Welcome to NSW. Population: 353

New South Wales has been around for a while, and it’s fair to say she’s had a pretty good run. However, despite being first part of the country to have British settlement over two hundred years ago, New South Wales is still lagging far behind all other Australian states and territories in the population stakes. On the upside, we have a lot of space. With the total land area just over 800,000 square kilometres, each citizen of New South Wales enjoys over 2000 square kilometres all to themselves. Driving is a luxurious treat.

353 front page
Book of Knowledge

Notorious wowzers, and anti-grog zealots, the Foundation for Alcohol Research & Education (FARE) published yet another in depth study this month. FARE, who earlier in 2016 celebrated their 15th “Most ill-fitting homophone for an company name” title took on the mammoth task of surveying the ENTIRE state of New South Wales. All three hundred and fifty-three of us!

353 bondi
Bondi Beach – Boxing Day 2015

For a minute there I’d forgotten just how tiny our geographically huge state really was. It was a proud feeling  when I considered the three hundred and fifty-three of us, and how much we had accomplished. Just yesterday, we had fifteen THOUSAND people turn up at an amazing rally supporting the #KeepSydneyOpen campaign. An outstanding effort, especially given the population of NSW, let alone Sydney was only 353. I think we may have even won State of Origin at some point in the last decade, very impressing mainly due to the fact half our population end up somehow being from another state during Origin time. I went to check google to see what other great things we had done in spite of having the population of a small country town….

353 joey
The NSW State of Origin Team 1995 – present

Hold up a minute…. . Sorry??? There are not really only 353 people in NSW?! Well then. As it turns out, there are around seven and a half million people in NSW. So nothing remotely close to single, solitary percent of the ENTIRE state of NSW. Roughly 0.000000000001% give or take a few zeroes. Disappointing, but everyone make mistakes so back to reading the report I went.

353 findings
The report went on to ask this hand picked, statistically irrelevant bunch a number of skewed questions, with a goal of influencing public opinion based on misleading figures. FARE recently conducted a similar survey in Queensland in the days after Cole Miller’s tragic death and published the results for what would appear to be similar reasons. Not only had they deliberately insinuated the report was of a much larger scale, they also hand picked the people surveyed. As you can see from the exert above, “members of a permission-based panel” were used. This means they were people who had opted in to a particular program, and whoever had their details would likely have a lot of information on them as well. In particular, their lifestyle, behaviours and attitudes on certain issues. When you have enough information on someone and know their thoughts on a few issues, it’s fairly easy to pick what their stance on other issues would be. The report and all the findings published are bordering on fraudulent in their deception and in my opinion should be stricken from all public record. Oh and by the way, we all paid for it.

353 fare history

That’s correct. FARE received government funding to the sweet tune of $115 million over 10 years. We are paying for the pleasure of being lied to. Having some idea of the costs involved in market research campaigns, I can tell you this joke of a report would not have been expensive.

Alcohol Linking Program edit
The plan was to highlight the REALLY shady shit…

The statement above is perhaps the most troubling policy of this shady operation – Alcohol Linking ProgramThis audacious act of fraud was covered in the now infamous Linkedin opus penned by Matt Barrie but I’m shocked it didn’t get more attention. To quote Matt’s article –

“You might be a little surprised to hear about how this program actually works. When an incident occurs, the police routinely collect the following information from all persons involved in attended incidents:

  1. Whether the person has consumed alcohol prior to the incident
  2. The person’s level of intoxication based on an assessment of behavioural indicators of intoxication
  3. Where the person had last consumed alcohol
  4. If the last place consumed was a licensed premises, the name and address of the premises

For instance, if a young lady drinks a few glasses of champagne in Kings Cross, then catches a bus and is assaulted walking home through Bondi, when she reports the assault to Bondi police the officer is compelled to record the incident as emanating from the last place that she consumed alcohol. The perpetrator is rarely caught, but if they are it is usually sometime after the assault, so that perpetrators sobriety is less likely to be noted. Even if the perpetrator was completely sober, it is still recorded as alcohol related violence.”

