Possums Pollytics

Politics, elections and piffle plinking

So just how bad is 9% for Brendan Nelson?

Posted by Possum Comitatus on February 19, 2008

crikeylogo.jpg This was me earlier today in Crikey.

It’s days like these when you wonder whether the fine folks over at Newspoll have a full compliment of keys on their keypads. The poll released overnight has the ALP ahead 46 to 36 on primaries and 57 to 43 on two party preferred – a level of political support for the ALP which has been consistent for 12 months, only interrupted by an inconvenient election result.

While this latest voting intention is hardly newsworthy, even to the poor poll junkies among us, it is the Preferred Prime Minister figure that really grabs the attention.

Way back yonder the commentariat was aghast at John Howard becoming Mr 22% (See Note 1.) in those years before his political triple bypass – a positively respectable result considering what was to follow in the years ahead. We had the Downer Months where Lord Alex delivered us a Preferred Prime Minister rating of 21% before Simon Crean conquered all before him with his outstanding 14% (See Note 2) mark achieved in November of 2003.

While records are meant to be broken, this one was obviously meant to be smashed.

Brendan Nelson has stormed into the worse Preferred Prime Minister result in the history of Newspoll with an astonishing 9%. Not 29%, not 19% — there be no typos here, it really says 9%.

So just how bad is 9%, I hear you ask?

Think of every left handed person you know in the country, not of voting age, just in the country. You would, on average, know more left handed people than you would know people that preferred Brendan Nelson to be the Prime Minister. This is not so bad that you could actually list the names of Brendan Nelson supporters on a moderately sized pamphlet – but it’s getting awfully close.

This result really highlights the big problem that the Coalition faces. Its twin support bases of affluent inner metro seats and the less affluent, more socially conservative regional and rural seats have irreconcilable views on a large number of issues, the latest being the apology to the Stolen Generation.

Newspoll conveniently polled on the support levels for the apology and the results speak for themselves – while 69% of the public overall is in favour of the apology, when it comes to Coalition voters, the stats split evenly with 46% of Coalition voters supporting the apology and 50% being against.

With Nelson trying to walk the tight rope between these two camps, he was always going to alienate a chunk of his voting base. His apology wasn’t good enough for some of those 46% of his supporters, but went way too far for some of that 50% block that was against the apology to begin with.

Nelson had better hope that this Preferred Prime Minister rating has a lot of short term feedback caused from the Stolen Generation apology he made on behalf of the Opposition in Parliament, for if it is actually representative in large part of what is playing out on the ground with these twin Coalition support bases – the problem may not be Nelsons alone, but could simply be a sign of things to come for any opposition member that takes on the Leadership position.

It really adds food for thought to the debate over merger proposals between the Nationals and the Liberals. Is it really worth bringing these two irreconcilable groups under one centralised political banner?

If the mergers eventually go ahead, the new party better pray that the two party preferred vote doesn’t start heading the way of the preferred PM rating as a consequence of being unable to unify its twin support bases that have less in common than they do things that divide them.

Note 1: Although Howard scored 18% in a Morgan/Gallup poll published in the Bulletin , leading to the “Mr 18% – Why does he bother” quip, using Newspoll for the record to maintain consistency, Howard’s lowest Preferred PM score was a slightly higher 22% .

Note 2: Simon Crean’s lowest preferred PM score is registered in the Newspoll database as being 14%. It has since been pointed out that the particular Newspoll where Crean scored 14% was taken on the 28th to the 30th November 2003, even though Crean had announced his decision to stand down from the ALP leadership on the 28th of November. In the interests of accuracy and fairness, we probably shouldn’t burden Simon Crean with a paltry score of 14%. Instead, the 16% he scored during April, May and September of 2003 would be a more fair dinkum appraisal.


This leads us onto something I’d like your help with. Brendan Nelson lacks a good nickname – Spanky doesnt quite cut it even though that’s what some have been calling him for years. Aquaman does Tunrbull well, Mezmerelda is perfect for Julie Bishop and we cannot forget The Google Assasin for one Andrew Robb.

But Brendan – he’s lacking. All suggestions would be much appreciated.

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146 Responses to “So just how bad is 9% for Brendan Nelson?”

  1. Cat said

    Moved from Yesterday…

    Cat Says:
    February 19, 2008 at 8:37 am
    Decimal Nelson’s 9% in today’s poll reminded me of Billy Crystal’s Miracle Man character in the Princess Bride.
    “Will he survive?”
    “It’d take a miracle.”

