Newspoll and AC Nielsen results out today provide a nice little introduction for Iron Mark’s “10 reasons why the idealistic should forget about organised politics” lecture this evening at Melbourne University. And the static from The Latham Diaries probably mean we should dismiss their content altogether – or most of it.

Nielsen asks two gratuitously topical questions, which find that 73 per cent of voters disagree with Latham’s indictment of Labor as “beyond repair” and 64 per cent don’t believe Kim Beazley was unfit for high office. They add “even Coalition voters disagreed with Mr Latham’s harsh assessment of Mr Beazley’s character — nearly six out of 10 rejected the assertion that the Opposition Leader is unfit for high office”.

Fine, but what does it all mean to the party hardheads? Back in June 2003, when Simon Crean was leader, Wayne Swan said “Labor’s vote is about to be decimated nationally and I can’t stand by and see that happen. It’s not just a wipe-out. I think we’re heading for train wreck and someone has to put their foot on the brake.”

Newspoll had the parties’ primary votes with Labor on 37 per cent, the Coalition 43 per cent and Crean’s approval rating at 25. Today’s Newspoll has Labor on 34, the Government on 44 and the Bomber’s approval rating 33. All this after Telstra – which has to be the big political issue of the last fortnight, despite the commentariat’s obsession with The Latham Diaries.

Perhaps Iron Mark’s right.

Peter Fray

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