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How come a pathetic government leads in the polls?

“How come?” with almost three terms of pathetic governance is the Morrison government able to maintain such a lead in the polls?

On this very subject, I posted When ‘sorry’ seems to be the hardest word in which I wrote:

“… leaves me with the most puzzling of questions. That being, that at the end of their third term in office, the government will have served close to nine years with three prime ministers. During that time, they have committed numerous severe misdemeanours, including the rejection of climate change. The current prime minister has a list as long as the Flemington straight. So how come his popularity sits at 68 per cent?”

The “How come?” question is a perplexing one that leads to many others.

1 Is it because the people always look to its government in times of crisis for protection and leadership? History proves this to be so.

In Australia Scott Morrison, despite a holiday in Hawaii while parts of the country were going up in flames, became more popular when he gave the COVID-19 virus more of his attention. This is not a phenomenon confined to Australia.

“Leaders of wildly varying characters presiding over differing responses to the pandemic are seeing a similar coronavirus popularity dividend. Emmanuel Macron has become better regarded among the French. Germans are more appreciative of Angela Merkel. Despite the grim state of affairs in Italy, Giuseppe Conte, the leader of its strange coalition government, has seen his approval rating leap from 44% in February to more than 70%. Donald “it’s going to disappear” Trump’s sensationally reckless responses to the crisis have been accompanied by a rise in his ratings. Moon Jae-in, the president of South Korea, has never been more popular.”

During times of crisis, people seem to entrench the leadership they have. However, this only goes some way to explaining the popularity of our Prime Minister. One would have thought that the electorate would have also recognised his contradictions and what he was responsible for. Deaths in Aged care, for example.

2 Might it be that Scott Morrison is a consummate politician? In my view, he has “believability” even when telling the most outrageous lies. When questioned about his lies, he shows the right amount of chutzpah. “What! You don’t believe me?” He is forever confident, (thinks he) knows everything and talks like a machine. He is a “move on politician”, meaning he doesn’t allow mistakes or being found out to linger. He moves on as though nothing happened.

“The Prime Minister has brushed off his failure to gain a speaking role at the Glasgow global warming summit as inconsequential. But the reality is that the Prime Minister and his government continue to fail us.”

Less informed voters, unfortunately, outnumber the more politically aware. Therefore, conservatives feed them all the bullshit they need. And the menu generally contains a fair portion of untruths.

3 Perhaps the people actually believe all the lies Morrison and his ministers tell. When Morrison tells straight out verifiable lies like meeting our carbon emissions in a canter and omits to say that it wouldn’t happen if we couldn’t use our carbon credits, he sounds – to too many people – believable and credible.

Have we reached the point in politics where truth is something that politicians have persuaded us to believe, “Like alternative facts” rather than truth based on factual evidence, arguments and assertions?

4 Another reason might be that all the propaganda by the Murdoch press over the years has worked. Murdoch media has been doing Labor over for so long in saying the big lie that; “They are bad managers of the economy” that it has become engrained in Australian polity. The Liberal Party, in unison with the Murdoch media, are the masters of the scare.

On the latter, in April last year I wrote about Coalition scare campaigns.

“As is my usual practice, I gather all my information and peruse it before beginning.

I always do a search on Google looking for facts to support my argument and for anything that might complement my own thoughts, or indeed, correct them.

In this instance, I typed in “scare campaigns of the Liberal Party”, and I was not surprised to find that the first three pages were full of links to [verifiable articles written] about Coalition scare campaigns.”

I wanted to show that the Coaltion are the masters of a scare. I also draw from a piece I wrote in 2016 (albeit rehashed).

We live in a time where horrible things are being perpetrated on us. The shame is that we have normalised them and adjusted accordingly.

5 Character assassination techniques do not need to be true:

” ‘Mud sticks’ as they say, and an accusation of wrong-doing is enough to sow the seeds of doubt in the minds of others – witch-hunts, both ancient and modern use such methods.”

Just ask Julia Gillard!

Character is a combination of traits that etch the outlines of a life, governing moral choices and infusing personal and professional conduct. It’s an elusive thing, easily cloaked or submerged by the theatrics of politics. But unexpected moments can sometimes reveal the fibres from which it is woven.

6 The people reject Labor on the assumption that Albanese won’t make a leader yet he is arguably the most squeaky clean politician in the parliament.

In the recipe of good leadership, there are many ingredients. Popularity is but one. It, however, ranks far below getting things done for the common good.