    Personally though I think the poll was good news for Decimal. If 70% preferred Mr O’Seven and 21% were undecided Decimal has the chance to build to 30%. Or of course to fall off the chart entirely.

  2. Dave Bath said

    You say “So just how bad is 9%, I hear you ask?”

    I’m a sucker for expression of things in terms on standard deviations from the mean (for an opposition leader).

    I also wonder if it could be expressed in sigma terms against different lifespans of leadership, and/or within a “honeymoon period” (BN wishes!).

    My off-the-top-of-my-head guess: it’s probably about 4 stddev below the mean for an opposition leader that lasts more than 12 months.

    Hmmm. Perhaps such approval/disapproval/preferredPM polls (perhaps with an area-under-the-curve-over-time) could generate a rule of thumb for leadership longevity?

  3. josh lyman said

    How about “Half” as in the Half-Nelson wrestling move that keeps you pinned to the floor (but also half an apology, half a party, half the numbers inside the party, etc)

  4. Tom said

    I’d suggest “Admiral” but he doesn’t even have ONE leg to stand on! *slaps thigh*

  5. nobby said

    i have allways thought of him as “the perfumed gigolo”.not sure where i heard that.

  6. s said

    I think ‘The Poor Bastard’ or ‘TPB’ for short.

  7. Chade said

    I liked “Spanky” for Nelson, though…

    Pity Peter Roebuck also has a claim to that moniker.

  8. Zafar said

    Baby Doc


    Kiss Me Hard(l)y

  9. Cat said

    Josh wrote: How about “Half” as in the Half-Nelson

    I started out (in Nov) referring to him as the full Nelson and after the apology as Half Nelson but after the 9% this morning I figured he was not even a quarter Nelson. So as I was always lousy at fractions he is Decimal Nelson to me now.

  10. The Doctor said

    didn’t Shanahan claim last year that the PPM figure was a leading indicator for TPP.
    Do you know if that’s true, and if so how good an indicator is it?

  11. Lyn said

    I always thought he was The Hairdo or Bouffant, but lately people have been calling him Brylcream.

    Perhaps Digit is more appropriate now, or Leper.

  12. Xercius said

    Mmm . . . it just popped into my head that maybe, just maybe (and in light of the spectacular approval ratings) ‘Dr Who’ (question mark optional) might be appropriate.

  13. steve_e said

    It just gets better and better for the Liberal Leadership – Nelson and Bishop.

    A whole new experience – they just got rolled by Shadow Cabinet.

    Imagine actual democracy at work.

    So now AWAs are truely DEAD.

    Just what is it that they do support at this time? Lets start a list.


  14. Aspirational Aspirationalist said

    How about Dr Pepper, people used to buy it, now its just not that popular.

  15. David said

    I quite like “Stud” for Nelson. It has a mocking double-entendre quality which amuses me. I’ve also been referring to Ms Bishop as “Botox Barbie” for about six months, for the same reason as you’ve christened her Mezmerelda.

  16. David said

    I still like Admiral – all sorts of ship going down analogies are then possible, as well as comments about mono-ocularity….

  17. Eljenxo said

    Perhaps “The Great Gazoo” (from The Flintstones).

    I’ve never seen The Great Gazoo without his space helmet on, but judging by the size of the helmet his forehead is of similar proportion to Brendan Nelson’s.

    And just like The Great Gazoo character, Brendan Nelson remains invisible to most people.

    The Great Gazoo

  18. Pedro said

    I like Xercius’ suggestion: Dr Who

    The other reference that springs to mind is Saint Brendan the Navigator.

    Wikipedia: Saint Brendan of Clonfert or Bréanainn of Clonfert (c. 484 – c. 577) called “the Navigator”, “the Voyager”, or “the Bold”.

    St Brendan was a fabled Irish Monk who sailed the western ocean for 7 years with a company of pilgrims in search of the promised land, passing many trials and tribulations before eventually finding the Blessed Isles.

    I’m pretty sure he wore an earring 😉

  19. fred said

    Well most of my initial choices are a wee bit rude.
    How about “The Wizard of ID” as a reference to his acceptance of having Inteligent Design as part of school [science] courses?

  20. B.S. Fairman said

    If you go with Admiral or Horatio, perhaps the party could be the “HMS Surrender” (as opposed to the HMS Victory).

