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11:03 AM
Do they think we are that silly?


I laughed when I saw this in the Manningham Council Annual Report for 2015/2016.

This graphic is taken from page 81.



What this is saying is that the number of people who think Manningham Council spends our money wisely and provides value for money, has gone up to 49% of all ratepayers!


Do they really think we are silly?

Are they trying to tell us that almost half the ratepayers are happy paying the ridiculous increases in rates each year and these same people also think that the council spends this money well?

Manningham council conducted their own online and paper based survey and this was one of the questions they asked.

May I tell you why the results of this council survey are complete and utter rubbish.


First it does not agree with surveys done formally.

The results of the Local Government Satisfaction Survey tabled at the 28 June 2016 meeting painted a very different picture.

This formal and proper survey revealed that OVER 50% of ratepayers in Manningham were prepared to accept a reduction in council services in exchange for a freeze on rate increases. And it showed that the number of people who want this INCREASED over the prior year. It also showed the number of people who were either undecided or wanted a rate rise to be each under 30% of ratepayers.

This graph taken from a prior article on this website summarizes the result of this formal survey (I think) rather well. See "The 2016 Satisfaction Survey".

What Manningham council is now trying to suggest is that ALL the people who did not want a rate increase in this formal survey where in fact actually saying they received value for money from the council! But may I remind the council that around 23% of ratepayers were undecided on the issue. And only 37% were in agreement with a rate increase.

To make their own private survey appear to be consistent with the independent formal survey Manningham Council appears to assume that people who where undecided (i.e. 23%) were actually in agreement with the rate increase and that they believe they were getting value for money.

No, I don't think so. Undecided means undecided and you cannot count them as being in favour of rate increases and supportive of council spending.

As I mentioned in a previous article, the result of this formal survey was not that welcome at Manningham Council. I don't think the council wanted to hear this at all. So what did they do? They set up their own survey later on.


Why is the council's own survey completely unreliable?

For a survey to be done properly it needs to select people randomly. If the selection process is not entirely random then the results cannot be trusted. The results may be biased.

As you are probably aware, the outcome of the US election on November 8, 2016 was entirely unexpected. Nearly all the polls were forecasting a different result. Even on election night, as the votes were being counted, the polls were saying that there was a 90% chance one candidate would win. Then as the night progressed, it was clear there was a 90% chance the other candidate was going to win.

Why did this happen? There are many reasons but one big reason is oversampling. Oversampling is when you knowingly over-sample people you think are likely to give a certain result. That is, you knowingly skew the outcome of the survey by surveying more people you think will give you the results you want.

And that is what our council did here.

It was not a proper survey. The sampling was not done randomly. You either had to go to the council website or collect a form from the service desk to participate.

Let me ask you this.

Did you know the council was conducting a survey? And did you take the time to participate in the survey?

I think I can safely answer probably not.

I can imagine the following conversations taking place in the council offices with Mr X, Mr Y and Mr Z.


Mr X owns an factory in Manningham.

Council Staff: "Mr X you must be very pleased that the rates on your industrial property will be going up a tiny amount next year. Would you like to fill in one of our surveys?"

Mr X: "Yes I would. How do I do that?"


Mr Y runs a charitable organisation in Manningham that receives money from the council.

Council Staff: "Have you received our cheque for 1 million dollars yet? Would you be interested in filling in our survey? If you like you can go to the service counter and get several copies and have your staff fill them in too."

Mr Y: "Why thank you I will".


Mr Z is an average residential ratepayer - much abused by Manningham council.

Mr Z: "You are a bunch of sods. My rates have gone up by 10.0%. The State Government said they would only go up 2.5%. You are complete crooks."

Council Staff: silence.


That, readers is how you over-sample and skew the outcome of a survey. Their survey was not done properly and is simply unreliable. All it does is give the council the result they want.


Now, many of you may think that government employees are a breed apart and would never do anything like that. They are simply beyond reproach!

But you would be mistaken.

As you may be aware there were allegations that the 2016 US election was being 'rigged'. The government denied it. However some people claimed to video the proceedings at some of the polling stations. They claim this took place. Apparently, these are government workers making sure they get the results they want.

You may say that this would never happen in Australia, we are much better than that.

But do you remember the election in 2011 for the NSW upper house? There were accusations that ballot papers for one candidate were somehow spirited away during counting and the matter ended up in court.

Also consider a book “The Frauding of Votes”, Dr McGrath writes:


"It was discovered that, when the Queensland election was held on 1 November 1986, there were 1,563,294 voters on the Queensland rolls – 45,732 fewer than the 1,618,358 gazetted by the Commonwealth for Queensland, three days before. Yet, when the next Queensland election was held on 2 December 1987, there were 1,780,785 electors on the Queensland rolls; 46,580 more than the 1,752,405 gazetted by the Commonwealth for Queensland, the day before."


Oh no. Our government employees can be crooks just as well as any other government's employees. Especially when no one is looking.

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