Tasmanian Times


Tasmania: soft on corruption

Christian Kerr, Crikey

60% of Tasmanians and 52% of Queenslanders think their state governments are “not effective” in their fight against corruption, a special Morgan Poll (Read it here) has found.
The Tasmanian results follow the recent scandal over TCC — the builder accreditation company part owned by two former Labor ministers that was promised a lucrative business monopoly by former deputy premier Bryan Green.

The Queensland findings will be a significant embarrassment to Premier Peter Beattie’s re-election campaign.

Not only do the locals believe their state government is ineffective. Morgan says, “Significantly, almost one-in-ten (9%) Queenslanders say not only does the Beattie Labor Government ‘not fight corruption but also encourages it’!”

What the Greens reckon:


Peg Putt MHA

Greens Opposition Leader

Friday, 25 AUGUST 2006


ICAC Urgently Needed

The Tasmanian Greens today reiterated their call for the establishment of an Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) in Tasmania after a special Roy Morgan poll found that the percentage of Tasmanians saying that their State government is ineffective against corruption was higher than for any other state.

Greens Opposition Leader Peg Putt MHA outlined that 60% of Tasmanians say the Lennon government is “not effective” against corruption, and just over 1 in 10 Tasmanians (11%) say the Tasmanian Government “does not fight corruption, but also encourages it”.[1]

“High levels of community concern that the Lennon government is ineffective against corruption have been demonstrated and this reinforces the need for an independent body to be established in Tasmania to tackle corruption,” Ms Putt said.

“We have witnessed numerous examples of cronyism from the Lennon government, and a refusal to recognise the need for Tasmanian electoral donation disclosure laws to get financial relationships out in the open,” Ms Putt said.

“Tasmanians want a lift in standards in public life, and the establishment of an ICAC can no longer be stonewalled on the spurious basis that it will cost money.”

“What price do you put on the protection of Tasmanian society from corruption?”

Author Credits: [show_post_categories parent="no" parentcategory="writers" show = "category" hyperlink="yes"]


  1. Rick Pilkington

    August 28, 2006 at 5:17 pm

    Well if you feel that strongly that an injustice has been done Peter don’t waste your time whingeing about it here, give Timmy Cox a call and set the ABC and Gary Morgan straight!

  2. Polly Watch

    August 28, 2006 at 3:14 pm

    The discussion about the sample size of Morgan polls in Tasmania reminds me of the time earlier this year when Hobart’s mayor, never one to miss a photo opportunity, dressed up in all his finery and chains for a photo for the Mockery because a Morgan poll found that he was the most popular mayor in Australia.

    Turns out the sample size was only 26: 18 approved of the mayor, 3 disapproved and 5 couldn’t say.

    Some of those who approved commented that as he is seen at so many functions around town, he must know what they wanted.

    Over many years, members of the public have thought that giving the mayor up to 3 quotas at election time gives them a voice in council!

    In fact this mayor has little voting power because he is part of a block of 5, while a block of 7 votes against almost everything he votes for, demonstrating that public perception and reality are far apart.

  3. Peter Tucker

    August 28, 2006 at 9:42 am

    Last Friday I sent the following item to Crikey, which it may or may not publish:
    “Regarding the Christian Kerr item Friday 25 August: ‘Queensland, Tasmania soft on corruption – Morgan Poll.’ Christian Kerr’s, and Morgan’s, reporting on this poll is statistically misleading. For Tasmania we know the sample size is under 50 (Morgan tell us that much) and as any researcher knows that is just too small to be statistically meaningful. To generalise a finding from such a small sample to the population of Tasmania cannot be done. Further, one would question the findings for all the states. Morgan only tells us the total sample size, 656, and out of that total Tasmania is under 50. OK, so excluding Tas we have a sample size of, say, 610. That’s an average of 120 each for the other states, still statistically dodgy. If you want to be 95% confident of the outcome, for a sample of 120, you are looking at a margin of error of about 10. Surely that is way too great for meaningful analysis. This is still a useful poll by Morgan, but it should not be used for state-by-state analysis. I am not an apologist for the Tasmanian government, but if and when they do come in for criticism then it should be based on reliable evidence.”

    After I sent this off I heard an ABC radio news item where Gary Morgan linked the Tasmanian poll outcome to the Bryan Green “affair”. Now, I have never met Gary Morgan, although we have exchanged pleasant emails in the past. I also appreciate that his firm conducts the only regular poll on Tasmanian voting intentions. But he is being disingenuous in the extreme to draw this bow. Any first year statistics student who attempted to generalise to a population of 400,000+ from a sample size of 50 would get a zero. I cannot and should not be done. The radio and print journalists who run this stuff should know better; Gary Morgan does know better.

