An inverse relationship. The higher the Labor vote the smaller the headline in The Australian.

We can take our pick this week. Labor is on the cusp of restoring its electoral chances with Newspoll putting it on a two party preferred share of 49%. Or the Liberal-National coalition starts the election year with a commanding 54% according to the Essential result published in Crikey yesterday.

I’ll stick with our very own Election Indicator showing a very small, and hardly significant, improvement over the last week in Labor’s chances.

When it comes to who will lead each team on election day the market still has some doubts about both leaders.

Spare a thought for Italians. Just as well for Italian pollsters that they don’t have to compute a two party preferred vote. For the election on 24 and 25 February there will be 215 parties, each with its own little symbol.

Sydney to infect us all? The sick-making influence of Sydney 2012 is threatening to strike throughout the country. After wreaking havoc recently in the UK, the norovirus variant identified last March by the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and the Prince of Wales Hospital in Sydney is expected back with a vengeance. Professor Peter White from the UNSW science faculty predicts Sydney 2012 could infect more than 400,000 Australians this winter.

It’s a snap. Isn’t bureaucracy speak wonderful thing? I always thought renaming Australia’s dole the Newstart Allowance would take some beating but now those Americans have a strong entry. The food stamps that provide aid to the poor are now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

News and views noted along the way.

Peter Fray

Fetch your first 12 weeks for $12

Here at Crikey, we saw a mighty surge in subscribers throughout 2020. Your support has been nothing short of amazing — we couldn’t have got through this year like no other without you, our readers.

If you haven’t joined us yet, fetch your first 12 weeks for $12 and start 2021 with the journalism you need to navigate whatever lies ahead.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey