Yes, he is touting his most recent fiction publication. Here is the bit from his essay in the Sydney Morning Herald Spectrum 25-26 July, 2009.
Here’s a bit of unashamedly subjective truth: when I undertake social analysis, I constantly wrestle with doubts about the authenticity of what I am doing. Not the validity of the statistics, nor the accuracy of my reporting of what people say; that’s easy to get right. But the account of what’s really going on; whether it means anything much; how it might illuminate our understanding of human experience. And if research can’t do that, what’s the point of it? Survey piled upon survey doesn’t get us any closer to the truth if people have simply been mouthing plausible-sounding tosh in response to misguided inquiries that look for rational responses to questions better left unasked. .. – Hugh Mackay (Reputable Australian social researcher and commentator.)
This goes well with his item, earlier, about the poetic, and qualitative and quantitative research. (Mackay, H. (1999). Words that are lovely, dark, and deep. Sydney Morning Herald, Spectrum(4 September 1999), 22s.)
It also links in with what I noticed when reading Lombard and Ditton, and about their introductory remarks to the effect that the artists, dramatists, and designers of current forms of ‘presence’ in intermediary media, make design decisions ‘by trial and error, lore, and “seat of the pants” exploration’. My response was to take exception to what I read as this dismissal, since the very low tech form of paper and ink and literary authorship has been able to generate a sense of presence of fictional characters, and virtual but realistic places, milieus, and consistent interactions, for generations.
Lombard, M. and T. Ditton (1997). “At the Heart of It All: The Concept of Presence.” Journal of Computer Mediated Communication 3(2).