Apology & clarification

In the post “Dirty politics: A response” I incorrectly stated that the Australian political consultant Lynton Crosby had used push-polling to spread a “total lie”. I was, as Crosby’s lawyer notes, relying on an article in the British newspaper The Guardian which itself was incorrect.

I am always more than happy to apologise if I have got anything wrong, and do so unreservedly in this case, to Lynton Crosby.

Edit: Mr Crosby’s lawyer has helpfully clarified that the push-polling incident in Canberra was conducted by Roy Morgan on the instructions of the Liberal Party, and infers that the ABC National Radio report is incorrect in at least some of its details. Readers are therefore advised that they (and I) cannot rely on the details contained in the ABC report.

Crosby’s lawyer also states that, “Mr Crosby’s predecessor Andrew Robb was the Liberal Party representative who was sued by Sue Robinson. My understanding is that Mr Robb denies that there was pushpolling in any event.”

Interestingly, an ABC National radio report (transcript here) in 1999 reported that, “Background Briefing has obtained documents and videotapes revealing much about the work of Mark Textor and his colleagues. Textor was first accused of push-polling in the Northern Territory when he was part of the Country-Liberal Party’s Campaign Committee in 1994. Only two months ago, we understand, both Mark Textor and Andrew Robb paid about $80,000 to settle a push-polling legal case in Canberra, brought against them by Labor’s Sue Robinson.”

Also, “Only two months ago, both Robb and Textor had to apologise to Labor’s Sue Robinson as part of their legal settlement in another case of push-polling in 1995. Background Briefing has obtained the apology letters from Andrew Robb and Mark Textor, both issuing their deep regrets at any harm caused to Sue Robinson’s reputation.”

It was the Canberra case to which I was referring. According to the ABC programme, the push-pollsters asked inter alia “Would you be more or less likely to vote for Sue Robinson and the Labor Party if you knew she has publicly stated that she supports the right to abortion up to the ninth month of pregnancy?”

It would seem that I should have referred to Textor, especially given that the ABC was not sued by Messrs Robb and Textor. I am emailing Crosby’s lawyer pointing out that his “understanding” seems to be at variance with the ABC report.


22 Responses to “Apology & clarification”

  1. ak Says:

    Well done Pete, don’t be intimidated by hired goons – can’t wait for his reply, please keep us posted. That question is indicative of the utterly reprehensible and stop-at-nothing tactics that the Right will always stoop to: Orewa One’s blatant racism and the unprecedented “tax-cut” bribe from last election are but two recent examples. I shudder to think how many similar push-poll questions have been used over the years that have not been made public…….could explain the current polls.

  2. adamsmith1922 Says:

    I am sorry that you have had a legal difficulty.

    Regarding the immediately prior comment over ‘tax cut bribe’ at the last election, just what was Working for Families and wiping interest on student loans – other than a bribe.

    Both parties ‘bribe’, it is merely a question of how they do it
    regarding stop at nothing tactics, I think ak must have his head in the sand, because Labour have been just as free with stop at nothing tactics, such as Mallard claiming last election that National’s policy was written in Washington.

  3. Oliver Woods Says:

    Go hard against Crosby & Textor! Corporate thugs, whether online or offline, silence their critics far too often like this pretending to behave within the law.


  4. MacDoctor Says:

    Congratulations, Pete. Your first forced retraction (DO NOT try saying that after a couple of pints). I believe that now officially makes you a journalist… 🙂

  5. ak Says:

    Labour have been just as free….

    Gis a break adam – try and imagine you’re an unbiased observer for a just a sec and have another look at that question:

    “Would you be more or less likely to vote for Sue Robinson and the Labor Party if you knew she has publicly stated that she supports the right to abortion up to the ninth month of pregnancy?”

    (when she hadn’t, of course)

    Gimme an example of something Labour’s done that even approaches that level of filth and I’ll make a donation to the National Party tomorrow.

  6. ric lucas Says:

    Dear Mr [Jafapete]

    I had to laugh at the suggestion that because the ABC was not sued, that means it must have got things right.

    Does that mean that even though you got things badly wrong, that’s not established until we send you a writ?

    For the record, the Sue Robinson poll was conducted by an independent pollster, Roy Morgan, instructed by the Liberal Party. It was not pushpolling, but an attitudinal survey based on a small sample (.006 of the electorate). Some of the information tested was wrong, due to a mistake by the Liberal Party, which paid all the compensation as a result.

    Yours faithfully

    Ric Lucas

  7. ak Says:

    Oh yeah ric – fair enough, a mistake by the Libs. All sweet and above board then.
    Just like you’ve accidently exposed Pete’s name I suppose.
    Lovely people these righties….

