. I must acknowledge that it is always possible that my bias the other way renders me super sensitive to the views expressed from your organisation; however it seems to me that over the years that I have been a subscriber and of later times, an alertee only, the attitudes have become increasingly ALP centric. In my view the Crikey contributions offered on television are equally skewed.

I have no doubt that you still intend to be non-bias; however I feel that it is slipping away from you. I know for a fact that it has affected your subscriptions (even if that is again only from the circle I am involved in. I cannot be 100% certain that it is not just our view).

I would be interested in receiving a response this time.


A Lefty’s Lament

I spent yesterday wandering the streets in a daze. Everywhere I looked: Howard Voters. They were whispering things behind my back. I thought sometimes I could make it out: “Loser… Loser”.

I’d turn around to catch them but they’d put on their defiant public transport face. The ‘yeah I voted Howard’ grim set of the jaw, goading me, just hankering me to make the first move, knowing that the crowd would be on their side, and would pulverise me.

Everywhere I looked. The businessman (of course), the student, the road worker, even the hobo on the street who’d pissed his pants, all voted Howard, and all were saying. Get lost, you effete, cultural lefty. You chardonnay quaffing phoney. You think we care about your fancy ideas; your compassion. Compassion is for losers who wanna get off the treadmill. We paid good money for this high tech treadmill, and no bastard is going to turn it off before I’ve reached the end.

I’m out of touch. I’m ostracised.

I’m toying now with the idea of selling out. I don’t know where to start. Should I buy a small business, a mobile phone store? I hear some guy made $200 Million from that, maybe that’d make me feel better. Should I just go all the way and sign-up at the local Hillsong church, learn to speak in tongues?

Should I sell up in this trendy bayside suburb and buy up big in the mortgage belt? Do I get a job in a quarry? Will that help? Will that make me more Australian?

I want Howard now to do his worst. I want him to control the senate – do the Unions over good and proper, while the workers stand to one side and cheer him on. I want a few pre-emptive strikes in the neighbourhood just to underscore who’s boss. I want Rupert Murdoch to own all the media and I want to ditch the ABC who’ve filled my head with all this soft stuff. I want cable TV with 24 hour sport.

This is working. This feels good.

OK, I want to scrap Medicare. I want Tax cuts. I want a Nuclear waste-dump in your backyard. I want to be on reality TV. I want a spa-bath, and a BMW, and I want the Abos in the local park cleared out. Most of all I want respect, and if I can’t earn it. Well I’m bloody well going to buy it

Johnny.. I’m all yours. Come and take me!

Rex Ringschott – Port Melbourne

Voting for the Greens

One factor that may have kept the Green’s federal vote lower than expected was the return to the fold of Labor voters who felt this election was just too important to allow for a protest, even one that would probably ultimately deliver a vote to Labor. In 2001 my wife and I voted Greens because we were disgusted by Labor’s failure to take a strong stand on the refugee question – in fact, their failure to take a strong stand on any question at all. We assumed our votes would ultimately trickle down to Labor, but wanted Kimbo and his fellow fluffy toys to realise they couldn’t take their supporters for granted. This time, scared stiff of the prospect of another three years of Howard lies, corruption, bad policies and extraordinary arrogance made possible by a total lack of critical scrutiny by the mainstream media, we voted the ALP ticket in both houses. We have a dozen acquaintances who made the same decision. It didn’t help Labor enough, but it may have hurt the Greens a little.

Peter Best

Why the Greens fell short

While I am sure the Greens did not do as well as they were hoping your analysis misses an important point. Over the last few elections, Australia wide, the general public has voted much more conservatively at a federal level than at state elections. People decide on who to vote for different reasons at the different levels of government and with a major swing away from the left I don’t think the results are as bad as you make out. Some 2001 Federal vs 2004 Federal analysis of the Green vote would be much more enlightening.