  21. Danzilla said

    I’ve been labelling him Skeletor, after seeing him looking particularly grim and ghoulish during his sorry rendition of “Sorry”.

  22. mate said

    Dr Who?

  23. Greeensborough Growler said

    I saw “Bendin” Brendan somewhere today which sums up his career as Opposition Leader to date.

  24. Enemy Combatant said

    You rang!
    So, let’s see now, a sobriquet for Petit Mal’s Bench-Warmer….
    How about Dr. En Passant?
    As for his off-sider with the “intensity problem”, perhaps Madam Mesmer.
    What a dream team!

    Dr. En Passant and his loyal side-kick, Madam Mesmer.

  25. Greeensborough Growler said

    Madam Mesmer and the Eyes weren’t they a pub band from the 80’s?

  26. […] post from Possum Comitatus on the implications of Lickety-Split’s catastrophic single figure preferred PM […]

  27. Jimbo said

    I’d suggest either Dr Death, or perhaps just Dr Dead.

  28. Jimbo said

    Or Burley Bucket.. sharks do love the smell…

  29. nomad3 said

    How about Malaka ? (sorry guys ..its the Greek in me) for those interested in translation .. one can be provided on request

  30. Andrew said

    How about Beavis?

  31. GrahamS said

    The man has the monotone drones of a preacher giving a service on Sunday – so Pastor Nelson suits. Or just The Padre

  32. smeghedd said

    I like the Admiral moniker so how about …

    Admiral Hornet

    I have to say that Decimal is another favorite

  33. codger said

    I think it was about the time of “It’s Oil” & then sticking with it was just like Kokoda, ergo ‘Kokoda Kid’; Mr Leak’s cartoon sort of said it all.

    Ps is the shamiam ppm theory (in lieu of ‘bounce’) out for another trot?

  34. Warwick said

    The Chameleon

  35. jo said

    Got nothing for Nelson. Good luck.

    I’ve been referring to Bishop as StareBear – a school girl insult – last used by Kimmy – in the Fountain Lake shopping centre car park – “what are you looking at, Stare Bear”?

  36. smokey said

    Half Nelson has been my fav so far.

  37. Mercurius said


  38. Cat said

    Xercius Says:
    February 19, 2008 at 4:14 pm
    Mmm . . . it just popped into my head that maybe, just maybe (and in light of the spectacular approval ratings) ‘Dr Who’ (question mark optional) might be appropriate.

    Get ye to a nunnery. Do not bismirch the good name of Dr Who so.

  39. Enemy Combatant said

    “Madam Mesmer and the Eyes weren’t they a pub band from the 80’s?”

    Dunno Growler, but if the stare fits, wear it she should. One certainly can’t deny that Mrs Bishop is giving intensity a bad name.

  40. gandhi said

    I was thinking about this last night. “Dr Who” is good, but lacks the OOMPH factor.

    My proposal is:


    Dan (short for BrenDAN, get it?) likes hurtling around on his moto with his mohawk and his electic guitar. He frequently hurls himself (with a reckless lack of concern for his own safety) into ridiculous situations, like half-assed public apologies, or the post-election Liberal leadership, or being the only politician in the Western world to admit we invaded Iraq for the oil (gasp!).

    What I like about this moniker is that the original (British) comic was written back in the 1950s, and yet Dan Dare was called “Pilot of the Future” because the comic strip was set in the 1990’s. Lots of material to work with there!

    Also, there is something extraordinarily childish about Nelson, whose own mum has often been a vocal public supporter.

    From Wikipedia:

    The storylines were long and complex, sometimes lasting for over a year. Attention was paid to scientific plausibility…

    Although not a super-hero, he would sometimes pull off exceptional feats of piloting, and often proved to be extraordinarily lucky. He excelled at hand-to-hand combat using jiu jitsu, but he would most often find non-violent solutions to his predicaments. He was bound by a strong sense of honour to the extent that he never lied, and would rather die than break his word.

  41. Larry Buttrose said

    How about”Band-Aid Nelson”. Covers his occupation, rock ‘n roll ear-stud and destiny in one.

  42. steve_e said

    9% is equivalent to 1 / 11.

    Now what does this fraction conjure up.

    Our friend the GST (you pay one-eleventh of the gross income to the ATO).

    Yes the tax that the Liberals said we would never ever have.

    So my tip as a permanent reminder of the 9% level of popular support is Brendan “GST” Nelson.

