Redland’s Biggest ‘PHISHING’ Trip with Laming

Andrew Laming and Redland's Biggest Survey

Redlands Biggest Survey by Andrew Laming is just a phishing trip says Elinor Drake –  Photo: AntanO

We have collectively been showered by yet another of Andrew Laming’s expensive and self-serving ‘surveys’, which he touts as “Redland’s Biggest”.

As if size trumps value/integrity!  (“Never mind the quality, feel the width…,” as the old vaudeville line goes.)

This latest in an unfortunate series of Laming’s amateurish and dubious data-gathering exercises is foisted on us all, under the guise of being a genuine, independent and professional mechanism to gather information which can be used for our good — the good of the community.  Hah!

But this is little more than a ‘phishing’ expedition, used to gain politically useful data about us for our federal member.

(Note: ‘Phishing’ is a scamming mechanism often used on computers to obtain sensitive, personal information, usually for covert reasons, by disguising the communication as if it were trustworthy.) 

Survey design is a science — if you want valid data

Andrew Laming’s latest survey

Mr. Laming claims to know something about the science of survey design, but if he does, it’s certainly not evident in this or any of his other cynical, invalid questionnaires.

When challenged previously on these sham ’surveys’, his self-justifying retort implied that he had such a limited budget that he couldn’t afford to have them done professionally, relying on non-professionals to supply the questions and, effectively, design the thing.

Is that any excuse for this money-wasting travesty that primarily serves his own political agendas?

No doubt he hopes to appear to be ‘consulting’ with his electorate, and to appear as though he’s actually listening and open to feedback.  But this is certainly the cheap, quick and dirty way to do it and to avoid face-to-face ’town hall’ type meetings with us in the flesh.

Garbage In-Garbage Out

The present survey is not a tool of sound, meaningful research at all. For a questionnaire to produce unbiassed, reliable, valid data, there are many rules for its design and analysis. For example:

Fundamentals of Sound Research Comments on the Laming survey methods
1 Respondents should be permitted to complete the surveys anonymously, to ensure maximum likelihood of honest answers and to prevent potential exploitation of the information provided for illicit purposes. Not the case here. We are asked our personal contact details and also our political affiliation.  If a citizen is reluctant to divulge this information — for which there is no guarantee whatsoever of its subsequent security — s/he is left with the option of declining to reply at all, hence skewing the data, OR of replying and risking having the data and personal details used in unknown and unwanted ways.  Hobson’s choice = a potential Lose-Lose either way! If the aim is to prevent the survey being reproduced to enable multiples to be completed by a single person or by nonresidents, then there’s a simple method that still preserves anonymity.  It’s the application of a unique number (in a defined series) to each questionnaire distributed.  Easy.
2 Questions should be framed in a neutral way, avoiding inflammatory wording and not indicating favour for any particular answer. Not here.  e.g. “The US is our best mate.”
3 Questions should be composed using proper, unarguable language. Not here again.  e.g. in the item “Unemployed who refuse jobs or work to face random illicit drug tests” could mean that those unemployed should have to undertake illegal [“illicit”] tests for drugs, or it could mean they should be subjected to tests for illegal drugs — not the same thing at all.  A person might have their interpretation misapplied altogether!
4 Questions should permit more than only ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ reply options — preferably revealing strength of agreement/disagreement, by using graded scale of 1 to 5, for example. Good questionnaires allow for respondents to indicate if the issue is ’not applicable’, or they are ‘unsure’ or ’neutral’. Again, not here.  Many issues are complex, many people do not have clear understanding, knowledge or opinions on them, and are here faced with choosing an option they don’t fully agree with, resulting in misleading inferences being drawn.  This overly simplistic Yes/No method invariably leads to responses that are unable to be accurately interpreted.  In other words, it leads to invalid data, which are not meaningful as a basis for knowing what constituents think and want.
5 Questions should be clear about what is being asked. Again, not here.  e.g. “Are you happy with no boat arrivals for 900 days?”  is a very loaded and ambiguous item.  Does the reply indicate the respondent concurs with the “stop the boats” policy, or does it indicate the respondent is relieved that no asylum seekers’ lives have been lost in the process….or something else completely?
6 If the survey process and its results are to be regarded as transparent and ethical, there should be a publicly accessible mechanism to inspect all survey results.  Instead no such portal is available — presumably you’ll only find out if you divulge your email address.  Too bad if you don’t trust the process or have an email account! So much for political openness and transparency.
7 Survey design, as well as collation and reporting of the returned surveys should be done by an independent and professional organisation, otherwise there’s absolutely no guarantee that the responses not tallying with the survey’s proponent won’t end up trashed. Without evidence to the contrary we can only presume it’s all done in-house by his office staff, who are unlikely to be experts in this field.
8 Survey results produced professionally and independently will state the number of surveys distributed, as well as the number completed and returned, thus indicating sample size and response rate.  These are essential to knowing what proportion of the community is represented (or not) by the results. So far, to my knowledge, Laming has never published this important information, and I suspect he doesn’t plan to this time either.

