May 19, 2005 | Graham

Google ranking Queensland Senators

In a recent post I congratulated Queensland Senator Brett Mason on earning a PhD whilst being a full-time senator for Queensland. The post attracted a couple of very heated responses, suggesting that I had hit a raw nerve. While no-one denies anyone the right to further educate themselves part-time while working full-time, an issue could arise for their employer as to whether they are performing satisfactorily. As Brett’s co-employer (along with somewhere around another 3.999999 million Queenslanders) I decided to do some research.
As so much information is now posted to the web, it should be possible to construct a proxy for employee activity, particularly in an area which is a public office, based on the number of appearances that person’s name makes on the World Wide Web. Google have kindly provided a counting tool which will work for this purpose in the top right-hand corner of their search page.
So, to measure the activity of Mason and bench-mark them against his fellow Senators from Queensland, I have done a google search on the following search terms – “[christian name] [last name]” Senator. The first and last names are in inverted commas to avoid bringing up every page where the senators christian name and last name appear, but are in fact unconnected to each other or to the senator. The word senator is included to try to further refine the search.
This methodology is not fool-proof – there will be some names that come up in the search that don’t belong to the senator in question – but the inexactitudes are likely to even out over the total sample.
So, here are the results, ranked in order from most mentioned to least.


Andrew Bartlett 15,600
Ian McDonald 9,690
John Cherry 4,950
Len Harris 1,540
Ron Boswell 929
George Brandis 915
Claire Moore 812
Jan McLucas 707
Brett Mason 683
Joe Ludwig 502
Santo Santoro 413
John Hogg 325

Andrew Bartlett is easily the most mentioned. He will have been assisted by being for a while Democrats leader, but with a figure almost twice the next highest – Ian MacDonald, who has the advantage of being a minister – this is an outstanding result.
It turns out that Brett Mason doesn’t do the worst in what is a very undistinguished field. He’s at the top of the bottom third of the field with 683 mentions, twice that of the plodder of the class, John Hogg, who is on 325.
As a card-carrying member of the Liberal Party, I have a double employment interest in this, and I’d have to say that I am unimpressed that with the exception of MacDonald, the best Liberal Party performer is Brandis at number seven, with both Mason and Santoro towards the bottom of the class.
I also did a google ranking on neophyte senator Barnaby Joyce. Despite not taking up his term for another month and a half, and having only just recently leapt to public prominence, he scores 548 mentions, which puts him ahead of Hogg, Santoro and Ludwig already!
Just to be fair I tried a search on – “Graham Young” Editor – and that scored 520 mentions.

Posted by Graham at 7:07 am | Comments (11) |
Filed under: Australian Politics


  1. Andrew’s probably got the most hits because of his blog!

    Comment by Mark Bahnisch — May 19, 2005 @ 12:44 pm

  2. You’re probably right. There’s no other reason for “Mark Bahnisch” to come up 3,180 times apart from blogs!

    Comment by Graham Young — May 19, 2005 @ 3:43 pm

  3. But by having a blog Andrew is doing a service to his employers and legitimately increasing his media profile. So in that case I don’t think the results are skewed, this is of course measuring a different quantity to what Rehame measures. What happened to the Crikey updates on them?

    Comment by Benno — May 19, 2005 @ 5:12 pm

  4. It does, however, give ambitious representatives an opportunity to boost themselves in the google rankings just by publishing a blog. So if this sort of comparison actually took off as a measure of output we can look forward to many more politician bloggers. I should have done a search on Arthur Chrenkoff, one of Mason’s staffers, to see how he fares. In fact, I just have, and Chrenkoff manages a rating of 97,800 which is a little too close to [“john howard” mp] which is 101,000, and Howard is the top ranked member of the Australian Parliament. Ah, the powers of blogging.
    And I’ve no idea about Crikey and Rehame. I thought they were still doing it.

    Comment by Graham Young — May 19, 2005 @ 6:07 pm

  5. I am guessing but I think that most of the blog related Google hits would be from other bloggers sites. So that the content published needs to be good, rather than just drivel to get your number of mentions up. Otherwise they wouldn’t mention you. For interest my google search on “Andrew Bartlett” senator had 17,900 hits and the same search but for pages without the term ‘blog’ scored 13,700.
    Crikey used to reguarly publish a list of the top forty polticians by media mentions compiled by Rehame as you know. I haven’t seen this list since last year, maybe they only thought it relevant during an ‘lection year, or it has something -I have no idea what- to do with the threatened legal action from both sides.

    Comment by Benno — May 20, 2005 @ 1:24 pm

  6. You may also be interested to know that one of Senator Mason’s employees, Arthur Chrenkoff, maintains a blog and publishes an extensive series of “pro-war “Good News” propaganda pieces.
    How does he find the time?
    I have emailed both the senator and Mr Chrenkoff but no response.
    See my blog at for details and links.

    Comment by gandhi — May 20, 2005 @ 3:44 pm

  7. Yep, we’re right across that Ghandi. Just look a couple of comments down. Mind you, I think Chrenkoff has only recently gone on staff. I also think that staff are entitled to a lot more free-time than their masters – they’re not paid nearly as well.

    Comment by Graham Young — May 20, 2005 @ 5:08 pm

  8. It’s a rudimentary measure (albeit one that makes me look good), but given the occasional mention of politicians having to improve their productivity like everyone else, things like this that examine output is worth assessing. Of course, quantity doesn’t always equal quality.
    In regard to the Rehame Top 40, they ceased putting that out about a month or so ago – I saw an email from them announcing it, but it didn’t anything much by way of a reason. I found it a bit like Google measures – a useful rough guide, (although seeming to be a bit counter-intuitive at times, especially in the middle rankings), but somewhat limited, as it just counted mentions, regardless of whether they were positive, negative, detailed or fleeting.
    FWIW, I dislike his politics but I think Chrenkoff does an admirable job with his blog.
    (of course I’m only responding to this so I can boost my Google count)

    Comment by Andrew Bartlett — May 22, 2005 @ 3:23 pm

  9. On Benno’s point, I wasn’t meaning to imply Andrew blogs just to improve his google ranking. He’s indeed performing a useful service to constituents by blogging, and what’s more, he’s a good blogger.

    Comment by Mark Bahnisch — May 23, 2005 @ 11:00 am

  10. Graham,
    Arthur Chrenkoff has been a Liberal staffer for over 5 years. I thought that he had worked for Brett Mason for the entirety of that time but perhaps he has moved around.

    Comment by Chris — May 23, 2005 @ 2:03 pm

  11. Chris, I’m told that Brett used to joke to colleagues that his staff were writing his PhD. At least I think he was joking! Maybe Chrenkoff has been doing more extracurricular work than just blogging for the last 5 years.
    He’s a good blogger, whatever the case.

    Comment by Graham Young — May 23, 2005 @ 3:15 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.