  43. BM Buttrose said

    “Rocky” Nelson, for the fatigues-clad hero of Iraq. And for his brilliant defence allocations decisions.

  44. mate said

    jo Says:
    February 19, 2008 at 11:09 pm

    I’ve been referring to Bishop as StareBear


  45. ed@bennelong said

    I re-submit “The Locum”. Sums up the past, present and probable future.

  46. onimod said

    Lots of good nicknames there.
    I can’t claim this one for JB, but I like it. I’m reliably informed it’s widely used in government circles: ‘Right-Wing Barbie’.
    I hear there’s no shortage of alternate costume sets available either….

  47. Grumps said


    What an interesting set of blogs. A continuing subtext on the emasculation of the Liberals. Or how a political party ceded all to the cult of “Howardism”.

    I reflected once to a staunch liberal voter in my wife’s family that I considered any thing the El Rodent did was to benefit El Rodent first last and always. The birth of “Howardism” was insidious and eventual. It started with his preselection and ended with any number of issues you care to name in the last term of the one-person government. In the end he agreed with me.

    Mr 9% troubles are not all of his doings. (WTF am I doing defending a liberal, I prefer to see all there collective noses ground into a ton of human excrement removed from the grand sewer trunk of Melbourne before it arrives at sweet smelling Werribee) I agree with your tenet that it is a reflection of the loss of core support of the party. This problem really has to be laid squarely at El Rodents feet.

    As for amalgamation with the Social Agrarians? I don’t think so. The root problem I see is for the liberals to reestablish its own voice. This may mean for the party to expunge all of its extreme right wing elements and leftover El Rodent sycophants. (The sight of Senator Minchin meeting real people would be interesting)

    Let them form their own party and see how popular they really are.

    Rebuilding brand liberal will take a while. Not only does the party have to expunge those within but also the hanger “on’s” who have persecuted their own cultural wars. Idiots like Albrechtsen, Windschuttle, Shannanana, DoltBolt and others, have to be detached to ensure the clarity of what the Liberals mean is not lost in the filters of such exponents of personal cult and “Howardism”

    I opined kev07 was dead cert. Kev11 is a certainty based on the size of win of kev07. Kev15 looks a shoe in if the characters of liberal land keep running to Four Corners to do personal documentaries

    Do like “Dr Who”, but for us oldies the connection to one of the best sci fi’s ever produced in the history of television might be helping the Brendan by giving him an acceptable and soft profile. Remember how well Tin Tin fitted Kev.

  48. chinda63 said

    I like the simplicity (and significance) of “Mr 9%”.

    Another thought I had was “Muntz” after the character in The Simpsons. The Wiki entry describes him thus: “…in various episodes, he seems to give off the impression that he is a lot smarter than he may first appear. Nelson often points out painfully obvious things to adults and kids alike that take them longer to grasp. Another example is a running joke where Nelson does a class assignment which is implied to be of high quality. However, he is always brushed off by the teachers before he gets to show them his work. On the other hand, he does often demonstrate stupidity.”
    Oddly appropriate in light of recent events.

  49. Bobby said

    I do like Bevis – as he does bear a striking resemblence but then who is Butthead… so many to choose from.

    Maybe Nilson is more appropriate

  50. Fagin said

    How about:

    Dr Edsel (after a motor vehicle that was a spectacular failure: it looked interesting but nearly bankrupted Ford Motor Co. in the late 50s)

    Dr Betamax (after the videocassette tape recording format that failed to gain any traction on its better performing VHS rival: it eventually folded and faded into history.)

    The best by far IMHO is ‘Horatio Hornet’ which was coined by a boffin over at PB.

  51. Fagin said

    ‘New Coke’ Nelson?

  52. […] Comitatus analyses Opposition Leader Brendan Nelson’s 9% opinion poll popularity rating.  Maybe he needs to have a word to George Pell about the efficacy […]

  53. rabitoh said

    Curiously Steve E, isn’t 111 a ‘Nelson’ in cricket circles??

  54. I reckon Dr. ‘En Passant’ is a cracker.

  55. GrannyAnny said

    I vote for Super Hornet, or perhaps just Stung.

  56. David Richards said

    Granny – Super Hornet was one one of the names I used for him… but in light of his constantly changing positions on various issues – Windsock would be a good one. Or How about Major Nelson (from I Dream Of Jeannie).. as he’s a bit of a space cadet (also ties in with the SH, as Major Nelson was in the air Force). That would make Fascist Barbie Jeannie. Another possibility for Fascist Barbie is Roadkill (as her gaze is like an animal caught in the headlights).

