20 August 2013
More than a week ago, No Fibs sent a list of standardised questions to the seven candidates vying for the seat of Forde, sandwiched between Brisbane and the Gold Coast.
Four responded – all three women and Peter Beattie.
Was that a coincidence?
Prior to posting, I was puzzled by why the three absentees would not respond to free, standardised, level playing field, no risk of media interpretation, in their own words coverage.
A turn of the dial and the more interesting question emerged.
Apparently it’s a scientific fact that women are wired for communication, and after nine years as Queensland Premier Peter Beattie’s renown as a communicator is well known to the Forde electorate – as well as pundits state- and nationwide.
One could posit the idea that the women – The Greens’ Sally Spain, Family First’s Amanda Best and Citizens Electoral Council’s Jan Pukallus – and Peter Beattie are more worthy of their constituency’s vote by virtue of their willingness to communicate – for what other trait could be of higher value in a democratic parliament?
And one could explore the converse: why would the sitting member, the Liberal Party’s Bert van Manen, and two ostensibly keen candidates, Palmer United’s Blair Brewster and Rise Up Australia’s Jonathan Jennings, ignore an opportunity to speak directly to voters?
Here are 21 reasons why a candidate might ignore a media request (it was going to be 99 reasons, but I realised I had other things to do) – let’s start with the obvious:
- they didn’t receive the questions
* in Bert van Manen’s case that means his media adviser didn’t get No Fibs’ phone calls either
* in Blair Brewster’s case that meant the Coomera Hockey Club didn’t pass on the message – Mr Brewster’s campaign contact is his CHC email . . . or perhaps he’s just showcasing his community credentials with that email address, being a founder of the club ‘n’all
* in Jonathan Jennings’ case . . . drowning out media noise with Rise Up Australia’s party song?
2. they’re really really busy (really busy)
3. they’re not that serious about their candidacy
4. they’re exceedingly cautious
5. they think it was a set up
6. they don’t wanna waste their time on ‘nobody reporters’ (that would be moi)
7. they don’t trust a website called No Fibs
8. they don’t trust the media generally
9. they don’t trust new media specifically
10. they didn’t believe their questions would run verbatim
11. they’re above common courtesy (so many Christian values, so few ‘thanks but no thanks’)
12. they baulked at venturing off-script into dangerously reflective minefields, such as question # 7: ‘in order to achieve your vision, what hard realities must the people of Forde face?’
13. they fear the realm of thoughtful response – yes there is life beyond the simple slogan horizon
14. they actually don’t know their stuff
15. they’re only in it to fly the flag for bigger fish (Palmer United)
16. they are inexperienced
17. they are spooked (van Manen post Beattie surprise?)
18. they’re still reeling from national exposure (post Beattie surprise)
19. they’re playing a small target game
20. they thought the questions were very very tricky, particularly ‘why are you the person to deliver?’
21. unlike Beattie, Best, Pukallus and Spain – they just don’t wanna talk about it.