The Andrew Laming survey

Andrew Laming’s survey does not follow standard practice for ethical, valid community-based market research.

He doesn’t explicitly claim that his survey is independent and professionally designed and administered but I’m certain he hopes we’d believe that.

It is a terrible thing that we citizens of Redlands are being so cynically exploited in this way and, as taxpayers, paying for the collection of material that may or may not be used with our consent or in our best interest.

My belief is the only reason Laming gets away with this is that most folk are trusting and lack in the expertise to understand surveys and the potential for them to be misused.


Elinor Drake – Point Lookout

Published by Redlands2030 – 16 August 2017

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8 thoughts on “Redland’s Biggest ‘PHISHING’ Trip with Laming

  1. I dont care what you know-it-all eggheads say, I like being asked for my views from an MP. How often does that happen!

  2. Another crummy ‘survey’ from A Laming. How depressing he can keep doing this silly push-polling exercise year after year without being called out. Elinor Drake hits the nail bang on the head in her analysis of Laming’s phoney, cynical, disingenuous trolling-for-data ‘survey’ – using our money – that reeks of ideological bias. No serious person could write such obvious leading questions. What this embarrassing apology for a ‘survey’ is, in fact, is a portrait of Laming. The questions reveal his worldview, and what we see unfortunately is a fear-mongering, authoritarian, anti-immigration, anti-cultural, damn the environment, simplistic, self-serving political creature. We deserve far better.

  3. Your article is timely, thank you Redlands2030. I share residents’ doubts as to Mr Laming’s intent on producing such misleading and repugnant pamphlets and so-called surveys. I am sure Mr Laming truly believes he is ‘looking after his electorate’ but the reverse is true. Representing the goals and values of his constituents as our House of Representatives member since 2004 are sadly lacking. For example – a passionate, visionary member would stand up and speak out in the parliament to:

    • endorse the realities of climate change towards clean renewable energies.

    • embrace the new technologies to forge new industries i.e. electric vehicles.

    • protect and strengthen laws to prevent environmental degradation of our vital Ramsar wetlands, marine areas and natural bushland areas.

    • not pioneer a policy to introduce mandatory drug testing for our youth and disadvantaged.

    • embrace fully the concerns raised in many federal petitions and join in constructive and informed bipartisan debate to inform the electorate truthfully.

    We, the people, must not allow our politicians to weaken laws that protect our basic human rights, freedoms and way of life. What’s decided today affects the future generations.

  4. Elinor Drake’s observation that Andrew Laming’s survey “is certainly the cheap, quick and dirty way to do it and to avoid face-to-face ’town hall’ type meetings with us in the flesh.”
    I have been trying to secure an face-to-face appointment with Mr Laming since 5 June and when questioned about a possible date, was told “it is in the pipeline”. Here we are on 17 August and still no closer to a date.

    Mr Laming is obviously intimidated by honest, concerned citizens who may have a legitimate alternative response to that spouted by him and his Party.

    I say to Mr Laming “If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen”.

    • To update you on my quest to speak with Mr Laming.
      I was finally contacted by him to advise where he would be on the following day (one day’s notice). As I happened not to have transport the following day I advised that, rather than attend a public forum, which I was offered, I would prefer a personal meeting and could he give me the address of his office. To which he replied, “I don’t meet in my office with anyone”. Why? What is his parliamentary office subsidy supposed to be used for, if not to meet with his constituents?
      I was then advised that I would now have to wait until after the present Parliament adjourns before I can see him, at another public forum, I guess.
      Just goes to show how ‘committed’ Mr Laming is to the Bowman voters!

  5. Surely the Member for Bowman is not wasting taxpayers money on such self serving rubbish…surely. Perhaps Mr Turnbull can give Redlands some assurance ???

  6. Spot on! I’ve often made the comment that these ‘surveys’ were invalid because of the lack of accredited methodology and appropriate oversight. I wonder how many other MPs use this spurious method to obtain data about their constituents? Does any independent body audit the taxpayer-funded print allowance for this type of expenditure?

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