In 2019 it was evident that Bill Shorten ran a good campaign with progressive policy and looked the winner. However, Morrison won because a) he showed a confident manner, he lied about anything he could get away with, and b) mainly because people had their doubts about Shorten. Although Morrison hadn’t been in the job for long, he was well-known. He had been Immigration Minister, Social Services Minister then Treasurer and finally Prime Minister. Shorten was merely a trade unionist with a shady past, apparently.

As for the Prime Minister, in the last Essential survey for the year:

“Morrison ends 2020 comfortably ahead of his opponent as better prime minister 50% to 24%. Still, the prime minister’s standing on that measure dropped three points in a month, with more voters moving to the ‘don’t know’ column (26%). The poll’s margin of error is plus or minus three points.”

It needs to be remembered, in Albanese’s defence that it is difficult for any opposition to get a word in at the best of times, but during a worldwide corona crisis, it’s almost impossible.

The answer to the question I pose; “How come?” lays somewhere in the supplementary questions. Or even in a combination of two or all. However, the reader might have other ideas on why the left is so often defeated by mediocracy.

My thought for the day

I found it impossible to imagine that the Australian people could be so gullible as to elect for a third term a government that had performed so miserably in the first two. And to think that it has amongst its members some of the most devious, suspicious and corrupt men and women but they did.


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  1. Joe Carli

    Quote from Sgt. Schultz in “Hogan’s Heroes”…: “Efferybody wants to be a big-shot.”… Oz, so many want to be “effluent, mum, effluent!”….want to be “middle-class” and so vote with personality politics intentions….why, even on this site there are those who are confused as to WHAT CLASS they even belong to!!

  2. Joe Carli

    Then there are those “on the left” who have invested their retirement payouts or super in property or stocks and shares and so feel compelled to “protect their interests” voting accordingly…

    I’m afraid that while the “true left” may be a vocal voice for social change, they are these days a vocal but minority voice at elections….we all saw how easily the LNP funded, “Bob Brown’s Adani Convoy” cut into the heartland of Labor in QLD’ was intended ..we saw even union reps’ dancing an almost erotic bacchanalian adoration under the election banner of Pauline Hanson in the mainstreet of Claremont last election…class traitors..

    No, Mr. Lord…wonder no more at why, but rather weep for the loss of working-class identity politics among the poor and vulnerable, for even many of these seem to believe it is only a matter of opportunity before they too will join the ranks of the billionaire’s club.

  3. John Lord

    Some truth in that Joe.

  4. daniel brown

    I tend to think that the current psychological condition of voters hasn’t happened overnight, this has been apart of an act of successive but consistent and unrelenting drive by political groups, media, major corporate interests that although most would say began from reagan/thatcher era (but probably even further even post ww2) was to coerce the mass voting population that “neo-liberal” economics is the best for everyone

    This is fairly well documented in the academia too

    A really good talk by David Greaber an Anthropologist highlighted this in “Renegade inc”
    That we have now a government and a society or perhaps more we have a government that has managed to convince its constituents that a healthy economy is the measure of a healthy society and to manage that economy requires people with the best financial economic skills, and despite the overwhelming evidence this is the opposite people are still voting for it

  5. Yes Minister

    The main reason why SCUMMO is still in office is that Albo is easily the most pathetic ALP leader of all time. NoNotion is nothing more than a cancerous tumour on the arse of the lying nasties and the wilted greens constitute a comparable infection of the ALP

    Until or unless the hoi polloi feel real pain (banks / shops / service / employers / power stations stations closed), apathy / disinterest / delusion will prevail. Starvation is probably the only factor capable of convincing the sheeple to extract their digits.

  6. Bronte ALLAN

    Sadly, this lying, flat earth, right wing, climate change denying, obscenely over paid, happy clapping, robodebt crap introducing, sports rorts continuing, obscene cost of the new airport land in NSW, jailing ( & continuing to do)– so-called “illegal immigrants”, proudly supporting Mudrake & his rags, mining magnates, pastoralists, big business etc etc COALition dickhead, no compassion to any of the fiefighters last summmer STILL gets supported by fat cat, ignorant stupid redneck Australians to keep on being in power! WTF??

  7. Matters Not


    How come a pathetic government leads in the polls?

    If that be true, then perhaps a better political question might be –

    How come the Opposition lets a pathetic government lead in the polls?

