Possums Pollytics

Politics, elections and piffle plinking

Crimes Against Psephology the sequel – Christopher Pearson, historical revisionist

Posted by Possum Comitatus on December 2, 2007

Over at The Oz, Christopher Pearson rewrites some history and says:

Months ago I argued that the Coalition government could win with 49 per cent of the two-party vote and was violently attacked for my pains in left-wing blogs. By the end of the campaign the conventional wisdom had put the bar lower, at 48 per cent or a touch under. In the event, at week’s end The Australian reported the outgoing government as having won 47 per cent of the vote.”

I don’t know if he was violently attacked by left wing blogs, I don’t know if one can actually be violently attacked by a blog at all; it’s got a bit of a whiff of the drama queens about it.

But this blog certainly nicked him for his gross misunderstanding of the very basics of electoral reality. It had nothing to do with his claim of the government being able to win with 49% of the vote, that’s an argument that far smarter people than Christopher Pearson have made, and an argument with which I totally concurred.

No, the reason he was nicked, violently or otherwise, was simply because he was talking out of his arse.

Apart from the problem of Pearson not knowing what a swing is, and his strange fantasies about State based TPP majorities, the key reason he was clobbered was for this nonsense where he wrote:

If the Coalition were to wage a dogged campaign concentrating on holding its marginal seats, it could win by maintaining its present primary vote if it also managed to cut Labor’s two-party preferred margin to about two points, as in 1998 when Labor led with 51 points to the Coalition’s 49 and still lost.

At the time the Coalition primary vote was 39 and the ALP 48.5. If the results ended up as Pearson speculated, with a Coalition primary on 39 and the ALP getting a primary of 46.5, the end result would have been a 100+ seat ALP parliament with a TPP of over 55%! [bit of a misread there] If the TPP results ended up as Pearson speculated, that reduction in the   ALP TPP vote would have had to have moved to the minor parties, with the combined minors vote preferencing the Coalition to the value of about 10 points. Just where that was going to come from was never mentioned – it would never have been the Greens, Family First received next to nothing and the rest of the minors put together didnt amount to a hill of beans.

There were a large number of reasons why his so called analysis was complete twaddle, the main one being that the result of the 1998 election was built upon a large minor party vote coming from the right (One Nation) and delivering preferences back to the Coalition. It was One Nation that allowed the Coalition primary vote to be low and still win an election. With no strong minor party vote from the right, there is no strong preference flow back to the Coalition to make up for that low primary in TPP terms – that’s why the 1998 experience could not be repeated in 2007, and why the Coalition needed a higher primary vote than the ALP to even think about winning.

The beauty of the intertubes is that this type of thing can be easily and instantly recalled (and in Pearsons case, dismissed). Pearson’s original article can be found HERE and the demolition of it can be found HERE. That demolition contains a fairly large amount of info including how many seats One Nation preferences delivered and why Pearson was, and still appears to be, a complete dill.

This bloke seems like he will be a very busy boy over the next few years; trying to rewrite the history of the Howard governments defeat would be a fairly time consuming endeavor in itself, but trying to rewrite the history of his own journalistic output to boot…… well, there’s only 24 hours in a day Christopher.


78 Responses to “Crimes Against Psephology the sequel – Christopher Pearson, historical revisionist”

  1. Zoe said

    I don’t think he’ll be that busy. In fact, I’m guessing he’ll have a lot more spare time than he used to.

  2. Big Tofu said

    It’s of course been noted that Shanahan’s doing the same. Journos like these fellas just display contempt for their audience when they engage in revisionism. They presume we have memories like a goldfish and two-year-old attention spans. It’s a delight to shove their manure back in their faces. Pity it won’t shut ’em up though.

  3. JP said

    Possum, I agree Pearson is a dill and a revisionist, but you’ve completely misrepresented him in your second quote.

    Pearson didn’t say:
    “cut Labor’s *primary vote* *by* about two points”
    he said
    “cut Labor’s *two-party preferred margin* *to* about two points”

    His saying that they could win by steading their primary, and picking up what they needed to get to 49% TPP in preferences is correct, if delusional.

  4. smokey said

    Sweet revenge now that Labor has got home with only 43% or so primary with the Greens preferences adding to the TPP. IMO many would’ve voted Greens as the ALP looked home and hosed, and sent a message to Rudd that what the Greens are on about is of concern to a lot of people. Nothing like revenge against a one-hit-wonder like One Nation.

    (BTW, I was “attacked violently” about March/April when I proclaimed WorkChoices was going to be the biggest issue of the campaign, in the end I was right)

  5. Possum Comitatus said

    Ta JP – Sunday morning brainfart.

