Mark Textor and Ethics in the Age of Transparency

Posted on November 24, 2013


I first noticed Mark Textor when he supported the Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse which I had been campaigning for for several years, partly via this site. I respected him for that. I noticed that he’d gone to a small state primary school in Alawa in a suburb of Darwin yet he didn’t seem to support Gonski Better Schools funding for children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

When I tweeted Mark Textor a link to my writing about the influence of Opus Dei and the Catholic Church on the Coalition, he said he didn’t know about it. He was busy watching and tweeting about an international cycling race. A lot of people disrespected him and called him one of Tony Abbott’s “henchmen.” I support most people who called for the Royal Commission, but noticed that when Tony Abbott recently made up excuses for Cardinal Pell, Mark Textor was tweeting about cycling. It seemed that once the Coalition had won the election and Mark Textor had expanded his portfolio of clients, he wasn’t commenting on the Royal Commission as far as I could see.

Mike Seccombe has been a political journalist for a long time. I noticed his twitter conversation with Mark Textor back in July 2013:

“Ah, Textor, champion of the “average guy”, eg oil companies, the gambling industry.”

“Have always worked an honest job. Am not a mendacious, reactionary, push polling thug”

“No, I know where Textor comes from. I know all about him. A grub”

I’m sure Mark Textor has made a lot more money than @MikeSeccombe but Mike can hold his head high in regard to ethics as far as I know.

On 5th September, Textor was being his usual abrasive self to  @LindaMottram the presenter of ABC 702 radio, to which she replied:

@markatextor Any particular reason you’re so sharp tongued? Not really necessary is it.”

On 8th September 2013, the day after the Coalition’s election win, he posted a photo of himself on Twitter,

@markatextor: Warning. Only campaign #selfie.

Textor and Loughnane

Brian Loughnane, Federal Director of the Liberal Party of Australia @LoughnaneB and husband of Peta Credlin, Tony Abbott’s chief of staff, with Mark Textor

Then he tweeted about Pilipino porn stars and the rest is history.

‘Aussie PM Adviser’s Best Twitter Rants – Because who cares what 246 million Indonesians think?’      TIME

A friend who’s lived in Indonesia and speaks the language said, “Abbott is such a boofhead! and i can’t believe that tweet that Textor sent comparing someone to a pornstar. You can imagine how that would go down in Jkt! from afar they really look so inept … ”

“Mark Textor thinks Australians won’t give a rat’s arse how offended Indonesians become. Sadly, he’s probably right.”  By @MikeSeccombe

Senator John Faulkner spoke about Mark Textor in parliament in 1999:

“For some time now the Labor opposition has been highlighting the insidious and corrupting influence of Mark Textor on the Liberal Party, federal and state, and his growing influence on broad public policy in this country. We now have further evidence of his application of wedge politics within the Liberal Party, of the tactics of division and betrayal to achieve personal and political ends, no matter what the cost.”;db=CHAMBER;id=chamber/hansards/1999-03-31/0032;query=Id:%22chamber/hansards/1999-03-31/0027%22

It was a long speech about Mark Textor’s questionable ethics:

“Textor devised and implemented a push-polling strategy in the 1994 Northern Territory election.”

I was a journalist at Imparja TV in Alice Springs in 1994 and 1995 so I saw how much good work was done under the Keating government.

How much influence did Mark Textor have in the creation of the disastrous NT Intervention in 2007? That makes me sad to think about.

“This has been the learning curve of Mark Textor—a potent and corrupting mixture of lies, push polling and abuse of public funds for base political ends. This lengthy political apprenticeship has resulted in Textor receiving a number of significant federal departmental contracts in recent times, and all of these have a stench about them.

“Textor had already received $42,000 as the focus group researcher for the notorious waterfront campaign with its extremely ideological focus on smashing the union movement in one of Australia’s most important industries.”

“Textor was no `techno-dweeb’; he was a player pure and simple.”

Textor’s devastating influence and player status were not limited to the change of leadership. In the lead-up to the New South Wales campaign, and in the campaign proper, we now know that Textor had significant responsibility for the direction of the Liberals’ entire advertising strategy—an amazing choice for a less than competent pollster with delusions of grandeur.

“Prime Minister Howard has already gone too far down the path of politicisation and improper use of public moneys with this pollster, Mark Textor. He and the Liberal Party stand condemned for their association with this incompetent, amoral and utterly unethical loser.”

The Power Index: spinners, pollster Mark Textor at #4 by @KnottMatthew

In 2007 Alan Ramsey wrote about Mark Textor in ‘Behind the curtain, a view to the wedge:’