Punishing Saints fans twice. St Kilda players are not punters. We know that from the atrocious way they behaved after the final siren. Just imagine the anguish of a Sainter in those final seconds. There’s the devastation of defeat but at least the satisfaction of knowing that you’ve got the money from TAB Sportsbet because of the 9 1/2 points start. But no! The backmen in black, red and white have walked away from the goal square like zombies. No one stayed behind to stop that final, after the siren, punt from dribbling through. A Geelong winning margin of 12 points and thousands of Saints fans deprived of the consolation of being able to say we might have been robbed of the game but at least we won the money.

Encouragement for Barnaby. This morning’s Newspoll will encourage Barnaby Joyce to keep on with is campaign of separating the National Party was far as possible from the Liberal Party. The analysis showing that, on the Newspoll figures over the past three months, the Coalition vote is holding up in rural areas while declining in the cities is clearly what the good Senator thought was happening. If his lot is not to go down the gurgler with the Libs then showing you are not the same is the best way of doing it.

A lack of understanding. Malcolm Turnbull was quick to dismiss, during one of those interminable Sunday morning television interviews, the views of Treasury secretary Ken Henry that Australia’s economic stimulus package should not yet be wound back. The Turnbull view can be summarised as being — the head of Treasury would say that wouldn’t he — he’s a servant of the government. The leader of the Opposition clearly has no notion of the way that an independent and impartial public servant actually does serve the government of the day without becoming a liar on the government’s behalf. When Henry is asked to give a view, and does so, the opinion is most certainly what he believes. The great skill of the man, and many other decent and responsible senior public servants like him, is to find ways of not answering questions when to do so would involve engaging in criticism of his political masters. That is a long way different from being the unprincipled lackey that Turnbull describes. He clearly has spent too much time with the Godwin Grechs of Canberra and not enough with those who actually make the country work.

Zen and the art of transdisciplinary studies. Australians back climate action the Sydney Morning Herald headline told us this morning as it reported that three quarters of Australians believe that the price of fossil fuels should be increased to deal with climate change and 92% believe a legally binding global climate deal is urgent and should be made at the conference to be held in Copenhagen in December. These extraordinary findings, so supportive of a Green cause, were printed without the slightest hint of the scepticism they deserved to be treated with when it was revealed that the project, “Worldwide Views on Global Warming”, was not some carefully constructed opinion poll. Rather, it gave the views of a hand-picked group — described as “demographically representative” without any information being given as to how the picking was done. What was revealed was that the picking itself was in the very safe hands of the Institute for Sustainable Futures, at the University of Technology Sydney, whose September newsletter has an illuminating piece entitled “Zen and the art of transdisciplinary studies.” Enough said.

Further fascination with surveys. The Adelaide Sunday Mail is another newspaper that reckons surveys make good news. At the weekend it carried a report based on work by that noted sampler of public opinion the Cartoon Network. The seventh annual New Generations survey of 1952 children conducted by the network earlier this year apparently found that Kids rate global crisis as biggest worry —  not the global-warming crisis this time but children worrying about their job prospects before they even finish primary school as a result of the global financial crisis. If they would only watch more cartoons and fewer news bulletins …

The Crikey German election indicator pointed the way. They are quite complicated things, these elections, which result in coalition governments — a lot of possible permutations and combinations but the Crikey German Election Indicator we published last Thursday pointed us in the right direction even if the weekend’s result was more clear-cut than it suggested it would be.

The winning Coalition between chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU/CSU) and the Free Democratic Party (FDU) was the favoured way with the Indicator assessing it as a 51.3% probability.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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