  8. Ed Snack Says:

    How about : National gets its orders from a US Bagman ak ? Straight from Mallard, a total fucking lie, and especially amusing seeing how Labour received a large donation from someone overseas living in a tax haven who asked to be appointed a consul as payback ! Also how about stealing $800K from the taxpayer, stating that you will include that amount in your election return to the Electoral Commissioner (which would have tipped them $800K over their limit, bringing an electoral petition down on them), and then not declaring it. Another blatant lie from Labour, and one that would have swung the election. How about Clark’s lies about Doone ? Nasty stuff from a nasty, vindicative, and small minded party intent on keeping power at any cost, so that their particular pecadillos won’t be exposed, like Cunliffe’s (and Anette Kings) over the HBDHB.

    Just send the money to National HQ, they will know how to use it.

    Ed, Glenn didn’t “ask” for an appointment as consul as a payback. In fact, he is well qualified to fill that role, and I recall more than one element of the conservative media noting just that. He has also been a very generous benefactor to NZ education.

  9. adamsmith1922 Says:

    Actually AK you are, in my view, misconstruing what I wrote. I did not address the push/polling issue, as I have no knowledge one way or another. What I did address was your statement:-

    stop-at-nothing tactics that the Right will always stoop to: Orewa One’s blatant racism and the unprecedented “tax-cut” bribe .

    You assume that the Right is dirty by definition, when the left is often just as bad.

    Whilst I do not agree with racism, and consider that the Orewa speech in that regard can be interpreted in a number of ways, my view would be that the issue of election bribes of one sort or another is an aspect of electioneering indulged in by all parties.

    Your one eyed attitude is just really rather puerile.

    Oh, and by the way I believe that it was established at the 2005 election that Labour sought to mislead Housing Corporation tenants into believing that National intended to evict them.

    In the context of the Sue Robinson poll it was not CrosbyTextor it would appear and if the incident occurred I do not condone it.

  10. ak Says:

    So Ed, nothing at all to compare with the clear example of downright filth I gave other than the usual well thrashed-over crap, bile and profanity we’ve been hearing for years. Boring, buddie – sooo 2007.

    adam: how did I misconstrue Labour have been just as free with stop at nothing tactics?

    and your latest the left is often just as bad.?

    All I asked for is an example of Labour doing something just as bad. Or even close.

    And like Ed you have failed to supply one that comes anywhere near. But thanks, at least you condemn the obviously inexcusable, and are not half as toxic as poor old Ed. (just the wee “puerile” dart – hehe if only you knew how off you are there!)

  11. jafapete Says:

    Hey, thanks for your contributions, but can we keep the tone reasonably respectful.

    We will all continue to disagree about this, no doubt, but I hope that at least some people on the right now have a clearer understanding of how we see things on the left.

    The closest example to the dirty tricks so often used against us is, I think, the “eviction notice”. But my understanding is that it was a picture of what an eviction notice would look like contained in a pamphlet. And if Clark had meant that Labour reserves the right to push-poll in response to use of this tactic by its opponents, I think that she should have made that clearer. We lose the high moral ground even if we would never stoop to dog whistling racists, etc.

  12. ruth Says:

    bollocks jaffa

  13. Adolf Fiinkensein Says:

    Oh no! Two retractions is one day?

    Anybody who relies on anything from the ABC is a mug. Anyone who relies of the ABC AND the Guardian is a two handled mug. They’ve been rabidly anti conservative for over forty years, regarding themselves as the electronic antipodean cringe version of The Guardian.

    You shoulda stuck to NZ Truth.

  14. AndrewE Says:

    A two handled mug! What a great description. 🙂

  15. Inventory2 Says:

    ak – you accuse Adam Smith of politicial bias – do you need to look in the mirror at yourself?

  16. Inventory2 Says:

    JP – didn’t the left lose the moral high ground when the Labour Party misused taxpayer funds in the 2005 election campaign after having assured the Chief Electoral Officer that they wouldn’t?

    Nice try. That so many parties fell into that hole should alert you that the reality was never that straight forward.

  17. Blog Bits | Kiwiblog Says:

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  18. tracey Says:

    Hey Adolf, for a moment I thought you were describing the NZ herald

  19. Paul Litterick Says:

    Well done; I expect this will be the first of many attempts by these lawyers to bully anyone who criticises their client.

    Thanks Paul. He was a very polite bully, I thought.

  20. illuminatedtiger Says:

    And the right claim to be for free speech?

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