December 08, 2004 | Graham

Lawrence, Lawrence!

Some more gratuitous advice to Lawrence Springborg – if you are going to accuse others of dishonesty be “squeaky clean” yourself.
Lawrence Springborg keeps insinuating that I have done something dishonest in my reporting of his research; and that I cannot be an “independent commentator” because I am “factionally aligned”, as demonstrated in the following transcript from Steve Austin’s show this morning:

Springborg – Steve, just before you go. Yesterday with the issue with Graham Young, On Line Opinion and the merger of the conservative parties –
Austin – yes, his leaked polling he got
Springborg – yeah, the leaked polling and how it had been selectively placed on his web site, well, you might be interested to know that just after I finished talking to you, Mr Young actually rang in to my office & admitted that he had the whole lot of the research which you’d have to then really ask the question why wasn’t it all put on there – the good and the bad, not just the bad in the research.
Austin – we’ll certainly ask him that, Lawrence Springborg, happy to talk to him on that. I did notice that on his web site he has asked you if you would like to respond on his web site. I notice you haven’t done that either?
Springborg – well, we may very well be doing that but what I’m saying is when you’re dealing with issues like this, I mean, somebody that’s factionally aligned, this is what I’m saying, as an independent commentator on these issues, can be somewhat difficult. Now, you know, it was just interesting that he had all the documents. They should have actually been up there not just the bad. We wanted a warts & all assessment of this.
Austin – I notice that you also selectively gave material to some journalist so I guess everyone’s doing it?
Springborg – but the whole issue is I’m happy to show everyone the material but all I’m saying is if you came to me, and those same journalists, I said to them, look, the picture’s not all rosy. The picture is very, very diabolical for both parties and I’ve always said that and the figures show it and that’s proven in the figures.
Austin – well, I look forward to reading your response on his web site and we’ll pursue the issue, thank you.
Springborg – thank you very much, Steve.

In response I’d make the following points.

  • When I rang his office and invited them to place a response on the site I told them that I had a complete copy of the powerpoint presentation of the research. I also told them that I would have put it on the site if I could have been sure that it would not reveal my source. I invited them to put their own copy up on the site because it would not have that issue. I also invited them to provide copies of the other research that Springborg appeared to refer to suggesting 80 to 90 percent approval of the proposition. Springborg’s recounting of the conversation I had with his office so distorts it that I have no hesitation in saying that he is being dishonest.
  • I have not been a “factional player” in the Liberal Party for quite some time. My interactions with politicians are much like any other journalist’s. Even if I were a “factional player” I fail to see what that has to do with anything. Perhaps Lawrence is saying that there is only one right view – his – and anything else is only personal interest or bias. Another good reason for the Liberals to avoid an amalgamated party.
  • If transparency is such a big issue for Springborg, then this research should have been made widely available. Of course transparency isn’t a big issue – the research was undertaken for his own purposes and he would be foolish to make it freely available. His concern appears to be that with the full facts at my disposal I have corrected the public record. In doing that of course I put the alternate case because my job is to ensure, if I can, that the whole truth is available – that includes correcting his spin. Lawrence appears to expect me to do his job as well as my own.
  • The bottom line appears to me to be that Springborg has been using the media to spread a favourable version of research that he has and when confronted with a more complete version he chooses to try to play the man rather than deal with the issues. It’s a good example of why Queenslanders see the Opposition as being pathetic.

    Posted by Graham at 10:48 am | Comments Off on Lawrence, Lawrence! |
    Filed under: Australian Politics

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