After enduring a weekend of frenzied journalistic digging and pontificating, Kevin Rudd acquitted himself well on the 7.30 Report yesterday evening. The kids said “he’s telling the truth” and Henry could spot no beads of sweat.

Henry Thornton thinks that the Burke Affair is terribly important, however an admittedly more seasoned political commentator, pollster Gary Morgan, believes that corruption is part and parcel of Australian politics.

“Few, if any, electors would change their vote because Kevin Rudd met Brian Burke, even if he did discuss his leadership ambition – politicians are always promoting their leadership qualities, and most, at least at some stage, want to be Prime Minister. Unfortunately, the electorate has little regard for politicians.”

A Morgan Poll published in late 2005 found only 15% of Australians view Federal Members of Parliament as having high or very high standards of ethics and honesty.

Indeed, in his paper “Now there’s no corruption in Indonesia, Australia must be next“, presented in June, 1998, Morgan asserted that Australia needed a clearly articulated vision of the future, which includes the aim to “fix corruption in Government – Federal, State and Local”.

In a paper presented to CEDA two weeks ago, Morgan stated that “cronyism, corruption and misinformation are greater than ever. The electorate has lived through the AWB scandal and the associated finger-pointing cover-ups and the heavily controlled Cole enquiry with its constrained scope and political control.

“The electorate has seen the demolition of any truth behind the claims ‘weapons of mass destruction’, and lived through the fiasco in Iraq which most now realise was always a civil war.”

In his March 2006 paper to the Melbourne Rotary Club entitled “Everyone knows the difference between right and wrong“, Gary Morgan emphasises the fact that, in a democratic society, media must be independent of politicians and business. If this is so, Morgan says, why was the Packer family offered a taxpayer funded state memorial service for Kerry Packer? Don’t blame James Packer for accepting, Morgan says, “even in democratic Australia James Packer could not snub the Prime Minister like that”.

“It is imperative that media owners throughout the world are not beholden to politicians and that politicians are not beholden to the media.”

Morgan’s paper from July 1990, entitled “Now there is democracy in Russia, Australia must be next“, is even more relevant today given that it covers the roles of information, the media, public opinion polls and most importantly, political lobbyists. In it he says “I’d like to point out that democracy requires:

  • freedom of information and its distribution,
  • information which is accurate, and
  • a political process which does not abuse that freedom of accurate information.”

Morgan says that it is obvious that Rudd made a mistake in dealing with Burke, which he has “copped on the chin”, but these types of dealing are commonplace; John Howard certainly deals with Mark Textor of Crosby Textor – the master of push polling and spreading misinformation.

One thing Henry and Gary Morgan do agree on, as Gary said on Radio 774 yesterday, the 2007 Federal Election will be fought on economic issues, including the Industrial Relations reforms.

Read more at Henry Thornton.