Tim Blair


New Criterion



Monday, August 18, 2003
ANOTHER HETERODOXY rejected by Pastor Lane is democratic process. In yesterday's sermon, repeated today, the Pastor takes Ron Roberts, the President of the South Australian Legislative Council (the State's upper House), to task for daring to disagree with the results of some deliberative polling conducted in that State recently.

Now, Uncle is a strong supporter of deliberative polling and practices it regularly on ABCwatch. The best thing about it is that the results are never surprising. Which is not surprising, when you consider the methods employed.

The Pastor's attack on the chief of the undemocratic swill in South Australia's upper House was dented by his inability to read the results of the "poll". In brief, he got them a*se up.

But his point was, the politicians should respond to the popular demand for Citizen-Initiated Referendums (CIR).

Is this kind of "direct democracy" what the people really want? Certainly the anti-semitic League of Rights wants it, as do the even nuttier Larouchists.

Leaving aside the details of the questions posed during this state-sponsored rort oops deliberative poll, as we must since the Pastor throws all into confusion, consider how the organisers of this exercise got their democratic sample inside the door of the conference room.

1201 persons were selected "randomly" from the electoral roll.

Those who couldn't give a stuff had to be put aside, leaving 809.

Following interview, or other kinds of selection, another 486 were side-lined, leaving 323.

Even Uncle would blush to admit to such a process.