Ok, over the past few weeks, the following things have happened:
- The Liberals considered getting rid of Tony Abbott.
- Phil Ruddock was dumped as the Whip.
- Abbott told us that he’d lost confidence in a woman in an important position, and wanted to replace her, and while, it’s not clear with whom he’d replace her, I’d be willing to bet that a man would get the job.
Mm, I’m wondering which of those was the reason for the bounce in the poll.
But as I’ve often argued, opinion polls are a bit like a horse race where not only are we viewing the horses a long way from the from the finish line, but we only get to see a small number of the horses.
“Wow, that one looks to be travelling well,” says the pundit, completely ignoring that not only is it fifty lengths behind the leader, but it’s also known as being unable to last the distance in racing of this length.
Whatever, I haven’t caught up with any news today – unless you count reading “The Herald-Sun” at work, which means that should stop reading this right now or you’ll end up with a headache – so I have no idea which anonymous person is being quoted as saying that Abbott has…
- …until the middle of the year to turn things around. OR
- …until the middle of March to turn things around. OR
- …until the party room meeting to turn things around. OR
- –the total support of the party now that he’s turned things around. OR
- …no chance of surviving a vote right now because he makes too many captains call. No wait, I mean captain’s calls. Whatever, this is off the record, so print it anyway and I’ll just hope that nobody can pick me from all the other Minister’s who stuff things up when they speak… Don’t put that bit in about me being a Minister, that’s a dead giveaway.
But I’m nothing if I’m not inconsistent. When the media was constantly speculating about Julia Gillard by quoting unnamed sources, I thought it reprehensible, and reduced political journalism to little more than a gossip column. However, now that it’s Abbott turn, I find it absolutely right that we should be told what people may or may not have said and what they’re alleged to have said. And, of course, they can’t actually claim that they didn’t say anything because they don’t know if it was, or wasn’t them, being quoted, because if they were misquoted, then for all they know, the journalist may quoting another anonymous source high up in the Liberal Party.
As a source high up in the Liberal Party said to me last night, over drinks,as we lounged together sharing a quiet, but beautiful moment, where he (or she) pretended that they were disadvantaged and I did to him (or her) what they’ve done to the underpriveleged, “That was wonderful. I really think that you’d make a better PM than Abbott, but unfortunately the people of Australian get to elect the PM and it’s not up to the Party room to change that, because after all being Leader is a gift of the Party and could you please get me another drink and the Whip?”
Now, I know some of you won’t believe that anyone actually said that to me. But I’ll bet that nobody can find a single Liberal who’ll tell you that the above quote is what they didn’t say to me, so you certainly can’t find anyone to verify that I’m misquoting them.
And I guess that’s the problem with quoting anonymous sources. Yep, in some situations it’s necessary because they’re giving you factual information that can be verified with a little digging, but they have too much to lose or are too frightened to say it publicly, so they brief a journalist in the hope that it’ll lead to the truth coming out. But when the news cycle is dominated by quotes from people whose identity we’ll never know, and whose information may either be giving the journalist details about what’s really going on, or it may be someone attempting to create a view or belief that leads to an event actually happening.
What value is there if we’re told that Turnbull has the numbers to win a spill, Abbott has most people behind him, and most Liberals are behind Bishop as a Leader who could act as a “healer”?
The fact that there are so many “majorities” in the Liberal Party means that many of them can’t add up and certainly goes a long way towards explaining their difficulty in getting the Budget back into surplus.
Ok, I’m now going to do a search on “Abbott News” and post the first headline that appears. Let’s see if it’s a story on the Leadership Challenge, a bold, new initiative to help Australia in some way, or just something negative.
And the winner was:
The second was:
Cheers, I need to go and touch base with my source, who I predict will tell me that Abbott is safe until he loses an election. Either in the party room or at a general election. Until then he’ll remain as PM.