Essential Report

Digital strategy for a Better State

Nov 9, 2010

The initial Better State site ( was built in October 2009 on a drupal platform.

We found that the site was too complex for people to take action, find content and created high barriers for revisitation and engagement.

We had a community of people who were linked to one or two services and were interested in how the umbrella campaign was running, but also wanted specific news and events from their delegates, union leaders and activists. They wanted to know about the service area they were involved with, not necessarily updates from all arms of the campaign.

Comments »

Better State – campaigning in a climate of certainty

Nov 9, 2010

You would have to completely disregard the polls, history and any semblance of common sense to predict a Labor victory in the March 2011 NSW election.

Although there’s no such thing as a sure bet in Australian politics, a NSW Coalition government in 2011 is about as close as you’re likely to get. (The bookies have Labor at $6.25 to win next year. You won’t find those sort of odds in any 2011 NRL fixture.)

This climate of certainty makes a traditional approach to election time campaigning impossible.

Comments »

Regulation is the new black

Nov 2, 2010

First Published on The Drum 02/11/2010

Joe Hockey is swanning around the airwaves like the coolest kid at school, convinced he’s discovered a new fad that’s sure to catch on. It’s called regulation and it rocks.

Of course many old hands may wonder whether all Joe has done is stumble upon a bit of retro, like some early Midnight Oil recordings, but right now Joe is stoked, he’s got a new tattoo and everyone is checking him out. Even the Greens want to play with him.

Still, if the old post-election cliche that the ‘people always get it right’ has any sort of credibility, Joe’s biggest risk is he’ll soon be overtaken by a bunch of converts who want to take the trend way more seriously than a wide-boy with a beat-box can.

As the latest Essential Report shows, there are votes to be won in regulating the bastard banks, especially in a week when Westpac is tipped to tip the Big Four’s profits over the $20 billion mark.

Comments »

So where is the Left?

Oct 26, 2010

First Published on The Drum 26/10/2010

If political progressives want to stop the ALP from drifting to the Right, energetically backing the decision to move women and children out of immigration detention looks like a good place to start.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Immigration minister Chris Bowen took the new minority government’s first truly brave decision last week, yet all they got was a sullen acceptance from a Left still acting like jilted lovers after the disappointments of the election campaign.

Comments »

Labor should tread (water) warily

Oct 19, 2010

First Published on The Drum 19/10/2010

As the Federal Government attempts to quell the backlash to its plans to save the Murray Darling by slowing the process to a crawl, it would do well to consider the lessons of the recently aborted Emissions Trading Scheme.

If there were a structured training program for politicians (and maybe there should be) the former Rudd government’s failure to deliver on its commitment to address climate change would be a required text.

It is a story of how tortured process can kill off reform, confuse would-be supporters, drain the public of confidence in their government and ultimately leave leaders in a no-win situation.

Comments »

Holding centre ground can be war

Oct 12, 2010

First Published on The Drum 12/10/2010

Attempting to manage public confidence in the war in Afghanistan, the Labor Party is exposing its left flank in a way that calls into question three decades of political centrism.

These are challenging times for the ALP, with minority control in Canberra, hand-wringing election post mortems and flagging state administrations around the nation. A key theme appears to be ‘Labor has lost its way’.

But what is the ALP way? Since at least the Whitlam era, Labor orthodoxy has been that the occupation of the centre ground was a precondition for electoral success. Careers were built on the tough work of shifting Labor from ideological dogma to more pragmatic policies.

Comments »

The Bride (and Bridesmaid) stripped bare

Oct 5, 2010

First Published on The Drum 05/10/2010

New paradigms notwithstanding, the first week of the 43rd Parliament of Australia has confirmed a continuation of the gladiatorial contests that have characterised Australia’s model of presidential politics.

And that means a confronting truth for both Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott: the public’s perceptions of their personal strengths and weakness are central to the success of their respective political projects.

There was a time when character research was a dark art, the province of party focus groups, only dusted of at election time when attacks would be constructed around a candidate’s lack of ticker (read weight) or stubbornness (read age). The modern opinion polling means today it’s all out in the open.

Comments »

The Punch: 10 reasons why the Liberals are right about the interweb

Sep 28, 2010

First Published on The Punch 28/9/2010

It’s time to put an end to all this partisan negativity. At a time when people are looking to our leaders for vision, it is great to see a political party step up with a long-term vision for the nation.

I am referring of course to the Coalition’s decision to destroy the National Broadband Network and all who promote it and instead uphold Australian values by promoting a more leisurely pace of download.

While the public may be firmly behind the NBN as detailed in today’s Essential Report, I wonder how many have really thought through the implications of faster efficient broadband on their already busy and cluttered lives.

Comments »


Read Essential's ongoing research on the public response to Covid-19.

Sign up for updates

Receive the Essential Report in your inbox.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.