  6. Possum Comitatus said

    Smokey – but was it by those ominous sounding “left wing blogs”? 🙂

  7. smokey said

    No Possum, just the usual ones at Bryan’s when he was still allowing comments, ha ha. At least I wasn’t threatened with a lawsuit!

  8. neophyte said

    Re: ‘shoving “their manure back in their faces” – that is the wonderful thing about your and similar blogs – to journalists not accustomed to being made accountable to their readers – especially publicly so – and living under the illusion that they can feed them horsedung,it may indeed feel like a ‘violent attack’. Hurray, a new age has dawned (maybe).

  9. Andos said

    Wow. Great article from Christopher. It really is an epic; of huge proportions.

    This article reads like it has been pasted together from Liberal propaganda. I haven’t read so much political spin dressed up as fact since the Coalition’s re-election manifesto (complete with graphs showing the economic turn-around after the Hawke-Keating reforms).

    I especially enjoyed Christopher’s unflinching support of Work Choices, and his regret at the implementation of the so-called “Fairness Test”:

    I suspect it (Work Choices) was less of a real problem than a case of free-floating anxiety about the young and the vulnerable, in an economy where a shortage of useful workers rather than a cabal of ruthless employers is the defining issue. The government would have been more plausible if it hadn’t looked as though it were capitulating half-heartedly to charges of bad faith.

    I can’t imagine a better strategy for the Liberal Party and its cheerleaders in the Media to secure re-election than to keep defending Work Choices to the hilt and block the ALP’s reforms. Do they really think that it wasn’t the defining issue of their stunning election defeat?

  10. Possum,

    You’re clearly a ‘blogger for our times’.

    As mentioned by Neophyte; some in the media clearly don’t appreciate their reasoning and sourcing of information by relative ‘new comers’ (ie; Bloggers).

    To them i say; ‘moan to someone who cares’.

  11. JP said

    If this counts as a “left-wing blog” does that mean that 70% of us are union bosses? 🙂

  12. The Finnigans said

    Christopher Pearson’s bed fellow, Miranda Devine is doing her own version of historical revisionist. This time is on Brendon Nelson: “While much has been made of his ALP roots and early activism, the Jesuit-educated GP has consistently shown a concern for the underdog and rejection of injustice that transcends party lines. He would make a wise and compassionate prime minister if ever he had the chance” – http://www.smh.com.au/news/miranda-devine/hallmarks-of-a-leader/2007/12/01/1196394680589.html

    Thankfully, as Poss demolished Pearson, Ms. Devine has also been demolished by Jason Koutsoukis of the Age: Knowing the full Nelson – IMAGINE the credibility of any Melburnian who turned up to a dinner party and announced: “I barrack for St Kilda. And the Sydney Swans.”Which is exactly the situation that would confront new Liberal leader Brendan Nelson, who claims a fervent attachment to both the aforementioned teams”. – http://www.theage.com.au/news/opinion/jason-koutsoukis/2007/12/01/1196394679499.html

    Julia Gillard was crucified for her early association with the Socialist Forum by the Right Wing commentators. Yet, Brendon Nelson who has had some 20 years association with the Left and at one time yelled that: “He had never voted Liberal all his life” is now the great white hope of the shattered party. The sooner they put Turnbull in the better. We want a real contest, not a no-show walk-over. When will they ever learn?

  13. Rod said

    C. Pearson’s nonsense is a fine piece of revisionism, but it barely holds a candle to Albrechtson’s homily to Johnny, IMHO. see http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,22832055-5013450,00.html

    “Howard”, she says, ” has also left his mark by bringing to an end the grey, Soviet-style conformist thought” that was apparently characteristic of life under those two presumably revolutionary Marxists, Hawke and Keating! 😉

    Howard, she suggests, stands comparison with that great British luminary, Maggie Thatcher who apparently stands second only to Winston C in her pantheon of leaders from “home”.

    She was apparently on her way to Paris when she wrote it. Let’s hope she stays there!

  14. George said

    JP Says:

    “If this counts as a “left-wing blog” does that mean that 70% of us are union bosses?”

    Excuse me JP, I take great offense to that! I am a Union Thug, not a Union Boss!

  15. The Doctor said

    Its fun watching the ‘experts’ explain away their mistakes. Incidentally, it also shows that Bolt is much more of a fox than a hedgehog – though there more than a few cases in which he seems to ignore evidence.