    Or maybe both questions are the wrong ones? Are voters at fault here? Or are they right and the commentators in error? Don’t we have faith in democracy? Where is the trust? Etc

  8. Gangey1959

    Between he lies being told in both directions by the mainstrem media about the two main parties, and fat clive’s yellow boards of bullshit, Labor didn’t stand a chance in 2019. Then bobby set forth for the north, and really set the cat amongst the pigeons.
    They still don’t while the voldemurdoch press continues on it’s merry way. For example, the day after the last day of Parliament , and after the guvv’m’nt brought down their omnibus anti worker legislation, Victoria’s h/s headline screamed “Andrews cancels Australia Day”. Nothing about how close to being screwed to the wall by employers Australian workers are getting. Not a single fucking word. Just a pile of garbage from blot and cretin about how the state Premier is considering cancelling the Australia Day march in the interests of Public Safety. (Personally, I would have thought that this year would be an opportunity to cancel some pubic holidays in the interests of helping employers while not shafting us workers at the same time, but apparently that is not worth reporting)
    If the msm put half of the effort that was expended into having Julia Gillard removed via bad press headlines into reporting the bullshit, lies and corruption of scottyfromadvertising and his mates, even over the last two years, his name would be irretrievably muddied, but nooo, he is the golden boy and even with the IQ if a dried dog turd he can do no wrong. Lord voldemurdoch has decreed it to be so.
    Heaven help Australia, because our federal dealers don’t give a Rats Arse.

  9. Geoff Andrews

    All of the above PLUS a bland opposition leader & front bench.
    Who is the Shadow Minister for the environment; the aged, “border protection”? I know the names of many on the front bench but not their portfolios. And, yes, they don’t get a fair run in the right wing media (and only a sniff in the rest) but making themselves visible is part of the job.
    With a reported 70% of the population wanting firm action on global warming, the opposition farts about with well reported internal divisions on this very topic while the gummint sets an obviously impossible target that they aim at in the opposite direction.
    Our successful leaders in the past – Whitlam, Hawke, Rudd, Keating – all displayed wit, character and intelligence. They spoke with authority and self confidence. One smiled at their sarcastic phrases that still echo. It may be that the lack of inspiration can be traced to the “back room boys” – the strategists & research, PR people, media advisers speech writers. I think they were missing in action or overruled last election. The most encouraging thing I’ve seen the last couple of months was an address by Albo to the National Press Club where he spoke with uncharacteristic passion and not a little humour and turn of witty phrase.
    And why don’t Labor & the Greens stop sniping at each other?

  10. Ross

    Paul Keating like Morrison won an “unwinnable” election. Keating and labor were a relatively competent government but they still lost the next election. The current incompetent and deeply corrupt coalition government has had three terms; a fourth is by no means assured. It doesn’t take much for the great unwashed to savagely turn on a Prime Minister and his government.
    As both John Howard and Paul Keating found out.

  11. Terence Mills

    The survey that appeared to show that Australians were happy with the government was The Citizen Experience Survey, done regularly and nationally, measures public satisfaction, trust and experiences with Australian public services.

    Note, it is led by the PM’s department and the results were released by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

  12. New England Cocky

    The answer to your polling question is in the sampling. Anyone can publish results but unless you see the actual data sheets used to collect the sample opinions there is always doubt.

    Obviously the best way to skew results is to follow the “My solution is my hypothesis” methodology working backwards usually gives the preferred answer. I mean, what polling corporations prefers to be paid for repeat business rather than have a single accurate polling result?

    @Bronte Allan: Now, now you will take GG’s crown for accurately describing the abysmal scumbags that Australian voters elected to Palriament as the biggest self-inflicted wound of the 21st century.

    @Terence Mills: I think Blind Freddie can see your logic especially as the DPM&C now controls the survey and Freddie was a student colleague of mine.

  13. David Stakes

    And a good chance they will get another term, think he will go in March for an election. Then out will come the nastys.

  14. Henry Rodrigues

    All of the opinions and observation expressed above are plausible and probably accurate for the most part. But in my mind, the reason why australians still vote for a government so corrupt, incompetent and self serving is near the same reason why 72m americans voted for a criminal a few weeks ago. They vote for the sort of person that they feel they are. Plus, fistfuls of cash , tax cuts for the entitled, rorts with taxpayer money, showering their constituencies with bags of goodies, always help to ease their consciences. And besides the crinkled old bastard can always be relied on to hide their misdeeds and guild the lily when required. These voters wouldn’t recognize honesty if their lives depended on it. Most are probably property investors and don’t give a damn about the rest.

  15. Baby Jewels

    I’ve always said, “They’re laughing at us.” Secondly, I have lost all faith in the intelligence and decency of my fellow Australians with more than 50% accepting lies, spin, corruption, nepotism and cronyism, theft and cruelty as being ok. It is NOT.

  16. Florence Howarth

    IMO Australians are more apt to throw governments out, not Oppositions in. This more has been very successful since Abbott if keeping the focus on Labor. Keeping the focus on Labor by creating the perception Labor can’t be trusted.

