The Talking Point: Greasy Polls
In this session helmed by Maxine McKew, veteran pollster Irving Saulwick, former Federal Opposition leader John Hewson and journalist George Megalogenis investigate the instructive power of the survey.
Here a poll, there a poll, everywhere a poll, poll. Once upon a time, pollsters would take the political temperature of the population once a month. Nowadays, polls of long standing are published at the rate of one per fortnight and the new media is generating hundreds a day through SMS and online voting. Just how effective and influential are these polls? And what effect are they having on the body politic?
Irving Saulwick AM is one of the country’s leading social researchers. He published the prestigious Saulwick poll for the Fairfax organisation for 23 years (1971 to 1994).
George Megalogenis is an author and journalist with three decades' experience in the media. His books include The Australian Moment, which won the 2013 Prime Minister's Literary Award for Non-fiction and the 2012 Walkley Award for Non-fiction, and formed the basis for the ABC documentary series Making Australia Great. George is also the author of Faultlines, The Longest Decade, Quarterly Essay 40: Trivial Pursuit – Leadership and the End of the Reform Era, Australia’s Second Chance and Quarterly Essay 61: Balancing Act: Australia Between Recession and Renewal.
John Hewson is an economic and financial expert with experience in academia, business, government and the financial system.
He has worked as an economist for the Australian Treasury, the Reserve Bank, the IMF and as an advisor to two successive federal treasurers and the prime minister. He is currently a professor at the Crawford School ANU.
Maxine McKew is an author and Hon Enterprise Professor of the Melbourne Graduate School of Education at the University of Melbourne.
Her most recent book, published by Melbourne University Press in 2014, is Class Act – a study of the key challenges in Australian schooling. This publication followed the success of her memoir, Tales From the Political Trenches, an account of her brief but tumultuous time in the Federal Parliament.