The so-called "great debate" on Nine on Sunday night was interesting but the posted results of those voting online can, in no way, be considered accurate.
First, the questions posed were not to a random sample of Australian voters (as a normal independent poll would be) but depended totally on those interested enough to vote online.
That alone would have ruled out the thoughts of many older voters. Second, the resultant figure of six per cent for undecided voters is completely out of whack with the 25 to 26 per cent of undecided voters published from other polls for weeks now.
That too shows considerable bias in the result. At the end of the broadcast 60 Minutes did say that the poll was not scientific, which was undoubtedly an understatement, but did not attempt to qualify that in any way.
Unfortunately, the greatly skewed result may give undecided voters the wrong idea of who is winning.
One could also question where Nine was coming from in framing this debate.
Net result? As any person versed in polling techniques and statistics would tell readers, the results posted are strongly biased and are virtually of no relevance to the probable result of the election.
In the second debate between Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Labor Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese on Sunday night Scott Morrison began the descent into interruptions, forcing both leaders to shout over each other, and the moderator.
Mr Morrison also often failed to answer questions from the panel of three journalists, instead repeatedly reciting his government's "proud achievements", often so quickly that he - perhaps deliberately - caused confusion.
Mr Albanese was sometimes hesitant, and could not reel off the numbers as quickly as his opponent; but he stayed on message.
To my mind, his only significant failure was his lack of emphasis on Labor's much-vaunted climate change policies.
Mr Albanese by a whisker.
Scott Morrison has again claimed that his slow approach to approving COVID vaccines was to ensure they would work safely for Australians.
What I missed in the leaders' debate was the PM's explanation of how Australians are physiologically different from Americans, the British, the Europeans and others given that vaccines were tested and approved by all of them well before our government agencies were even given access to them.
If the vaccines were safe and workable on people elsewhere why wouldn't they have been okay here? So much time was wasted by Morrison and company's dilly-dallying. It was a race and they came last.
I have to agree with John Walker (Letters, May 8) on consultants and outsourcing. It was always obvious that it would be more expensive to use consultants, as they have to bring in a profit over and above the cost of providing the service.
Anyone who can balance a budget would know this. Clearly then, the push for outsourcing was never about saving money, but about getting money to people you want to please, in exchange for some sort of influence or future benefit.
Having worked as a specialist consultant and alongside consultants in the federal public service it is clear that the main thing consultants are required to deliver is obedience and compliance with the whims of the senior public servant, often where this is not in the interests of the organisation, the wider public service or Australian taxpayers.
It is time the public woke up to this rort and ended it.
It is way too costly and getting more expensive every day. The contracts signed are often not in the interests of the public, poorly structured and poorly managed due to lack of understanding of commercial operations and how business works.
We need to properly educate our public servants, including providing people management skills, critical analysis skills and the confidence to challenge poor policy knowing that their role is to serve the public and not just the minister of the day.
They cannot be frank and fearless without protection from those who just want "yes" men.
Alexander Gillespie regards the visit of UN secretary general Antonio Guterres to Moscow in an attempt to achieve a settlement of the war in Ukraine as a failure, even a failure to live up to the UN's founding ideals ("Danger as Russia begins to lose war", canberratimes.com.au, May 7).
This judgment is harsh. It is unfair to blame the UN for not achieving something that was not within its power to achieve.
The reasons for the inability of the UN, and its predecessor the League, to carry out the function for which they were created, were first analysed in a discussion by two of the great intellects of the 20th century back in 1932.
The League had asked Albert Einstein to discuss a topic of his own choice with another, and the subject he chose was the remit of the League: "Is there any way of delivering mankind from the menace of war?" He chose Sigmund Freud for the discussion.
Their interesting analysis can be found by googling "Einstein, Freud, why war".
This was an optimistic time, before Japan invaded Manchuria, before Mussolini invaded Ethiopia, before anyone had heard of General Franco, and before Hitler had come to power.
Yet neither Einstein nor Freud felt optimistic. The central point, emphasised by both, was that the League had not been given the power, i.e. the sufficient military strength, to carry out its job, because its founding members refused to yield it.
