Another week, another flurry of polling, another battle in the strange phony war that grips Australian politics is lost or won. We may well be four, maybe five, perhaps even six months from any sort of meaningful measure of the relative popularity of Kevin Rudd and John Howard. That would be an election, by the way, for those among you who thought the fate of the nation was decided by some strange amalgam of Newspoll and ACNielsen.
Some days you’d be forgiven for thinking that it was, such is the enthusiasm of the punditariat for running these endless statistical entrails through their fingers in a search for meaning and copy. And if they don’t find the first, it never stops them spewing out the latter.
Sometimes the people who report government in this country — us included — need to be reminded that the point of politics is not simply the practice of politics. It is not an end in itself, but merely a means of determining who might gain the privilege of running a country. Which is where the Little Children Are Sacred report enters the picture. Whether John Howard is one or two points up, down or sideways two-party-preferred means not much against the spectre of an indigenous generation slowly being laid waste. Not to mention the environment, the economy, health and education … It’s about the issues stupid. And we ought to stop staring at our psephological navels and do something about them.