  16. Rod said

    Now that the Liberal Party is run by a former union top dog – at least until they can pick whichever dingbat (apologies to any real dingbats out there – it must be hard when you are continually being compared to the current crop of featherdusters) should take over the shambles from Brendan “Patsy” Nelson, the epithet somehow has lost a little of it’s sting.

    I reckon I must have been a “union boss”, once upon a time. Heck, I was a member of a few in days gone by and that seems all that was needed to qualify during the election campaign! As I generally just paid my dues and tried to get other workplace members to sign up I’m afraid I doubt that I could ever claim the exalted status of “union thug”.

    I reckon Brendan, as former AMA chief, clearly fits the “thug” level though, at least when compared to those who the libs were depicting as such in some of their pre-election ads! 😉

    The government, if they are worth a pinch of the proverbial, should be able to stir up a veritable “Super Hornet’s Nest” of fun with Brendan when Parliament next sits! Any options from the bookies yet on whether he will still be there come the next election? I reckon odds of about 10:1 against should soon be available! 😉

  17. Grumps said


    No need to worry about the rantings of this piece of “Genghis Khan rightwing” detritus. History revisionism is stock in trade for this lot. Justification and I told you so is going to flow from this lot for a while.

    I am waiting for the one where the Australian populous didn’t know what they where doing when the voted out, etc. etc. …

    What is more interesting to me is the admission and justification of remaining on the board of SBS. This is the most important thing to him now (given the honesty and veracity of his journalism) and loss of stature associated with this will be felt more keenly than a flogging from the left.

    If he had any decency (which he hasn’t), he would resign. Such spinless creatures dressed as women to save themselves when the Titanic went down. Just consider him as ratting through his female wardrobe

  18. The Doctor said

    These days any body or thing that is evidence based is left-wing!

  19. happy chap from Griffith said

    Brilliant work Poss, love to see you keeping Pearson on his toes. Pearson’s articles are such blatant propaganda I can’t believe that anyone would actually give the bloke the time of day- let alone read his column for insightful analysis. Is there anyone out there that actually takes him seriously?

    Also, for the record: I am getting a bit bloody sick of so-called commentators, such as Pearson, saying that ‘the youth’ were somehow tricked into not liking workchoice because the ACTU and Co. ran a ‘fear campaign’. This is rubbish. The reason ‘the youth’ didn’t like workchoices was because, along with the disadvantaged, we were the ones getting royally fucked by it!

  20. happy chap from Griffith said

    ps. For the record, when I am not being a union thug or boss I like to swill champagne and chardonnay. But of course I do this in the relatively safe confines of my ivory tower.

  21. David Richards said

    Rod @ 13

    Albrechtson is deranged! This is the kind of nong Howard appoints to ABC board?

    With Pearson on the SBS board, it would appear Howard saw both government broadcasters as deserving of punishment by appointing such useless creatures to their boards.

  22. CK said

    Well, I for one have the early mail on Pearson’s column next week:

    “Howard Wins Election.”

    Honestly, what is it about News Ltd and disgustingly overweight men whose logic has been packed into Coles trolleys and whose brains are apparently sleeping rough on parkbenches in their backsides?

  23. Nick said

    Oh, what a massive tool you are, Christopher. Where does the Oz find these idiots? Do they have a breeding program at the Institute of Public Affairs? I’m with Happy Chap from Griffith @ 19, nothing in this post election “analysis” by Liberal Party stooges shits me more than their patronising assertion that WorkChoices wasn’t bad at all, and that we were all duped by an effective ATCU ad campaign. I’d like to see Christopher Pearson tell that to Pancake Parlour employees on $12 an hour with no loadings for shifts between midnight and 6am, who are expected to be avilable for every single public holiday, or the kids making pizza at Domino’s for $5.90 p.h. If WorkChoices is so great then why doesn’t Christopher Pearson jump into one of these fantastically flexible AWA jobs?

  24. steve_e said

    JP at 11 above. From memory the AMA is the Dictors Union. To be had of the AMA, you are a Union Boss. Therefore, the Current Liberal Leader one Dr Nelson is a a Union Boss (not current but was this the theme?).

    Rather than a fear campaign with no teeth, it seems to be more one of get with the strength.

    As a side point as soon as Support for Gays is mentioned Ruddock abondons any front bench role. Must be a juxtaposition.