As Gillespie says, the use of the veto has stymied action time and again. It is hard to find an acceptable remedy for this flaw. This is a problem for the next generation, for a solution to the problem of war is vital.
Keith Simpson (Letters, May 2) observes "alpha males have been beating their chests about AUKUS and nuclear powered submarines and security in our time (well a couple of decades hence perhaps)".
Fear not, I await the announcement that a few older Vanguard Class (nuclear powered) submarines will soon make their home here, while construction of the Dreadnought class proceeds. (Likewise perhaps some used Ohio class boats from the USA).
Whether this is a prudent response to the possibility of military bases appearing on Solomon Islands is beyond me.
Are you wondering whether your vote for an independent might be better off going to a member of a major party?
Just remember, if the balance of power in the Senate is held by independents, whichever major party wins will be forced to deal with the independents to have their legislation passed.
We have had Coalition governments since the early 1920s when the Country Party, now the National Party was formed. Yet the media continuously refers to Australia having a two-party system, creating the illusion the Coalition (aka the LNP) is a single party.
The agreement between the two parties is not published but we know that the Nationals have a lot of power.
They held the Liberals to ransom on issues such as climate change. The Liberals had to agree to their demands to get a commitment to net zero by 2050 so we wouldn't be totally embarrassed at the recent international talks on climate change.
The threats of the dangers of a Coalition in recent elections therefore are hypocritical.
We have a three-party system. Could the media start to point this out in their reporting?
Your reports last week on the ACT Senate poll of likely voting raises concern for voter intentions ("Teal revolution reshaped ACT Senate race", canberratimes.com.au, April 7).
Katy Gallagher's primary vote apparently has fallen well below the quota of 33.3 per cent compared to the past when she always exceeded the quota. There will be a significant number of former ALP voters, in attempting to ensure that Zed is not elected, primary voting for an independent or the Greens.
This voter needs to be aware that our two ACT Senators are elected by only 66.7 per cent of the total vote after allocation of preferences. Zed's primary vote support is the key to him holding his seat.
If too many ALP voters deflect to directly assist an independent or Greens candidate for this purpose it could be devastating for Katy and result in Zed and an independent or Greens Senator is elected for the ACT.
Former ALP voters need to be cautious with their primary vote intention.
Why does Anthony Albanese want to hold a "full employment summit" when unemployment is about as low as it has ever been? Wouldn't a wages summit make a lot more sense? Or would that be a bit too much like Hawke's National Economic Summit and Prices and Incomes Accord?
I normally don't watch Nine but I watched the debate. The anti-Labor ads in the middle were a bit revealing.
Last time I couldn't watch the election debate because it was on Fox. This time it was on Nine and I could see it - unfortunately. Debates are meant to be a contest of ideas; not pointless argument and personal slanging matches.
"That's your time Prime Minister". "That's your time Mr Albanese". Why did we have to hear Sarah Abo's voice almost every minute during the debate. What happened to the humble bell? Bad planning Nine. I could not cope.
Why must politicians and media analysts refer to change in interest rates as "20 basis points"? Why not stick to percentages? Is it showing off? It surely does not serve to communicate clearly with the bulk of the population who understand percentages but decided not to explore economics at a tertiary level.
The interest rate has exploded to two per cent and mortgage holders will be devastated. There are many people, now retirees, who had to pay six or eight percent to get a mortgage in the first place and then, by the late 1980s, were paying 17 per cent. And then, instead of getting about four per cent above inflation on their retirement investments, have recently been getting more like four per cent below inflation.
All of the Biloela family need our support to return to their Australian home. Sri Lanka is not safe for Tamils because the country is in turmoil as a result of persistent government corruption.
Timothy Johnson writes (Letters, May 6) that Zed Seselja rests his case for re-election on being "an ordinary suburban bloke", a man of the people ... a daggy dad, perhaps. We'll, we already have one of them in the PM, or so he himself claims. Look where that's gotten us.
Apparently all five Supreme Court justices who appear ready to overturn Roe v Wade lied to Congress about their intentions. Typical. Isn't there any sanction against lying to Congress?
We might have George W Bush to thank for what Putin is doing now. If he had not behaved like a cowboy in Iraq Putin might not be behaving like a cowboy in Ukraine.
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