December 07, 2004 | Graham

The whole truth

Lawrence Springborg questioned my integrity on radio this morning. I also received an interesting email from Sean Parnell a Courier Mail journalist who wrote a significantly different story based on the same research.
I’ve issued an invitation to Springborg to put his side of the argument on this site. As yet there has been no response. So, to keep things interesting, not to mention transparent, I am making the whole of the research available here. Read it and you be the judge, but have a look at these points first.
In his interview this morning Springborg said “Graham Young, unfortunately, has been selectively quoting on his web site…between 7 & 8 out of 10 agree with a merger…” I’ve asked his office for a copy of this research.
He then goes on to say “What he didn’t tell you is that of those respondents, the greatest majority said it was a good idea. Around about 38 of the 82. Those that thought it was a bad idea was 25 out of the 82 and those that didn’t know or didn’t care were around about 20. Now, you know, so overwhelmingly, of the people that responded, most thought it was a good idea.” Hmmm. So 70% to 80% agreement has just been more than halved. Lawrence also seems to have problems with maths. You need 42 out of 82 for a majority – how did 38 become a “majority” and what the hell in this context is a “greatest majority”. No matter, by the end of the par Lawrence has turned a minority into an “overwhelming” majority, even though on his count 55 percent either thought it a bad idea or couldn’t care! I think my account is to be preferred.
Later he says “But it also says that what we need to do is we need to be pursuing this – this is what the conclusion also says – a merger that immediately & unequivocally demonstrated Qld now has a cohesive, active, positive & effective Opposition will be well supported.” Not quite. A prize to anyone who can find any statement in this presentation that says that the merger needs to be “pursued”. What it does say is that if you could pull something off that was harmonious it would be accepted. But what are the chances of that? The people sending me leaks aren’t going to stop talking to me and others.
Springborg continues “I spoke to Toby Ralph …and I said, well, would it be better if we were in coalition, would people think we were going to be a better government than what these figures indicate? He said, no, worse. If we’re running alone, worse still.” Well, none of us can be sure what Toby Ralph said to him, but we can be sure what Toby Ralph’s written figures, quotes and assessments say, and nothing like that is in the report. It is such a significant piece of information that I would have thought it should be, if that is what Ralph thinks.
One final quote from Springborg to demonstrate just how threadbare his critique is. “Now, on a Coalition, Graham Young knows full well, we’ve had about 3 or 4 of those in the last 20 years, and they’ve all ultimately failed and why have they failed? Because the squabbling over Seats and who should stand where, and who’s policy should be supreme and all that.” So, Lawrence’s solution is to internalise the problems in one party. How likely is that to be successful?
I’m wondering how many of Springborg’s team have actually seen the whole research, and what they’ve been told. In his email to me Sean Parnell from the Courier Mail said: “I read the research some weeks back and wrote an article on it. My understanding of the findings was that it was an all-or-nothing game for Springborg — if he didn’t bring in a new party free of baggage then the conservatives would basically die in Queensland.” Sean’s an intelligent guy, so the question is what research was he reading? Was it all of the research, or just the “executive summary”? How many people are relying on garbled briefings like the one Springborg gave us all on radio this morning?
After this morning’s interview I put in a call to Toby Ralph. What he would tell me on the record was that an amalgamation would be widely accepted if it could be pulled off, but that it had a “high degree of difficulty”. That’s a term normally applied to gymnastics, or diving. I think Springborg is doing a Louganis.
To be continued…..

Posted by Graham at 4:02 pm | Comments Off on The whole truth |
Filed under: Australian Politics

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