  25. Gezza said

    These pretend intellectuals who peddle anti-intellectualism have less substance than Brendan “the flim flam” Nelson. Pearson’s recent assertion that when he attended Flinders Uni. in the late 1960s the history dept. was riddled with extreme leftists pushing their line is laughable in the extreme. The vast majority of the History staff at that time were in the “vanguard” not of the Left, but of resistance to students calls for an end to exams & a bigger say on their education, which resulted in the eventual occupation of the Central Admin. Building by students. The efforts to remove these students were led by many of the then-staff of the history dept. with one as virtual acting colonel of operations. Pearson’s revisionism on this, on election & on any history is laughable. As to “flim flam” Nelson he bends in the wind as he always has and will go with whatever ideological trend comes his way – never mind contradicting himself as he has done since he too was a student at Flinders – this history at least has proved resistant to revisionism.

  26. ozbird said

    I missed “Insiders” last week, but watched it today – no Piers Akerman. Was he on the day after the election, or has he now gone to ground?

    I can only assume he was there to satisfy the government minders that the ABC wasn’t “biased” (i.e. balanced). His ability to try and defend the indefensible was incredible – for all the wrong reasons.

    If the Rudd government can restore the independence of the public service and the ABC – even if it means coping on on the chin now and then – then all power to them.

  27. Ron Brown said

    Possum , do you NOW question the value of the 4 Poll 2PP average
    of 53.9% when the actual 2PP is 52.90% ?

    It seems the running 2PP 4 Poll average was fine until 2 days before the Election when of a sudden it became irrelevant

    What then became relevant was not 4 Poll trends but 3 Pollsters agreeing the 2PP was between 52% and 53.5% and given Morgan had been historically an outer poller , their 2PP would be above the ultimate actual 2PP

    What is your opinion

  28. David Richards said

    The election night 2PP was in line with the 4 poll average. The unusually high (20%) postal and prepolls have been where the 2PP has shifted dramatically. I smell a rather odious rodent.

  29. Mercurius said

    Poss, on this revisionism theme, is there any chance you could put a “Henderson” together? You know, those sniffy columns Gerard Henderson has put together after recent elections mocking the errant predictions of certain journalists (whose names begin with A and end with lan Ramsey)?

    I’d love a wayback machine that’ll put some of 2007 howlers together in one place…

    There’s possum snacks in it for you!

    [oooh possum snacks!…. Poss :mrgreen: ]

  30. Enemy Combatant said

    What is it with these Crow Eaters?

    Granted, Jabba the Pearson is some sort of low-rent Leon Strauss; half-smart, and a zealot to boot.
    But, Downer of Baghdad No More, Lord Fluffy of Fleurieu has flung himself fulsomely into rescuing the tories.


    Greater love than this hath no man than to sacrifice himself on behalf of his Party. Nothing whatsoever to do with relevance deprivation syndrome. The redemptive power of grovelling and eating dirt is about to be tested as Dolly Thunder Thighs bursts forth in new fish nets to get presidentially medieval on collective tory arse. The man was simply born to be a disciplinarian; he’s another born-to-rule primal force of nature, to be denied at his Party’s peril.

    One can only hope that Senator-elect Xenophon conducts himself with due dignity. One prominent political exhibitionist per state is elegant sufficiency, thank you very much!

  31. Alex McDonnel said

    I enjoy the Weekend Oz apart from Pearson’s column which I rarely bother to read. He truly is a classic right wing reactionary. His mother must have been frightened by a unionist when she was pregant. Pearson would be a good cellmate for Abbott – right wing, religious zealot who talks crap. Sorry I can’t mention Pearson is a poof – that would be discriminatory.

  32. Ron Brown said

    Questionable positive effect on Labor’s 2PP % of interest rate rises

    When Beasley was Leader in October 2006 ,the Polls showed a solid Labor swing from the ACTU work choices campaign

    ie. this Labor solid swing pre -dated any 2007 cash rate rises

    (unless it is suggested that Morgan’s “soft” voter intentions have merit)

    Rudd leadership seems to have locked in the swing & being a Queenslander expanded it in Q’ld

  33. josh lyman said

    For those who aren’t aware of Pearson’s past, he is a former speechwriter for Howard and Downer

  34. Cat said

    Poss you are a total and utter loser!! And your balls are neither crystal nor in keeping with the size of the nuts you nibble!! Ok I admit this is inconsistent with my previously expressed (and currently held actual) views but I feel I must push back against the congrats you constantly receive here as a control measure against your ego reaching Malcontent Turnbull levels and your head exploding.

