People who know me well will certainly tell you that I am not shy in giving my opinions about most matters but typically when I write publicly I tend to stick to the areas where I have expert knowledge i.e. medicine. But, I cannot allow the political upheaval of the last 12 years to hopefully now settle without making some comments about something that has hardly been mentioned since the return of the LNP government.
Since the dumping of the Howard government in 2007, we have had 6 prime ministers in this country. In my view, the major reason for this is the ridiculous and unquestioned acceptance of opinion poll results. At least every fortnight, but at times more often, opinion polls were released by a variety of different companies typically suggesting the opposition, whether it be Liberal or Labor were ahead, while, typically, the Prime Minister was the preferred Prime Minister over the Opposition Leader at the time. In the most recent election, we were all convinced that there would be an overwhelming victory by the Labor party pushing the Liberal National party into oblivion.
I vividly remember hearing a few years ago, a senior member of the Labor party, who is an expert in American politics, talk at a function suggesting that it was close to impossible for Donald Trump to win the American election. The opinion polls in America suggested a likely victory for the Democrats and, of course, the rest is history. If experts in the area are convinced of the outcome of any particular situation are wrong, how can a poll of 2–3000 people offer us any type of accuracy about what is happening in the political sphere. How can such a small sample really show the mood of the general population?
As a practising doctor, I see multiple people on a daily basis and as there was so much discussion about the upcoming election, in my straw poll of 100s of people I must say I spoke to 5 people who told me there were voting for the Labor party, 2 of whom were members of the Labor party, one being a retired Labor Senator with his wife, who herself has been a NSW Labor candidate and staffer over the years, and the man at the polling booth on election day handing out Labor “how to vote” cards in my very conservative electorate of Bradfield. You could very easily say that where I live and practice in the upper north shore of Sydney: what would you expect? But, I would suggest this is exactly the same for opinion polls. You cannot extrapolate the results of 2–3000 people to the rest of the population and clearly the recent election has demonstrated this fact.
But, I must suggest there should be a degree of outrage amongst the general public that for the past 12 years we have had 6 different prime ministers purely because people and politicians have been sucked in by the results of these clearly flawed and inaccurate opinion polls. I suspect most of the pollsters have their collective heads hiding behind a tree somewhere but I am sure over the next week or 2 when the country (hopefully) gets back to normal that the polls will start rolling out, yet again. Let us face it, it is their job description and that is what they do. But, I put the plea to all political parties & journalists to now completely ignore the results of these ridiculous polls as they should have no further bearing or influence on the political scene in this country. It is my view that whichever government and prime minister is elected by the people should be allowed to govern for the allocated time given and, short of some serious medical disaster, should not be challenged by anyone. We voted for them in majority and therefore we should enjoy the benefits or suffer the consequences.
Regardless, I sincerely hope there is a serious backlash against all pollsters because they have clearly almost created a banana republic in this country forcing us to tolerate 6 different prime ministers (if you include the return of Kevin Rudd in his second go) over a 12 year period. I, for one, am totally sick of this disruption and would like to see a stable country whether it be run by the Liberal party or the Labor party.