Net Censorship: Liberal Ineptness Example #8163

There is little that annoys me more than the chronic ineptness of those on our side of politics. Yet the Liberal Party response to the Great Firewall of Australia must surely rank as a prime candidate for ineptness in its chronic failure to capitalise on a salient political issue, engage in the battle of ideas, and ultimately win votes.

To their credit, and particularly due to the conservative wing of the party staring down the “moderates”, the Federal Parliamentary Wing of the Liberal Party has eventually come out as staunchly against Labor’s internet censorship plans. This is obviously a good thing – not only is it unworkable, not only will it slow down the internet and impose additional costs on consumers and business, but it is a direct attack on free speech and on family values by denigrating the ability of parents to control what their children view.

Having said that, the Liberal’s public response to this has been nothing short of pathetic. Here we have a prime opportunity to engage with the key youth demographic, to begin using web 2.0 strategies to generate true constituent conversation, and to win votes with people who wouldn’t normally associate with us, and what have we done? Nothing.

In fact, I remember discussing this over 6 months ago – just as this was becoming an issue – with a key adviser to a Shadow Minister with interests in this area. Their response? It wasn’t “newsworthy”.

This statement – more than any other – highlights to me how out of touch the Liberal Party remains with new media. More and more people no longer rely on traditional mainstream media for their news. Rather, they rely on online filters made up of their friends – who they friend on facebook, follow on twitter, whose blogs they read. Yet it would seem the Liberals can not understand this.

Stuck in a 1990’s mindset, the Liberal Party has made no effort whatsoever to engage with the online community. None. Yet this is a perfect opportunity to do so. In fact, I can think of no better opportunity. Yet it is one that has been wasted. To use an analogy, if the LP was a corporation, this would surely count as a breach of the management’s fiduciary obligations. It is certainly abysmally poor campaigning.

When will the Liberal Party realise it needs to engage in with issues like this? To start interacting more with younger voters? To actually move to the 21st century?

Sigh. I worry about the future. I really do.

Update: Why on earth did the Libs put Greg Hunt on Q&A against Conroy? The guy is a joke.

Update 2: Sorry. I meant disgrace. Not joke.


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5 Responses to “Net Censorship: Liberal Ineptness Example #8163”

  1. Jon Seymour Says:

    The end of the John Howard years were a blessed relief for me. Nick Minchin is probably the strongest reminder of those years still in Parliament.

    Yet, I for one have been impressed by Nick Minchin’s stance on the filter. I think he really gets it – his arguments against the filter almost exactly reflect my own opinions.

    Given the current Liberal stance on the filter, the online community really doesn’t need the Liberal Party to engage with it on this issue. The online community really needs the Liberal Party to engage with its base and convince them how important Nick Minchin’s principled stance is.

  2. Robert Candelori Says:

    Hunt was useless on Q&A – he could barely articulate a cogent argument.

    I never thought I’d see Andrew Bolt siding with Conroy. LOL

  3. Tim Humphries Says:

    My background is web 2.0 and programming.

    I have contacts globally in this area that can help. All I need is a budget of $2,500 USD to build a grass-roots supporter site that would blow all that has come before out of the water!!!!!!!! I’ve even written a specification that I sent you! And yet it seems we’re moving incrementally.

    Our woeful performance in this area is due I think to fear of experimentation with the format. In a conservative organization this maybe natural esp when the old school tradecraft in campaigning has worked so well in the past.

    On the other hand it may also be a fear of losing control of a grass-roots campaigning structure. A grass-roots structure that hands the supporters more say in what happens inside that space.

    This may or may not go against entrenched interests esp where position in that structure is concerned. I may very well be wrong however.

    Controlling the flow of ideas, when it comes to live chat, party policy blogging and even talk-back radio is the way things have been developing as we have tentatively entered the online media sphere.

    This has made the process sterile in the same way that the traditional media can be sterile at times in its presentation. The social media approach needs to be harnessed with its sponteneity and organic nature to more effectively connect with the Gen X and Y support base that I believe is only just being realized.

    My plan would be to link a grass-roots supporter site for the next Federal campaign back to the main LP site.

    This could be done In a co-ordinated effort to raise awareness about our core policies/issues and harness more recruitment opportunities through that space.

    The problem is…. To often we ask Why instead of why not?

    Heck if I had some money laying around I’d do it myself to show the way! I’m that conservative radical you spoke of haha.

  4. Ralph Buttigieg Says:


    There are far to many Web 0.0 types in the party.



  5. Ralph Buttigieg Says:


    Having said the above its not a reason to give up. I have been evangelizing the advantages of the Web at any opportunity. I’ll have also helped organise Web 2.0 workshops. Its far to an important matter to give up on.



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