To add my own $0.02, in what way, shape or form is this Nigerian scam email level of credibility program doing anything at all other than framing venues, creating then blaming victims and wasting police resources???  There are zero measures that actually do anything to reduce that bullshit three word slogan, “alcohol related violence”??? Not one actual policy. They are simply categorises things differently. Even then it doesn’t make sense. I would go as far to suggest that bogging police officers down with so much meaningless paperwork would increase the likelihood of violence, with all officers at their desk cheating on their homework.

Since we’re talking about fraud, cheating, swindling, skulduggery, shenanigans, jiggery-pokery, funny business, ruses, hoaxes and hustling I may as well get involved. After all, it’s only a rort if you’re not in on it.

“How to create any article you like from any statistics you can get your hands on”. Also known as “How to destroy the very concept of journalistic integrity in a single post”

FARE have spent time, money and resources on blatant attacks on the liquor industry yet proudly proclaim they are “100% Independent.” Well, that’s great. But it means nothing if you have an obvious agenda. It means even less if it isn’t true. As you can see from the screen grab above, they were established by government using funding that came from an additional excise on draught beer that yielded $120 million in one year. This excise was later denied passage through senate, as predicted by then Prime Minister; the Hon. John Winston Howard & Treasurer Peter Costello. Showing the shrewd leadership and tactical nous that kept them in power for so long, they made a deal with the Democrats to make new amendments to the act and use the majority of the funds earned previously to establish FARE.

Independent indeed!!

353 ato
source – ATO

Ditching the additional excise on beer was a masterstroke really. Beer consumption was on the decline and wine was on the way up, so the cash could be made up there. Now the Democrats we on side somewhat and an Independent Alcohol Researchgovernment funded temperance league had been set up.

353 ato 2
source – ATO

Unsurprisingly they have been called by Carlton & United Breweries, makers of terrible beer with the greatest marketing team and/or advertising partners in the history of the world. Mumbrella details the immature squabbling and posturing here.

Before we go on, let’s just take a minute to pay our respects to the CUB marketing team and/or advertising partners for this masterful nod to an 1980’s classic as well as this beautiful, tragic, moving and thought progressing piece of artnot to mention this brilliant take on one of the action movie genres go to set piecesAnd who could forget the biggest ad of all time

Ahhh, I’m thirsty just after watching these. But I digress.

353 telegraph poll
source – dailytelegraph.com.au

To put things in perspective, the poll result above is taken article from over the last 48 hours from the daily telegraph. Whilst polls obviously mean very, very little overall, this one shows 92% are against the laws and has 14,006 respondents at the time of publishing. It’s 40 times larger than the FARE report which it claimed suggested was representative of the whole state and was the catalyst for ridiculous headlines in nationwide press.

353 archerfish
source – twitter.com/archerfish

Social media analysis from economic advisory firm, Archerfish also suggests the same. I must stress, data can be easily manipulated and interpreted so take all reports from either side of any argument with a grain of salt. The Archerfish figures could be attributed in interest in the story. But even if that was the case, it just shows that the people GENUINELY interested in this topic  (ie the ones who are ACTUALLY impacted by the laws) are overwhelmingly opposed.

Good pal of this site,  thefaircall on northside radio posted the following clip in the comments section earlier. Had to share it for those who never make it down that far. Sums up what FARE, Government Surveys, TKYF, etc are all about –

For any body interested in wasting about 80 seconds of their life on top of the millions of tax payer dollars already squandered, the full FARE report can be found here.

353 lockout
Me and my 352 mtes

For some reason, Sydney Morning Herald State Political Editor Kirsty Needham got her hands on this report over the weekend and decided to run with it. She published a ridiculous article, using the ALL of NSW line at will, in a deliberate attempt to mislead the public. I can only think of two reasons why she would have taken that angle. Needham has not left the Fairfax head office since getting lost on her second day of Year 10 Work Experience. (hich would explain how she has landed such a senior role – The bosses tend to look kindly on workers who appear to be putting in 168 hours a week, 52 weeks a year). Or that she wanted to deceive her readers to continue pushing an agenda, as evidenced by a common theme – almost 50 articles published since mid 2013 appear to be campaigning against alcohol and/or supporting and promoting the lockout laws.