    Think of it as being cruel to be kind. As the voters were with the coalition – they kicked the shit out of them just to leave room for them to disappear up their own arses. Now whilst I thoroughly enjoy a bit of right wing pundit bashing I am reminded of an experience in my university years. I, along with a number of others, was engaged in a debate at UNSW with a group of visiting American creationists. Mike Archer (then an aspro) tapped me on the shoulder and pointed to the wall of the Chancellery building and said that I might as well go bang my head against that wall until it bled. He said it would be less painful than arguing with them and in the end the outcome would be the same – the creationists views would not have been altered an iota by the evidence in our arguments. It is advice I have remembered whenever tempted to argue with neanderthals.

    And Mercurius what are “possum snacks” – small newspoll commentaries from the GG? predictions of a one term Labor government? or a bag of lightly toasted Liberal nuts?

  35. Socrates said


    Thanks for an interesting read as always. I had missed Pearson’s original piece because I no longer buy the Oz and only give the website an aoccaisional quick scan. But perhaps that is the point. In an age where we may be moving towards people being “paid by the click” we can simply avoid these hacks, and they will fade away. Similarly, I think Albrechtson’s position as an independant journalist, is now almost untennable.

  36. Socrates said


    Thanks for an interesting read as always. I had missed Pearson’s original piece because I no longer buy the Oz and only give the website an occaisional quick scan. But perhaps that is the point. In an age where we may be moving towards people being “paid by the click” we can simply avoid these hacks, and they will fade away. Similarly, I think Albrechtson’s position as an independant journalist, is now almost untennable.

  37. PASOK said

    As George Orwell said over 60 years ago:

    “Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.”

    These hacks have lost control of the present, and are fighting a losing battle over their desire to protect the image of the past 11.5 years. It will be a long time until they control the future again.

    Ignorance (of their bile) will indeed be strength!!

  38. 2 tanners said

    Socrates (36) you are both right and wrong. I often think that Pearson, Shanahan, Albrechtson and all simply write to rile people, cause them to react and thereby guarantee that the paper is being read.

    So your ignoring the column is great sense, but too many of us don’t thus actually preserving him (“Lookit the number of hits I got today!! And the venting!! Hmm, this one’s gonna be hard to top, so maybe I’ll fall back on the ‘Rudd = Howard – personal charm’ attack. That should keep the readers foaming at the mouth.”)

  39. Detest National Socialists said

    Rest easy, comrades, the zeal of revisionism currently firing up Pearson, Sheridan, Albrechtsen, et al will be short lived, as their sources of information from within the corridors of power dry up, and their access to the plums of cushy sinecures on the boards of government instrumentalities are reversed.

    Once they are cast down with the other reactionary media sodomites who have grovelled and whined at Howard’s table for scraps over the last decade, they’ll run out of steam pretty quickly, and lapse back into a well deserved twilight zone of disgruntlement and disillusionment, unlistened to, unloved and unlamented …. a bit like their idol Howard, in that respect!

  40. Socrates said

    Detested National Socialist (39)
    Well comrade (or should I say, friend?), there is another source of smug satisfaction regarding these scribblers. When nothing is left to them but writing their memoirs, we all know how much right wing types like to buy and read books, hehehe.

    2 Tanner (38), so are we seeing the emergence of the right wing journalist – as – troll, a la Ms Coulter?

  41. Socrates said

    Detested National Socialist (39)
    Well comrade (or should I say, friend?), there is another source of smug satisfaction regarding these scribblers. When nothing is left to them but writing their memoirs, we all know how much right wing types like to buy and read books, hehehe.

    2 Tanner (38), so are we seeing the emergence of the right wing journalist – as – troll, a la Ms Coulter?

  42. happy chap from Griffith said

    Poss & folks,

    Just had a lovely idea. May I suggest the creation of another tab along the header: “Crimes Against Psephology”. A click on this tab would lead you to a new page with pictures of the culprits (e.g. picture of Pearson-the-hut, Sham-ster et. al.) including a short c.v. of previous charges…maybe even a nice big red stamp saying ‘You’re Nicked” across the pic? Now the Dems are no more someone’s gotta keep the bastards honest.

    As Poss notes, the great thing about the web is that all the crazy predictions, theories and bias spouted by these monkeys is available to be collected and documented. May I also suggest the the inclusion of folks like good Caroline ‘Bruiser’ Overington for her incessant claims that the polls were all wrong and Howard would be back (Joe McDonald style :P). I’ve got no problem with people presenting a rational argument about why this might be the case, but all folk like her managed to pull together was a Dennis Denuto-esque “it’s Mabo, it’s Wik, it’s the vibe” type argument.

