Sunday, August 05, 2007

Roving the globe

Having alluded to an antipodean ‘Karl Rove’ recently, I felt moved to reveal a bit more of the story of those conservative backroom gurus. In fact Australia has a Rove tag team – Lynton Crosby and Mark Textor. Fitting, as this pair spread well beyond local influence.

Crosby/Textor are a Canberra, Australia based market research and communications company closely aligned with the conservative Liberal Party of Australia. Well that is the official version. Crosby/Textor operates in both Australia and the UK, and has formed a partnership to advise Wirthlin Worldwide clients in the Australasian region.

The pair have a long history on the seamier side of political polling and strategy, including push polling and wedge strategies. "In the 2001 elections it was Textor's polling advice that crystallised Howard's decision to run a xenophobic scare campaign based on fear of immigrants and terrorism." The Guardian

“We know that Mark Textor has learnt research strategies from extreme right-wing Republican identities in the US, [such as] the Reagan pollster Richard Wirthlin.” says Australian senator John Faulkner.

Sections of the Liberal Party, starting with the Prime Minister, are transfixed with the polling that Textor produces. Howard thinks it is gold. The latest wedge manoeuvres include the Northern Territory land grab, a particular interest area for Textor who had previously crafted racist campaigns.

With Howard’s figures looking grim the ‘dirty politics’ the Federal government are engaged in has all the hallmarks of the Rove approach. It has been a successful approach by the Howard government. Crosby/Textor might well be a home grown product, but they seem well connected to their better know associates.


A leaked dossier, prepared by pollster Mark Textor on June 21, outlines a recovery strategy for the Howard Government and makes it clear that voters are looking to Labor's Kevin Rudd for a generational change.

It contains a damning critique of the Prime Minister as old and dishonest, while Mr Rudd is seen as genuine and accessible. The summary:

  • Voters see PM as old and dishonest, Rudd as genuine
  • Internal file tells PM to pick fights with states
  • Broad expectation Labor will win election

The report was leaked to a Murdoch paper, and from a Textor report. I dunno, it sounds damaging , but the pathway of the revelation sounds bloody suspicious as well. These Rovian tactics are beyond me….


Anonymous said...

Howard thinks it is gold.

Wait, wait... Are you saying that these two are "blowing sunshine up Howard's ass," (i.e., telling him what he wants to hear)? Or are they feeding him stuff he can actually use? If it's the latter, then I'd guess that they're predicting his imminent demise--great for them because then they can just come back with, " us more millions and employ this and that dirty trick, and all will be well."

Very Rovian indeed.

Cartledge said...

I think they get caught up in past success and don't read the mood change out there. Howard has though himself invincible with these guys behind him.
Not tat it worked for UK or NZ conservatives. The Rove approach is obviously sensitive to time and place.

Anonymous said...

Ah... so "blowing sunshine up the PM's backside," it is!