353“Poll shows two-thirds of NSW residents want laws to stay.” At first I was bewildered at how someone with a title that suggests trust, authority and professionalism could make such a poor judgement call. How massively out touch, not to mention potentially deceptive. I do not find the suggestion she did not know it was 353 people surveyed plausible in the slightest. If she did not check, she should not be in her position as fact checking is a crucial part of journalism. If she did indeed know, this information should have been made very clear in the article as to not give readers the wrong impression.

Ms Needham published a similar story in 2013 claiming “the people want their safe city back”. Quoting a poll commissioned by FARE with 321 respondents she claimed two third of Sydney residents feel unsafe in the city on a Saturday night with 94% blaming alcohol for their concerns. This was published two months after Sydney was named the safest city in the world.

353 Graph
source – unofficial data based on anecdotal evidence and the opinion of Surelynot.live


For some inexplicable reason, the Sydney Morning Herald Federal Political Editor and a number of other Fairfax journalists jumped online to defend this outlandish statement, refusing to acknowledge reality. Each tweet made by SMH staff another blow to the credibility of Fairfax as a whole. They like to hide behind their “Opinions are my own” label on Twitter. But having it stated just below where you proudly list your title and employer cancels it out. You are representing your employer whether you like it or not.

353 Graph 2
source – unofficial data based on anecdotal evidence and the opinion of Surelynot.live

So is anyone holding these people accountable? It seems not. I would suggest everyone who is also disgusted by this blatant attempt to manipulate the public get in touch with Mediawatch and report this bullshit. I’m sick to death of mainsteam journalists posting whatever the hell they want with no repercussions and will be calling you ALL out! I would hope for a full retraction and proper apology in the coming days.

If you see any bullshit articles, please don’t share them. You’re only giving them more airtime, credibility and justification. Instead, send them to me, I will mock them, and then we’ll all report them to Mediawatch together.
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15 thoughts on “Welcome to NSW. Population: 353

  1. Pingback: surely not.
  2. It is utterly amazing that a major metro would run with a story based on a sample of 353. Working in the industry, the golden rule of thumb is that when you do general consumer research, 1,000 people is considered a statistically relevant sample size when you’re asking consumers. Even then, the margin of error is around +/- 4% depending on the questions asked and locations of the respondees. Anything under 500 is a bit of a joke.

    Galaxy Research outsources their polling to a third party and I can tell you the cost bare bones cost of actually getting 353 people would be less than $3k, if that. You’d think with all that cash they’d at least try to be credible and get 1,000 people… arrogance creates ignorant stupidity…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is a joke all round. Firstly the fact that FARE published it. Absolutely misleading and with this one move they have shown that they are an organisation of zero repute. They should hand their government funding back.

      And then the Sydney Morning Herald actually published it? I’m sorry but there’s only one term I can think of to describe the actions of the State Political Editor who wrote and published it, and that is “Gross Misconduct”. In other words, cause for instant dismissal.

      In any industry if a professional knowingly lies to and misleads their clients (in this case, readers) to gain favour or benefit (whether that be a deal, a sale, or in this case readership) they are OUT. She has used the name of the Sydney Morning Herald to try to influence millions via deception. If that is not the case, and she just did not know, then her failure to fact check is negligence in the highest degree.

      Her colleagues that supported her article, FARE and the “results” of this worthless study should be sent packing as well. With people like this in charge, it’s only a matter of time before SMH is as respected and credible as The Onion.


    2. Meh. 1000 may well be the media rule of thumb, but proper sample selection is actually much more important than sample size. Properly selected, a 353 person sample simply has a slightly larger margin of error than a 1000 person one. And it’s not as though anyone needs a tiny margin of error in this case.


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