As noted last week, Nick Minchin used an article in the new Liberal Party journal Looking Forwardto give a wake-up call to the Liberal Party. As he correctly pointed
out, “for Labor to win a majority of the two-party preferred vote in
2007 they need a swing of 2.74%.”

But not everyone was as careful in their choice of words, and Minchin’s remark has been widely misreported. Michelle Grattan,
for example, yesterday conveyed it as “For the ALP to win it needs a
two-party swing of 2.74 per cent.” But that’s not true, and it should
be nipped in the bud before it really takes hold. The uniform swing
needed to win is 4.3%; still not out of reach, but a much bigger task.

Also at the weekend, a new benchmark in electoral modesty was set in comment on the legislative elections in Bulgaria: “We have won the elections,” said Socialist deputy leader Rumen Petkov. “But the results are not satisfactory.”

Peter Fray

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