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Thursday, 21 June 2007
Page: 85

Mr McMULLAN (2:55 PM) —My question is to the Prime Minister. Will the Prime Minister confirm the following three facts: that Mark Textor has conducted industrial relations—

Government members interjecting—

The SPEAKER —Order! Members on my right. The member for Fraser has the call and the member will be heard.

Mr Downer interjecting

The SPEAKER —The Minister for Foreign Affairs is warned!

Mr McMULLAN —that Mark Textor has conducted industrial relations polling research for the government—

Mr Ticehurst interjecting

The SPEAKER —The member for Dobell is warned too!

Mr McMULLAN —that Mark Textor is the campaign director for the joint BCA-ACCI advertising campaign; and that Mark Textor brags on his website:

Mark has been the common thread in Australian Prime Minister John Howard’s succession of election victories, serving as principal campaign pollster and consultant in 1996, 1998, 2001 and 2004.

The SPEAKER —Order! In calling the Prime Minister, I am not sure that he is responsible for every part of that question. I call the Prime Minister.

Mr HOWARD (Prime Minister) —I can confirm a number of things. I can confirm that Mark Textor has done polling for the Liberal Party at a federal level since the early 1990s. I can secondly confirm that his advice has been reasonably accurate over the years. I can thirdly confirm that he does research on a large number of things for the Liberal Party. I can fourthly confirm that that research remains confidential. I can fifthly confirm that Mark Textor, along with Lynton Crosby, a very fine former federal director of the Liberal Party, run a successful business and like anybody in business—I mean, you understand that people have more than one client in business; you do know that—they are entitled to have more than one client. In polling they do not operate a closed shop. I know that you have this mentality that a firm is only meant to have one union, but that does not apply in private enterprise. You can actually have more than one client, and Crosby/Textor have got more than one client—and good luck to them. They run a good show. They are good pollsters, and I wish them well.