22 Oct. 2007

The Tragedy Of Non-Marginal Seats

Tony Abbott dismisses today's Newspoll:
"This poll is radically at odds with the experience we have had in the streets as government members over the last couple of weeks," Mr Abbott told ABC Radio.

Mr Abbott said private political polling delivers a more accurate representation of public opinion.

"The private polling is somewhat better than the published polls of a week or so back," he said.
Can it be true? Dennis Sham-I-am chants a similarly dismissive mantra, claiming "paradoxes remain in the polling":
The national polling, even with some decline last week in the published polls, remains at odds with the published polls in marginal seats.

What is clear annihilation for the Coalition in general polling is not being repeated in published polls in some marginal seats in Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania...

[Rudd]’s on a roll and the public likes the alternative sausage on offer but crucial marginal seat and issues polling suggests Rudd’s team and friends aren’t as popular as him.
You see? Who cares about public opinion polls, unless the public is in a marginal seat? Howard can lose the majority of the national vote (again) and yet still hold the Lodge. And that's all that matters, right? That's Democracy(TM)!

So according to Abbott and the Shamster, the only polls that matter are in the marginal seats. The Coalition Conga Line is out there dancing through the streets of the marginal electorates, tossing out wads of cash, kissing babies, and catching it all on camera.

Meanwhile, people like me, who live in "safe" seats, enjoy a tragic lack of real choice. In fact, these "safe" seats are routinely ignored by the media, often go all but uncontested as the major parties channel their funds into battles they think they can win, and sometimes suffer a chronic lack of government investment on things like roads, schools and hospitals.

I live in the electorate of Moncrieff on the Gold Coast. Now, some folks are saying that Queensland will be critical to the coming election results. Well, here's the abysmal choice I face on polling day:
The sitting Liberal MP is Steven Ciobo, who won a bitter pre-selection for this safe Liberal seat before the 2001 election, even being sued for libel by former MP Kathy Sullivan for remarks he made at a branch meeting. After defeating former Gold Coast Mayor Ray Stevens and ex-National Party Senator Bill O'Chee for pre-selection, Ciobo settled his action with Sullivan, with a bit of head-banging help from John Howard, and went on to easily win the seat at the 2001 election. With degrees in commerce and law, Ciobo worked on the staff of Senator Brett Mason (*) before his election.
Ciobo is a former President of the Queensland Young Liberals who worked as a consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers before going into politics. At the age of only 33, he holds one of the safest Liberal seats in Australia.
His Labor opponent is Sam Miszkowski, the director of an investment and mortgage brokering firm, and also a former CEO of the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce Queensland, President of the Gold Coast Jewish Community Council, and a former President of Brisbane’s Temple Shalom. He has an Associate Diploma in Industrial Relations and is a member of the Australian Institute of Management.
Great, just what Australian politics needs - even more pro-business, pro-Israeli politics! As Miszkowski himself wrote:
There are significant differences between the Liberal and Labor Parties but they are not about Israel.
As stated previously, I will be voting Green (again).

(* Senator Brett Mason is the man who employed former blogger international de celebre Arthur Chrenkoff to create his notoriously one-sided pro-war propaganda. Interestingly, Senator Mason has a PhD in criminology, a subject which also fascinates Chrenkoff. I wonder how they got to know one another.)