  43. Detest National Socialists said

    Socrates (41) – Ann Coulter is a gutter dwelling skank, spitting her right wing poison over anyone who dares to come near her. Thankfully, her near relative, Janet Albrechtsen, whilst possessing similar bleached-blonde locks and reactionary views, is nowhere near as vituperative or hostile, and at least possesses a shadow of personality. Compared to the loud mouthed La Coulter, our home grown self righteous Madam A is positively benign.

  44. Ron Brown said

    IF you guys & ALL ALP supporters stopped “clicking onto” Pearson, Shanahan, Albrechtson , Overington & Ackermann ..News would lose advertising dollars resulting in either low future pay rises or no job.

    But I guess they count on people’s desire ‘to reply’ to their blogs

  45. happy chap from Griffith said

    I’d like to believe that Ron…but I don’t think News’d be crappin its pants over losing the clicks of 10-20 union thugs…Then again, if we took on our ‘chardonnay swilling doctor’s wife’ alter ego we might be in with a chance!

  46. Peter Fuller said

    At the risk of going off-topic, I’m inspired by your Prof’s advice to record a tale from the first election I worked on. I was a very wet-behind-the-ears 19yo, and with an older wiser comrade breezed into the public bar of the local, with some Labor Party flyers. I was seeking to engage a group of drinkers, who were in uniform, so probably CMF as the Army Reserve was known in those days. My guide wisely extracted me from this futile exercise, and when we reached our waiting car gave me an aphorism which has lasted a lifetime: “Never argue with prejudice or beer (and especially not both)”.
    I might say I now have many more years on the clock, but I am still dangerously naive, but that’s one error I’ve (mostly) managed to avoid since.

  47. Bert said

    As Max would say when we shoot someone we are on the side of niceness and goodness and all we hold dear, where as the other lot are evil and not nice at all!
    To see the reaction of the right wing commentariat reminds me of snails I saw as a child when salt was poured on them. They squirmed and frothed but did not move anywhere!

    As an example of rational writing here is Bill Kelty’s piece in THE AGE


    He was one of the architects of THE ACCORD. Along with those lefties Bob and Paul.


  48. ho_hum said

    I almost feel sorry for him ….



  49. Graeme said

    Possum, was part of the curiosity of 98 that ONP preferenced against incumbents, thereby driving Labor’s TPP up (as Labor had many fewer MPs after 96 than Coalition)?

    But less so in the city marginals where elections are decided (as ONP polled relatively poorly there) and more so in country seats where the LNP had a huge buffer.

  50. Rod said

    This is obviously OT, but one thing it seems strange that even the better media have not commented on yet is the count in McEwen.

    There are only 7 other Victorian seats which haven’t posted an update today. Every one of them has an absolute majority on the primaries. McEwen, by contrast, is one of Australia’s closest contests. The McEwen Declaration Vote Scrutiny figures from http://vtr.aec.gov.au/HouseDivisionDecScrutinyProgress-13745-226.htm were completely out of whack for most of the last few days (though they now make better sense, despite no overt indication acknowledging that they have been re-assessed)

    I’m not for a moment suggesting a “conspiracy” ( neither Jeb nor George Bush, nor the US Supreme Court, nor Christopher Pearson, have been anywhere near McEwen as far as I know! ) , but I do think they have very clearly run into a major problem with the count in McEwen.

    It would be interesting (and desirable, in the interests of electoral transparency) to know what it was, don’t you think?



  51. Possum Comitatus said

    Graeme – in 1998, the preference decisions of One Nation seemed to be more driven by the local ON branches than from some centrally planned party decision (with that party and its structure.. hardly surprising). But a lot of incumbents did have One Nation preferences running against them – except in most of the seats that actually counted.

    But certainly in those seats that didnt count, One Nation preferences artificially lifted the ALP TPP vote way beyond what it (probably) ordinarily would have been had One Nation not existed.

    Rod, it would be interesting to find out – have you asked over at Pollbludger?

  52. Rod said

    The Oz have apologised to George Newhouse.


  53. Rod said

    Hi poss,

    Yes, I’ve raised the issue over the there.

    It is probable that whatever it was has now been sorted out, I think. The final posting of results came from McEwen. It didn’t involve any increase in counting, though there was a very minor change in the allocation of votes, with Bailey’s total vote dropping by a handful. THe main difference is that the Declaration Vote Scrutiny figures now make sense.

    Looks like they may have spent the last couple of days doing housekeeping, and possibly a recount, before embarking on the bulk of the absentee votes.



  54. Rudi said

    Whoops. Just seen post by Rod at 52 telling you everything I say at 54. Note to self: read rest of blog before posting.

  55. Rudi said

    Postscript to the Overington/ Newhouse election incident with page 2 of the Australian running an appology from Overington to Newhouse for “the encounter”.