    Wilson Tuckwit could be renamed rusty or the Iron Knob.

  57. Marktwain said

    Braindrain Kneelsir?

  58. Scorpio said

    If anyone has Paul Keating’s phone number, I am sure he could very quickly come up with a better moniker for Brendan Nelson than the rest of us put together in a room for a week.

  59. Scorpio said


  60. Ag said

    Shanahan in today’s Australian wonders where the Newspoll margin of error sceptics out on the intertubes have gone.
    I get the feeling we are still waiting for a mea culpa from Dennis when he castigated Ozblogistan’s cheek when it dared to question Newspoll as John Howard started to get bounce, traction etc etc.

  61. David Richards said

    Fagin – Beta was superior technically to VHS, but it was only made by a few companies, while JVC cleverly licensed VHS to anyone and everyone so the choice was greater, and the sher volume of VHS compared to Beta killed it. A similar thing applies to Mac v PC… Mac is actually a better platform technically, but as it is limited to one supplier… it can’t compete with the roll your own and production base of PCs.

  62. PASOK said

    Nelson Muntz is a cracker: Ha Ha!!

    What about “Plugger” (as in the Aussie version of the flip-flop) ??

    I know Tony “Greyhounds” Lockett is also known by this acronym, but BN fits it better than TL.

    He was ALP, now he’s Lib.
    He wasn’t sorry, then he was sorry.
    He voted for WorkChoices, then he pronounced it dead, then he resurrected it, only to kill it again.

  63. Zafar said

    Flipper Nelson

  64. Cat said

    I like mine simply because every day I wonder how much further they can move the decimal point for him but of the others Locum is my fave. It sums up what his current role is perfectly. I have to agree though the best option would be to give Paul Keating.

    By the by I refer to Kevin as Mr O’Seven purely because an elderly lady of my acquaintance did so during the campaign (her hearing and sight make her a prime candidate for the coalition front bench) but it was pointed out to me last night that she should be calling him Mr Seven O.

  65. David Gould said


    Denniss is taking you to task, Possum. Apparantly, you have misread the polls completely. It could even be that, on a sufficient margin of error, Nelson is actually in front on PPM … 😉

  66. Kate Ellis for PM said

    You have upset Dennis…..again!

  67. Thomarse said

    flip flop flap

  68. Interested spectator said

    Dennis is leading with his chin. Time to put on the knuckledusters Possum.

  69. gusface said

    kiss me-not hardy

    floppy yolk

    lot to woo

    my fave though is


  70. Kirribilli Removals said

    We’ve been using Horatio Hornet for a while now over at Pollbludger, amongst other names. Dr Who? is good, especially with the question mark, and Dr En Passant likewise.

  71. Don said

    Scorpio at 58:

    “If anyone has Paul Keating’s phone number, I am sure he could very quickly come up with a better moniker for Brendan Nelson than the rest of us put together in a room for a week.”


    Jeez I miss Paul. There’s been no one within cooee of his ability with the apparently off the cuff devastating insult since he left the active scene.

  72. Rates Analyst said

    The big problem Denis Shamahan faces is that it’s actually harder to get a survey that’s approximately 50/50 right….. One-sided surveys are easier to get more accurate.

    Usually the sample error is calculated using the most conservative estimate of 0.5, which in politics is usually about right.

    However, it seems fairly clear that The Locum vs Rudd is not about 50-50.

    If we instead substitute a 90-10 result into the formula the margin of error drops from 2.5 to only 1.5 %.

    So the 2% move is not in the statistical MOE any longer!!! The 2% drop is very siginificant!

    Poss, if you’re reading, I don’t know the exact formula they using, but am assuming it is something like the population proportion here.

  73. Greeensborough Growler said

    Shanahan is like a sex addled chihuahua trying to root your boot.

  74. Blair said

    I seem to recall that in the run-up to the Conservative debacle in Canada in 1993 there was a poll which found that a higher percentage of Canadians thought Elvis was still alive than thought that Brian Mulroney was doing a good job as Prime Minister.

  75. Detest National Socialists said

    It seems that the Dennis Shanahan has emerged from his funk after the resounding defeat of his idol, JW Howard, but instead of anything substantive coming from his poisoned pen about our newly minted PM, we have the ignoble sight of him again swinging wildly at our respected cyber psephologists!