    If you want this mob to be thrown out, stop talking about Albanese & Labor. Concentrate on the long list of bungling & corruption of the governments in power since 2012.

    At the end of the day, on election day, it is all about perception.

  17. wam

    As shown by your thought, this post a good dose of gullible ignorance, lord.
    If enough people agreed with your assessment of the last 7 elections scummo couldn’t win. But he did QED
    The key is to frighten enough voters into rejecting labor or LNP.
    It worked in 93 when keating frightened us with his attacks on fightback but hewson STILL couldn’t lose.
    Remember how a last minute error gave us keating but the horror is that it released the lying rodent whose timely lies frightened labor voters.
    There will be no GST, WoMD, children overboard. His luck ran out in 2007 when a rich lemon appeared?
    2019 was shorten’s year but the combo of, speaking after 6 years of virtual silence, unexplained franking credits and boobby’s attack on the adani jobs caused another LNP miracle.
    The covid was another miracle and his handling obliterates his bushfire and incompetence for at leasr 2 elections unless albo’s god can conjure up a miracle scummo will have both houses when the vaccine kicks in next year (or sooner)
    palmer’s influence was minimal, he and phon, got thrashed but the loonies made an EXTRA $3m. How???

  18. Ill fares the land

    Implicit in a very valid question is that we surely have to ask what is it about us that means we are far more likely to believe a lie when it is delivered confidently – in my professional life I saw this over and over again – idiots spouting garbage that was delivered boldly and believed. We were suspicious of Peter Costello and the primary reason I recall was his perpetual smirk and that same supercilious trait in President Shmomo Boofboof is almost seen as endearing. We take no notice of the fact that nothing in Shmomo’s CV points to him being anything other than a bullying, backstabbing charlatan, possessed of an abhorrence of any kind of scrutiny of any of his actions or motives, with no great evidence of high ability and a craving for building a cult-like following to resemble the Hillsong cult, but Shmomo’s flaws are ignored, especially by conservatives, because, it seems to me, he represents their doggedly held values, so his failings are subjugated to the things he stands for, or says he stands for – which include an exploited workforce, more fossil fuel investment, more corruption in government and more favours for wealthy mates. Bear in mind he “cut his teeth” in the apparently corrupted to its core NSW Liberal Party, so it is perhaps, hardly surprising that he adopts the Liberal mantra, now immortalised by Gladys the Virgin Premier – “it isn’t corrupt if you get away with it”. If you read a book titled “7 ways to lose a country” which details how Erdogan has peddled his despotic and crazed right-wing, power-obsessed agenda, it is frightening how many of Erdogan’s techniques are employed by Shmomo. He can’t stage a faux-coup so he can lock up thousands of dissident academics, journalists and judiciary, but he can preside over ever expanding powers being granted to security forces and another bastion of LNP mediocrity, Mr Potato Head, stacking the AAT with 70 Liberal hacks and flunkies (1/3rd of whom have no legal qualifications), attacks on the ABC, his Trump-esque “Canberra bubble” and “I reject the premise of your question” and his own secretive National Cabinet and Cabinet of Cronies, not to mention the speed with which he basically cancelled the Parliament so he could virtually rule by executive decree.

  19. paul walter

    Same type of people who support Trump.

    Not the sharpest tools in the rack (several biological reasons including to do with group mating habits).

    Hence ignorant in their arrogance, arrogant in their ignorance, easily manipulable in an artificially designed and created information desert (they believed in Hanson, for example).

    The oligarchs have much to answer for now that we enter a new climate warming, China-centric world unprepared.

    No doubt more enlightened parents now wonder why they had kids and what will become of them.

    Bronte Allen alluded to some of the more intractable problems in an earlier post, but have welcomed the comments here.

  20. leefe


    At least 90% of it is down to Murdoch and Newscorpse et al. Not that I have any time for Albanese, who is weaker than watered down piss.

  21. Kronomex

    Like I’ve said before, it doesn’t help when Albanese is the best opposition leader the LNP has had in years. Labor has to replace him if they want to have any chance of getting in at the next election.

  22. Matters Not

    At the last election, Labor hoped that Shorten would win. In the coming election, Labor hopes that Morrison will lose. That it’s Time for a Change. It might work. And if it does, Albo will be a dyed-in-the wool conservative.

    Labor hungers for power and once gained will guard ferociously.

  23. paul walter

    The trouble is, in the hunger for power, will Labor remember its actual mission should it by some accident actually acquire government.