    Haven’t seen an article from Overington recently. Much as I am not a fan of her writing, I hope she has a future at the Australian in journalism.

  56. josh lyman said

    Rudi – why?

    She attempted to bribe one politician, flirted with then threatened another and then assaulted him at an election booth. How can she keep her job? This isn’t the Howard Cabinet we’re talking about.

  57. josh lyman said

    Oh and all the while her husband was working for Turnbull.

  58. Andos the Great said

    Its all right, they’re separated…

  59. happy chap from Griffith said

    who could blame the poor bugger…

  60. Cat said

    I love the Newspoll findings on the Liberal leadership. Did they actually have to explain who Nelson was before they asked the question. On a serious note I would be interested to know (although it is not possible to do so) if the strong numbers preferring Turnbull over Nelson was due to name recognition or if there was a measure of people saying they wanted the bloke most likely to break from the Howard fugue?

  61. David Richards said

    Cat – a link to the newspoll on Lib leader please 🙂

  62. Possum Comitatus said

    David – you’ll find it in the top line of the new post

  63. Roger said

    My letter to the Ed (OZ) – the only way that we can get them to pay attention is to tell them, tell them again and so on – cause they is thik.

    You know, I don’t want to be a stick in the mud but perhaps you can do
    something to recognise that the nation has moved on.

    It might be that “The Australian” hasn’t yet caught up with the new
    paradigm – if so I feel sorry for you – but I do think that you should
    do your bit to help your readers – get a grasp of what a new
    progressive, competent government means.

    And it is certainly not the mean, stifled, ignorant, perhaps even dumb
    and stupid approach that you have pursued for 11 years and is still
    apparently being pursued by some of your “correspondents”.

    Give it up – in particular get rid of the drones like those exposed here.


    For goodness sake – get Chris Mitchell to grow up and move on. Let him find another battle to participate in – preferably on another

    Otherwise you will become an even bigger joke than you are already –
    and probably extinct within the year.

  64. Cat said

    David wrote: Cat – a link to the newspoll on Lib leader please

    David I love it when Poss saves me the hard work 🙂

  65. Rudi said

    Josh at 56.

    You ask why I said that I hoped Overington has a future in journalism in Australian. A qood question! It is not a strong view but I dislike the expected puritanism from journalists. Having gone out with one for 5-years and mixed with many, I reckon they are generally pretty fucked up, conflicted and egotistical people. The fact so many journalists are like that suggests that either the job attracts them or makes them like that.

    As for Overington, she went too far and became the story. For her sins she has been embarassed and has little credibility but need she also lose her job and livelihood? Perhaps I am too nice but I hope not.

  66. Your problem, Possum, is to view elections through the prism of past experience to an inordinate degree, when the fact of the matter is that they’re all, to varying extents, different from any previous paradigm. I expect you think you’re right in saying that, to achieve a victory with a low primary vote and a TPP of 49/51 is not possiblw without a One Nation style minor party delivering most of its preferences to the Coalition. But in fact it’s obvious that any rag-tag-and-bobtail collection of independents could have achieved the same outcome at the last election.
    Yrs, Chistopher Pearson

  67. Possum Comitatus said

    It doesnt matter which entity (or collection of entities) Coalition preferences come from, the primary vote of that preference source has to actually be there to begin with, in a size that could deliver the required preference flows. Primary votes are a zero sum game, whether the preference source is called “One Nation” or the “Rag Tag and Bobtail Independent Collective” is neither here nor there… it has to actually exist to begin with.

    For the Coalition to win with a low primary vote (39-42) means that firstly, there has to be a large non-major party primary vote approaching 20% to be able to deliver the Coalition a preference flow volume roughly equal to that which the ALP enjoys (simply because of the Greens modern rusted on vote of around 7% that flows overwhelmingly to the ALP TPP through preferences). Secondly, because of that high non-major party vote, the ALP primary vote would have to be approximately as low (perhaps even a little lower) than the Coalition primary vote simply to allow for the Coalition primary + ALP primary + non-major primary = 100.

    Without a large non-major party vote on the right (be it an actual party, or independents), the Coalition can not win an election with a low primary like 40. It doesnt matter about the history, it is simply the maths.

  68. The lowest primary vote my original article conjectured with as the basis of a successful ‘defensive marginal seats campaign’ was 41 % (as per 1998) and I canvassed the desirability of lifting it further, as well as the sine qua non of a 49/51 TPP split, over which you wantonly misrepresented me in this post until corrected in the third comment. I think you’re a very shrill kind of possum, more interested in hissing and carrying on than mounting a serious argument. C.P.