    A typical cowardly act of stone throwing from someone living in a glass house, in my view.

    p.s. I’m partial to Dr. Dead Man Walkin’ as a moniker for the soon-to-be-late Opposition Leader.

  76. Kirribilli Removals said

    Considering that Shana’s outrage over the dreadful blogger’s feasting on the carcass of Nelson’s PPM ratings, and their erupting hilarity, was over a movement downwards of little consequence, can I suggest that Brendon Nelson be henceforth known as MOE?

    ‘Margin of error’ rather sums up his negligable import in the scheme of things, and forever attaches Shana’s little outburst to transient leader of the Opposition.

    So MOE, how low can you go?

  77. Andos the Great said

    Gold, Kirribilli Removals.

    On a similar line, cross posted from Poll Bludger: some new names for The Australian – The Opposition Orifice, The Liberal Leader, the Nelson News (soon to be the Turnbull Tribune), The Woz, The Conservative (or Coalition) Clarion…

    Any further contributions?

  78. Kirribilli Removals said

    “The Woz” is great, and invites some unflattering comments about the reptiles of the press:

    “The Lizards of Woz” comes to mind quite quickly!

    And with MoE, we should also recall his great victory over Turnbull was pretty much a MoE too! LOL

  79. josh lyman said

    MOE is sensational. HAs the virtue of being a nickname whose etymology will itself be stuff of legend.

    As is “Woz”

  80. HarryH said

    What is Shanahans worth without JWH?

    What is Albrechsons worth without culture war?

    Why are the still published?

  81. Enemy Combatant said

    Re: The Shill That Knows No Shame.

    Shill Shanahan’s attempt to hump your leg in today’s edition of Citizen Rupert’s national broadsheet, “Ol’Possum”, confirms the utter futility of attempting to educate a bad mug. The Shillster is thicker than month old brie in a student’s fridge. Wit totally eludes the man. He’s a broadsheet stumblebum pan-handling on Page One for relevance, a toe-rag even Fagin wouldn’t touch.
    Shill’s fair beggin’ for you to give him a little slap. But in a Larsenesque sort of way, ignoring the prick would maybe hurt him even more.

  82. mate said

    Yes siree Ol’Possum… Ah do believe you’ve been challenged to a duel!

    Poor Dennis,he’s bringin wet lettuce to a gun fight :mrgreen:

  83. steve said

    Possum check out the update at PB. David Walsh and Unicorn point out that the two percent drop from 11 to 9 is not within the 1.7% margin of error at all and Sham-I-am has made a goose of himself again.

  84. Meng Tan said

    Okay, my suggestion’s less catchy, but here it is:

    Unleavened Bread (or Flatbread)

    Why? Well, unlike the souffle, that only rises once, unleavened bread, well …

  85. nobby said

    kirribilli removals says,
    so MOE,how low can you go? which suggests “limbo”

  86. Aspirational Aspirationalist said

    How about the Nightwatchman Nelson…….

  87. Kirribilli Removals said

    Ah, Nobby, you’re onto something. If Nelson is Limbo, as in how low can he go (before ending up in political limbo), then his assistant must be Bimbo. Limbo and Bimbo has a nice ring to it.

    Although I did rather naugthily suggest that Ms Bishop is really Nelson’s fluffer, and before anyone jumps to the conclusion that this refers to movies of a certain genre (ahem!), then here’s a list of other meanings from Wikipedia.

    I really like the last one, very appropriate for Ms Bishop, considering WorkChoices:

    Fluffing is a hairdressing and makeup term. Fluffers were originally those who touched up an actresses hair and makeup during a shoot.
    One who prepares a house for sale, employing cosmetic skills, such as hedge pruning, or psychological tactics, such as baking bread while the house is being shown.
    On a TV show set or in a comedy club setting, “fluffer” can refer to a warm-up act, whose task it is to engage the audience prior to the arrival of the main attraction or in between takes.
    Fluffing is also a slang term used in acting. An actor who misreads his/her lines but continues on in character is said to have “fluffed” their lines. This term is primarily used in the United Kingdom.
    In call centers, fluffing can be used to describe call avoidance, often by offering incomplete solutions or referring the caller to another provider.
    “Fluffing” can also be used to describe the artificial inflation of another’s ego for personal gain and/or insincere promotion of ideals or policies.
    “Fluffing” is also a euphemism used to refer to farting.
    “Fluffer” can refer to a staff officer who won’t let an issue or program die as they’ve been instructed to.