  4. Dr Kevin Bonham

    August 28, 2006 at 7:23 am

    Minnie – that’s a criminal waste of good stout.

  5. Minnie Bannister

    August 27, 2006 at 5:23 pm

    “Is there anything about threatened-listed terrestrial invertebrates in it?”

    Sorry Dear Doctor Kev, you are not listed in the front runner for this year’s winner of the Pulp Fiction catagory.

    My Henry uses trays of stout to kill threatened-listed terrestrial invertebrates from getting his seedlings in his vegie patch.

  6. Cameron

    August 27, 2006 at 1:31 pm

    Threatened-listed terrestrial invertebrates, Dr Kev? Should just about cover most of the Lower House, I reckon.

  7. Dr Kevin Bonham

    August 27, 2006 at 6:26 am

    Something else I’ve noticed – on the Morgan site Tasmania is marked with a # which leads to that comment “Sample sizes less than 50 should be treated with caution”. But also the poll gives figures for Tasmania of 10% for “very effective”, 11% for “does not fight corruption but also encourages it”, and 12% for “does not fight corruption”.

    If the sample size is less than 50, then it is mathematically impossible for two figures 1% apart to occur in the results, let alone three, since the gap between two consecutive numbers of respondents when expressed as a percentage must always exceed 2% (and cannot be less than 2% even after rounding). So I can only suspect that the # next to Tas is included in error, but in any case this is a surprising blunder coming from someone who wants to sell full analysis of their results for $6800 a shot!

    David – not having much spare time at the moment and not being paid by anyone to do so I have not read any part of the IIS. Is there anything about threatened-listed terrestrial invertebrates in it? If not I most likely won’t bother.

    I suspect Justa Bloke is correct. When it comes to the ballot box, Tasmanians vote for politicians who they think get the job done. They are not all that concerned by how.

  8. Geraldine Allan

    August 27, 2006 at 6:08 am

    …..Just over 1 in 10 Tasmanians (11%) say the Tasmanian Government “does not fight corruption, but also encourages it”.[1]

    Are the remaining 89% deaf, dumb and blind???

    Does anyone know what is the Tasmanian Government’s given reason for their prolonged ignoring of the regular and justified calls for an Independant Commission Against Corruption [ICAC]?

  9. Mike Bolan

    August 26, 2006 at 1:43 pm

    A useful definition of corrupt is ‘any change to a system’s performance that causes it to work against itself or its purpose’.

    Such a definition includes corruption by criminal elements, carelessness, inadequate skills, self-defeating processes and so on.

  10. Justa Bloke

    August 26, 2006 at 4:31 am

    We glory in our political corruption. Always have. Always will.

    I take Dr B’s point about the sample size, but I’m guessing that if you asked 100,000 Tasmanians the majority would say that they preferred a corrupt politician to an honest one (depending on how the question was framed).

  11. Toby Rowallan

    August 26, 2006 at 3:43 am

    Which could mean Kevin, that the real figure is higher, not lower!

    I would say statistics can be a guide or an indicator, rather than a definitive statement, no matter how politicians might try to use them. Therefore whilst I agree the figure is meaningless and it’s impossible to say for sure that more Tasmanians have this belief than anyone in any other state, it’s still an indicator.

    But as Mike points out, the real question is how many Tasmanians are willing to accept corruption?

    Furthermore, what do they believe corruption really is?

    After all, one person’s ‘corrupt deal’ is another persons ‘looking out for a mate’. It all depends on your perspective.

  12. David Mohr

    August 26, 2006 at 3:24 am

    Hello Dr Kev. How are you going with the IIS? Given your enthusiasm for picking holes in the scientific data put forward by some of our regular TT contributors I’m sure you are salivating over the 7500 pages of detailed technical information regarding the pulp mill.

    Found any inconsistencies, contradictions or dodgy science yet? I’m sure you will demonstrate to TT readers your balance when looking at environmental issues and give us a frank assessment of the most potentially damaging projects in our state’s history.

  13. Dr Kevin Bonham

    August 25, 2006 at 4:57 pm

    The sample size for Tasmania is noted by Morgan as being less than fifty voters.

    Accordingly the finding for Tasmania is statistically meaningless and the emphasis placed on it by Morgan is excessive.

  14. Mike Bolan

    August 25, 2006 at 3:23 pm

    There’s something terribly wrong here.

    What fight against corruption? We’re hard up against the extreme zero position on that scale.

    What Tasmania needs is a measure of how completely corruption is embraced, a positive corruption index if you like.

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