  69. Possum Comitatus said

    We all know what your original article said Christopher – its confusion writ large is permanently archived for all to see, as is the subsequent dissection of the numerous fallacies it contained…. not to mention the widespread mirth it provided to a great many of us.

    I suggest that if you don’t want errors pointed out, don’t make them, or if you do so happen to make a few (we are all human) – correct them at the earliest possible opportunity.

    It’s an easier alternative than trying to rewrite your own journalistic history after the event, and acting like a whiny little drama queen with claims of being violently attacked by blogs. Blogs that are apparently now classified as “left wing” for simply having the audacity to highlight to your peers that you didn’t really know what you were talking about.

    Which, at the end of the day, is really what this outbreak of pouting is all about – isn’t it Christopher?

  70. hobosexual misanthrope said

    yeah, wot he said 😉

  71. Possum,

    Feel like giving Brad Norington a couple of slaps upside the head?

    Just askin’.

  72. Jack Robertson said

    Major props for squaring up to Teh Interweb Criticism mano-a-mano, and under your professional MSM byline, Christopher Pearson. Nice one. Better bunker down for a bout of sniffy MSM ‘cutting’ at the next ‘real journalism’ swill-fest, but…say…why not join us Ozinterwebberblogospherianistas permanently, CP! You know you want to…join us, join us, join us, join us…

  73. CK said

    Well Poss, I think this deserves a brief follow-up in light of today’s Pearson abomination: http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,22887179-5013596,00.html

    Long-story short, apparently young Kevin’s rejection of JHo’s pathetic, last minute constitutional hat-tip to aborigines is an example of ‘dog-whistle politics’.

    You know, as opposed to “It’s an obvious load of crap cobbled together at the last moment designed to shore up the last skerrick of wavering wealthy Lib voters who might be thinking of voting Labor, but probably won’t.”

    I just absolutely cannot wait for the day in early ’08 when Brendon Nelson-Mandela arises in Parliament and declares “We have nothing to apologise for!”

    Thus, of course, condemning themselves to a further three years in the wilderness.

  74. Enemy Combatant said

    Recently convicted wannabe psephologist, Christopher Pearson of Adelaide, typed the following in his Dec.8 attempted hagiography of Dr. Sanstud Libleader V.C., so kindly tabled by Miss Keeler at 73:

    “Nelson has had to straddle other chasms”

    Not just one chasm, mind you; here’s a man with with serious form at straddling chasms. The tories have dared to elect as their leader a serial or “natural” chasm straddler, not to be confused with your common, or garden gnome variety chasm straddler for whom bridging finance is often a problem.

    Before being confined to his weekend home detention, a condition of his parole, Pearson furthur typed:

    “Whether he can unite a fractious party, tantalisingly close to the prospect of regaining office in just one term, is the question. A long summer break will give him some time to mend fences. When parliament resumes in February, we’ll begin to see just how skilful a politician he is.”

    Got that, voters! Sanstud Libleader is a fence mender too!
    “No worries, boss”, parolee Pearson reassures us, “Brendon can line ’em up fences straighter than Jimmy Blacksmith.” Nothing to be sorry about here whatsoever.
    A “tantalisingly close” yet “fractious party” coundn’t wish for anything more. Indeed, Tories Australia-wide will simply not be able to thank Christopher enough for drawing this to their attention, thereby providing hope and direction for a party totally shagged-out by one too many rogerings from a power-randy rodent.

    And boy! Didn’t Christopher love El Rodente?

  75. David Richards said

    With the two largest minor parties effectively aligned on opposite sides, and the combined vote of all other minors being less than 7%, the Liberals actually would need an even higher primary vote to win than has traditionally been the case. Unless they were to woo the Green vote, (which is not simply an environmental party these days, but a party with a focus also on social issues), which would require a drastic repositioning of the Liberal Party.

  76. David Richards said

    Gummo – that piece by Brad Norington was worth a laugh.

    Applying the same standards to all of Howard’s election wins would find that he has won by far smaller margins. Indeed, most elections are decided by a very small proportion of the eligible voters.

    The whole premise is specious and facile.

  77. Sir Henry Casingbroke said

    Ah yes, Christopher, Brendan Nelson was “in turn a successful doctor, medical politician at the AMA and cabinet minister” and you are so right! As defence minister it was one hell of a turn when he bought us those Super Hornets. What your old seafaring aunties meant when they said “worse things happen at sea” was that the turn was in the barrel.

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