    …so, MOE and Fluffer, Limbo and Bimbo, Dr WHO? and Mesmerelda.

    We could do this all day, but alas, the real work beckons.

  88. Cat said

    From Philip Coorey today: By stark contrast, Hendy, who led the chamber’s dual assault on Labor and support for Work Choices, quit after the election to work as Brendan Nelson’s chief of staff. The move had the career prospects of taking a job with Mitsubishi.

    So now “Mitsubishi” Nelson – which after this week’s backflip on AWAs sums up his walking dead status as well as his incapacity to sell anything.

  89. Sam said

    “Half” Nelson?

  90. steve_e said

    A second poll result that surprise, surprise echos another 9% level of support for Nelson. He is consistent in his level of approval (sic).

    To commemorate this stunning achievement in political support there is a Single Digit tee shirt available on Crikey.

  91. Sam said

    “Digit” Nelson (as in the singular!)

  92. Sam said

    “Doctor Digit” Nelson…. Wait, that sounds a little sinister…

  93. TeeCee said


    How about ‘manna’ (aka the bread-like gift from heaven that saved the Israelites)- heaven knows the good Dr is a gift to the government….!

  94. Lord Daniel said

    I think ‘Dr Dolittle’ would be quite an apt nickname for Nelson. I am partial to the Limbo and Bimbo suggestion above as well. Not Dr Who, as Dr Who is fantastic.

  95. PASOK said

    According the the latest Morgan poll, not only is “Plugger” Nelson’s PPM figure 9%, but he is also at 9% for the “who should lead the Liberal party” question.

    Forget the cardboard Kev cutout, they need one for Plugger instead. Surely it would rate higher.

  96. David E said

    In support of the Beavis suggestion, here is a character profile from Wikipedia :

    Has an underbite and a fixated stare on his face, which is almost always shown in profile. Beavis grunts when he laughs, has a grainy, guttural voice and has a penchant for openly picking his nose. The more excitable of the two, he is oblivious of the obvious. Before controversy erupted (see below) he exhibited an obsession with fire; however, generally he has a more passive demeanor in contrast to Butt-head’s more dominant personality. Beavis also has an alter ego named The Great Cornholio, which usually surfaces after he consumes large quantities of caffeine and/or sugar

    Which I guess makes Turnbull Butt-head…and indicates that it may have been The Great Cornholio who delivered the Apology reply speech….

  97. cardster said

    Nelson’s leadership is in its death throes. He has to be Dr Death!

  98. Leopold said

    Kim Beazley’s description of Nelson as ‘an animated raccoon on nasty pills’ remains the most apt I’ve heard.

  99. Ghost Who Votes said

    If he were overweight, Broadside would be perfect.

  100. Ghost Who Votes said

    If he were overweight, Broadside would be perfect.

  101. dawson said

    Apparently Nelson was referred to by ADF personnel as “just like Peacock, but without the substance” – a more and more apt summation.
    I’m not good at the moniker business, but there must be something we can make of this – Peacocklite? Peacockless? Dr P? Substandard?
    Over to you (I just come up with the ideas, it’s up to other people to make them work…)

  102. Hamster said


    The Ear-Ring


  103. ih8JWH said

    “Doctor Digit” that sounds like a proctologist. How about the Pokémon (that’s Jamaican for proctologist).

  104. Warwick said

    If you didn’t like my ‘Chameleon’ offer, which I don’t think you did:

    What about Two-nines Nelson

  105. The Doctor said

    I think the Locum sums up his situation perfectly!

  106. Niz said

    Nickname? Obvious…. Tenhead.

    Its like a forehead, but much bigger.

  107. Ron said

    “Mr Convenient”

    The Opposition’s Leaders chair hardly could be left empty.
    So the elected occupant is serving a “convenient” purpose.

    Whilst Nelson represents an inconvenience, he is presently convenient

  108. Ratsak said

    How about “Bunny” Nelson?

    Just like a true number 11 he looks as if he shouldn’t be there, has no idea what he’d doing, and is only postponing the inevitable. He has a single digit average and a top score in the mid teens.

  109. Mathew Cole said

    Here are a few ideas:

    Horatio the Half-Nelson,
    Horatio the Super Hornet
    The Pancake – it just doesn’t get flatter than his approval ratings….

    Also, you have quite a nerve, Poss – upsetting Shamaham like that 🙂
    Keep up the good work!