    It seems to me, the fundamental change has been that loss of a sense of mission and identity that made it a fine entity within the community. with neoliberalism and careerism and of course relentless pressure to conform from the Murdoch Right, the sense of a vision for the future and of service to the people has some what weakened..a spade is no longer called a spade and quite obnoxious coalition initiatives and policies are now just routinely shepherded through in the cause of some nebulous concept wearing the label “bi partisanship”?

    The overall view or critique that made Labor useful in the cause of improving millions of people’s lives- the idealism generated from an accurate understanding of how society works, seems to be diminished in the sense of an adopting of this need to instead apologise for neoliberalism and instead to develop a set of apologies for Labor not adopting a market centric Social Darwinist view of life.

    Pretending the problem is no longer there is not the answer for a future based on a realistic comprehension of how things really work. That way leads to the sort of dream world that is typified in Australia’s being caught out on issues ranging from Global Heating to China,
    generated by a dumbing down now acquiesced to.

  24. Matters Not

    Yes paul walter – what was once the means (the Labor Party) to an end has now become the end in itself. It’s why what might be called the progressive forces will not unite. Personal ambition displaces the common good. Party above Principle becomes the common sense. A great pity!

  25. paul walter

    Thanks, MN.

    I wasn’t wanting to kick the ALP when the ALP is down, but just wondering if Labor has allowed itself to be side tracked by changes over time then mediated through dishonest influences like Murdoch and the rest with their nasty visionless “red in tooth and claw” interpretation of what life and society and the atomised individual are about.

    Real life assertingvalues to do with community and the emergence of the individual through community rather than the false binary opposition of individual to community and vice versa should be reasserted in the face of the worst excesses of capitalist thinking.

  26. Richard Knowles

    What about the idea that oppositions – not just in Australia – have difficulties grabbing the attention of the populace while we are in a COVID environment?

    Hopefully this is not the case, as democracies need viable oppositions so as to prevent those in government from getting away with things.

  27. Rusty Peak

    The monumental trouble progressives have, besides the Moloch Megamedia’s spew-machine of pro-LNP excrement, is gross ignorance in certain key parts of our voting masses. In particular, in the most intellectually bereft and weird state of Queensland…with my sorry to inner Brisbane educated folk. That benighted state’s voters have a hideous history of being easily duped, led by the nose to their disadvantage, and of listening to whopper crims who realise they have an inside chance to grab a political seat to exploit for personal gain. Gullible and unthinking are two apt words for many (too many) in the outer reaches of the Sheep North. As long as the fetid ghost of master BS spinner, rotten-to-core winner of too many elections King(as in”a roy”) Bjelke-Petersen, roams abroad in every federal electorate over ten kilometres from the Qld coastline, that state’s odd-bods and mental clods will help ensure the LNP slips over the line at general elections. Too much whacko religion reigns in rural-regional Qld, too much simple-mindedness, too much of ears tuned to the cretinous Witch of Ipswich or the repulsive Bloated Clivosaurus and ilk. If by magic we could be delivered from marginals in Queensland, having them pass to the ALP by one or two percent even, a Labor win federally may just be possible. Tilting at windfarms am I!

  28. wam

    Yes bjelkemander was awful. Especially for darwin when we eventually got TV it was radio-waved from brisbane the crook and his crooks were on our screens every day.
    In last year’s election, why did labor sitting members lose the two townesville seats? Why did labor lose two seats in NW Tassie???Without those results labor wins clearly.

  29. 245179

    “Labour is hungry for power”…i actually think the opposite. They have all but run up the white flag, they are fed daily with the exposing of LNP, the lies / rorts / incompetence. It’s pure gold, but albanese is missing, shadow ministers are missing, albanese is photo opping some school fete event. Then just recently chalmers is outed for going to murdochs birthday bash, and charging the expenses to voters. So he has now outed his friendship towards evil. ( Murdoch ) And further revealed his wife is a Murdoch editor…….say no more.
    Voters have become desensitised to LNP’s lies, maybe to the point of accepting the lies, the rorts etc……Oh LNP at it again, bloody hell, I’m going to the fridge for a beer.
    ALP the organisation, must be in a locked room, not hearing the cry’s for leadership change, folks are seeking a leader with mongrel to attack the corrupt LNP, and albanese is not one.

  30. Caz

    The government has a one seat majority. The pollls got the last election wrong. The virus has changed the way oppositions have to work with the government not against them. People won’t forgive or forget Robodebt and the possibility of all welfare benefits on the cashless card. It’s too early for Labor’s electioneering. They just need to have good policies up their sleeves. I suggest climate change, refugee, freedom of information and mature dealings with China as a good start.

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