Also in the most recent Victorian state election the greens benefited from both sides as we had an appalling opposition and everyone knew Bracks was a shoe in so both Labor and Liberal people who weren’t happy with their parties could vote greens without feeling like it was going to matter at all. With the way Bracksy has been acting and little improvement on the Liberal front the look for an even higher Green vote at the next Victorian election.


Stealing the Green vote in WA

Well, I was a Greens area co-ordinator for 4 booths in the marginal seat of Stirling. In previous elections we have always managed to “played by the rules” as it were, but not this time round. There was a lot of animosity and pure desperation sweating out of both major parties. Very ugly. In two of the booths the Libs were thrusting HTV’s in the faces of elderly ladies struggling to make it up the ramp with their walking cane in one hand and desperately gripping the arm of a relative for dear life, in the other.

Then of course there were ones dressing up incognito in “hip” clothing (no hint of a lib cap, shirt or badge), handing out green (pro liberal) postcards and fobbing them off as green how to votes while saying -“green not labor!!”. I was justifiably furious by the end of it. In hindsight I should have retrieved their names and filed legal charges against them, which is what has already happened in one WA electorate so far…

So don’t worry Sydney, you were not alone..

-WA Greens Volunteer

Lennon not responsible for Tassie Labor loss

Tasmania’s Paul Lennon, rather subdued during the days leading into the election, has found his voice once again.

He categorically denies to be responsible for the loss of the Tasmanian Labor seats of Bass and Braddon and states he feels quite confident, he could have changed Mark Latham’s mind on forestry, if Labor had won the election.

Such a win would have been based on Mark Latham’s policies, not those of Paul Lennon, who obviously believes, the principles of the Federal Opposition Leader to resemble his own.

Seven years ago, Paul Lennon was instrumental in the creation of a RFA, that changed its face, contents and meaning, once it was signed to become the mother of all Tasmanian controversies, including the above.

The concept of integrity is another rare and endangered species in the Tasmanian forestry issue. I suspect it may be extinct!


Putting the people on plastic

If, as seems likely, last weeks election result had a lot to do with interest rates perceptions and fears, then a reasonable question might relate to what preparations our insidiously, cleverly, conniving Prime Minister has made to set the scene.

In actual fact JH would refute any suggestion that he has done anything to promote consumer debt, and he would be absolutely correct in saying that (would hardly have to split a hair) because the governments crime here is one of failing to take any steps to protect consumers from avarice and usury.

I suppose that each and every person is responsible for their own debt – their own level of greed – but I am cynical enough to believe that the Howard Government has deliberately allowed to develop, a situation where a rapidly increasing number of Australian consumers are living on debt, and very often credit card debt, where interest rates are doubly frightening.

So perhaps a good move for anyone interested in winning any coming election would be a really solid policy development towards reigning in the avarice and usury of the banks in relation to consumer debt (credit).

Tony O’Brien

Poll predictions

There is no doubt that he polls got it wrong in their predictions of the election outcome. By comparison Centrebet got it spot on! So what went wrong with the polls?

Polls are about sampling. From sampling theory we know that there are two types of error – random error and bias. Random error occurs because a sample is a sample; it is not the whole sample. If I have a bag of a hundred marbles which are either black or white and I draw out ten marbles – the sample – and discover I have five white and five black marbles what can I say about the original hundred marbles – that is the total population? The only thin I can say with certainty is that the number of white marbles is between five and ninety five, although I can infer that the number is closer to fifty but with some attendant level of uncertainty. Even if the bag originally contained fifty of each colour I might still draw out a sample containing ten of one colour. This is the whole process of random selection.

Bias is a different thing entirely. Bias is where for some reason or another a mable of one colour is more likely to be drawn out than a marble of another colour. Perhaps the black marbles are bigger, or they are bubber as opposed to glass and are easier to grab. In these cases black marbles will be over-represented in the sample. Perhaps you have a sight deficiency which causes you to see some white marbles as being black. In this case even though the sample is unbiassed the reported result is not.