  110. Wingnut said

    Unfortunately my father didn’t hang around long enough to see the end of Howard but discussion of Blandon ever getting to double figures brings one of his stories to mind. When getting a certain internal examination he asked for two digits to be used. When the doctor questioned it he said “I’d like to get a second opinion”.

    Given Nelson’s plethora of stances I’d like to offer “Second Digit” Nelson.

  111. Wingnut said

    …or maybe just “Two Digits”

  112. David Richards said

    Ratsak – that would be the Nightwatchman – lower order batsman batting at 4 or 5 to save a recognised batsman

  113. Greeensborough Growler said

    In breaking News,

    Possum eats Family Pet.

    A New York Newspaper Proprietor fears for his reporters after a 5m possum devoured their dog, Shanahan in front of them – weeks after other possums ate his pet government and preferred PM.

    Rupert of Murdoch said he now would not leave his reporters alone in any part of his empire, after the “enormous” possum ate his silky terrier-cross chihuahua about 9pm on Monday.

    “Actually watching it unfold before your eyes was pretty gut-wrenching,” he said.

    “When it happens once, you think it’s a one-off, but last night I thought “this is a serious bollocking,” he said.

    “We have connected computers. Call it paranoia, but my big fear is that a big possum will get in here and eat me too.”

  114. Trixibelle said

    I have read all nickname suggestions. Some are good. I like the Nightwatchman.

    My thought is Quarter Nelson, because only about a quarter of his Coalition supporters rate him as preferred PM.

    But to be brutally honest, none of the suggestions seem to have the sheer brilliance of “the dessicated coconut”, the “feral abacus” (for Hewson)or “all tip and no iceberg”.

    Solution? Someone simply MUST ask PK to similarly provide the perfect nickname for the unfortunate Nelson.

  115. ron said


    preferred prime minister
    with the option of creatively applying any description of Nelson using the letters ‘PPM’ at any future time

  116. dawson said

    Is it a comment on Nelson’s chameleon quality (a polite way of saying noone knows what he stands for) that we’re up to post 116 and haven’t agreed on an appropriate moniker? (I realise I have accidentally coined one in writing this!)

  117. classified said

    Solution? Someone simply MUST ask PK to similarly provide the perfect nickname for the unfortunate Nelson.

    I did…I emailed his office…told him about our little problems and pointed out that he still owes us bigtime for losing that bloody election in 96 😉

    Havn’t heard back yet… might give em a ring 😆

  118. Warwick said

    Dawson 116 – Chameleon is a good one. Chameleons use colour change (eg. a nicely tanned face) as a method of communication – “I have never voted Liberal in my life” (Nelson’s famous communication episode)
    Just as a chameleon is coloured as a camouflage, to suit it’s surroundings, Nelson managed to camouflage his Liberal fantasy’s when he was actually a member of the Labor party. Soon, his surroundings changed from Labor to Liberal. He’s a true chameleon.
    That’s why I chose it (see 34 and 104)

  119. Cat said

    His absence has me thinking Shaman and Decimal sent People Skills and Aquaman to deal with Possum.
    Poss you have those claws for a reason – I hope you left them with some scars. 🙂

  120. mate said

    Cat, my hope is, it’s the calm before the storm…methinks Possum is working on a reply…judging by the time its taking to compile
    it’s going to be a doozie 🙂

  121. supercededman said

    How about “NINE”, as in his popularity rating and IQ.

    Monikers for JWH: I’ll let him use my alter-ego’s name “SUPERCEDEDMAN” as in “My party doesn’t need me any more”.

  122. supercededman said

    p.s. Supercededman sort-of fits well with The Man of Steel, doesn’t it? LOL.

  123. Alan said

    How about NAR -from the little signs they put over the beds of those with a short prognosis in coronary care units- meaning Not for Active Resuscitation?

  124. PASOK said

    Looks like Paul Keating has been busy penning a response to Albrechtsen’s bile instead of working on our project.

  125. Rx said

    Might as well rub it in.

    Brendan Nineson

  126. George said

    Yeah, just read the Keating piece in the Australian too Pasok. Wasn’t bloody delicious!?

    And the stupid f@ck Albrechtsen couldn’t resist and file an immediate (mindless) response in the Oz. The day the bigoted cow drops off will be the day I hire the local for a mega drink-fest!

  127. oyster said

    niner nelson

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  130. Jilly May said

    And the Morgan Gallup has always been skewed…never trust market research results.

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