Malcolm Turnbull shouldn’t look to John Key for tips on managing reform (Sydney Morning Herald 12/11/15)

12 Nov 2015

Despite the Prime Minister's comments it is unlikely that Malcolm Turnbull would be satisfied with John Key's limited policy ambitions.

Malcolm Turnbull said his New Zealand counterpart John Key was a role model in his first press conference as Prime Minister. He described Key as "achieving very significant economic reforms in New Zealand … by taking on and explaining complex issues and then making the case for them".

Turnbull has got this completely wrong.

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The Politics of Terrorism

9 Apr 2015

UMR Research Director Stephen Mills describes how terrorism has influenced politics – both in New Zealand and in Australia (Dominion Post April 9 2015)

The impact of terrorism has played a part in many Western elections since 9/11.

In 2001 Australian Prime Minister John Howard was heading for likely election defeat.

He instead secured a comfortable victory by taking full advantage of the tense and fearful political climate that developed when the issue of (mainly Muslim) asylum seekers combined with the aftermath of 9/11.

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Focus on asset sales is the key lesson for NSW Labor from the Queensland election

11 Feb 2015

UMR Research's Stephen Mills reflects on the Queensland state election in the Sydney Morning Herald (February 9 2015)

In many elections it is likely that the small armies of strategists, media minders, advance people, advertising agencies, pollsters, data analysts and digital specialists on both sides just cancel each other out.

It is a political version of the mutually assured destruction principle. A party going into an election without this full set of modern political weapons would lose.

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The problem with democracy

27 Nov 2013

In 1947 Winston Churchill famously declared "it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried''. It would take a brave person to disagree with him.

But then he had not seen how hard it is for elected Governments now to undertake even the most necessary reforms if those challenge major business interests or impose any significant cost or inconvenience on voters generally.

It is unlikely Winston Churchill would have imagined that one day there would be a salary packaging industry.

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The rise of the populists

4 Nov 2013

The big surprise on election night in Australia was the success of the fledgling Palmer United Party (PUP). This continued a trend of brand new populist parties doing well in recent elections.

Formed only five months before the election by mining magnate Clive Palmer, PUP fielded candidates in all seats and secured, on latest figures, 5.5 per cent of the nationwide vote. In Queensland it became almost overnight the third biggest party polling 11 per cent of the vote, well ahead of the Greens on 6 per cent.

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Attitudes towards Australia and Rugby

5 Oct 2011

In Field Dates: 

29 Sep 2011 to 3 Oct 2011

“The media storm over the alleged treatment of a few Australian spectators at Rugby World Cup matches is not backed up at all by a scientific survey of New Zealanders attitudes toward Australians” says Stephen Mills, Executive Director of Australasian Research Agency UMR Research.

On the crunch question of who New Zealanders are going to support in the Australia versus South Africa Rugby World Cup quarter-final 63% went for Australia and 25% for South Africa.

The favourability rating for Australia was by far the highest of the 16 nations tested. 

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