Returning now to polling! In the past it was generally recognised that phone polls were biassed, since phone ownership correlated strongly with affluence which correlated with conservative politics. This is much less so now. However I would like to propose another source of bias – untruthful responses by the sampled individuals. Where a Government is very much on the nose, but where an individual may think that they personally may be better of under that Government, they are likely to deny their true voting intention. Perhaps this contributed to the large number of Undecided responses. Sampled individuals who fully intend to vote for an on-the-nose Government may not like to admit it – even to a complete stranger at the end of the phone. Some people may even delude themselves they intend to vote one way, but self-interest and the hip pocket nerve cuts in at the polling booth.


Public servants and the new era

Would be interested to hear what others thought will happen to the Public Service under Howard’s fourth term. I suspect many were hanging on hoping for changes to the way the Service had been politicised. Will Howard find it harder to stop leaks? Will quiet resistance mean it’s not easy to implement policy as the victors may think?

John Held

The votes that don’t count

Read with interest Craig Rowley’s article of 12 October about informal voting around the country. Could the fact that the ten seats with the highest level of informal voting were all in NSW be a result of NSW State elections using optional preferential voting (where every box does not have to be numbered)? Maybe voters think they can just number the first few candidates in Federal elections, as per the State.

Ryan in Perth

The people have voted

Mr Lygo complains of an unfriendly media. Doesn’t his previous candidacy for the Greens even hint at his bias?

Iain, stop whinging. The beauty of democracy is that the people have voted, and you’re outnumbered. The reflection in preferences is that we’d rather a conservative, relatively inexperienced Family First senator much sooner than an extreme leftist like the Greens offer. Deal with it.

Get used to the fact that you represent some, but not all, and we discover the people’s opinion on election day.

It’s only because of the quality of our democracy that whingers like you get their say in the press.

And Family First haven’t said they oppose homosexuals per se, just legislation that redefines an age old, sacred institution to bow to the wishes of a minority in a minority: so stop judging them as homophobic, because you’re proving hypocritical.


Flogging the dead (Labor) horse

Well, after Saturday, if flogging the bloody thing is the only way to make me feel better, I’ll flay away with gusto. I liked Graham Edwards’s spray this morning – it’s what I’ve thought after the last two defeats but, being a mere Labor supporter/voter and not a paid up union or factional hack, why would I bother saying it? Waste of breath, deaf ears etc. In fact I once ran into Christine Wallace (during the height of one of those tedious leadership challenges or other) and suggested to her that the ALP could do worse than have Edwards as leader (Howard v a no-legged, wheel-chair bound veteran on the subject of war and terror would have been something to behold). This was a joke (with a semi-serious purpose) but she, being what she is, just stared at me as if I were a not very bright yokel. Two problems right there: 1. no sense of humour 2. no ability to see/ hear anything beyond the bunker. Sigh.

Edwards was reluctant to name names. Not me. Here’s a start:

Conroy, Carr, Evans (all after Faulkner’s job. What a joke) Bishop, Collins (I couldn’t believe the preferential contortions designed to protect her; she’s a deeply untalented and unpleasant waste of space. Actually you could say that about a lot of them), Mackay, Melham, Ferguson X 2, Hoare, Irwin, Sawford, George ….

Oh, what’s the point. To go on would be an invitation to wrist-slashing. You just know that these losers are going to sit about polishing their bums at the expense of the taxpayer until their super is at its ripest. Not to mention that any really serious list would just about denude the opposition seats. I’ve depressed myself too much to go on …… Except to ask: is a vote for the ALP now a wasted vote?

Disgusted of Canberra.


Further to my earlier rant, I’ve just coined a new word to describe people like Jennie George and the Ferguson horrors: hacktional appointments. The sooner the ALP gets rid of this form of self-generation, the sooner it will be a viable option again.

Still disgusted of Canberra