Why we don’t find Australia’s politicians in cyberspace

Yet another article confirming that Australian MPs are falling through the information net is presented in The Age this weekend.

While American and British politicians are adding blogs, vlogs and other social networking tools to their bag of campaign tricks, Australia's politicians are more likely to make internet appearances as unwitting stars in YouTube spoof films, Annabel Stafford of The Age reports.

One of the few MPs with a serious online presence, Senator Kate Lundy, says to the Age that part of the reason there are so few Australian politicians in cyberspace is that while a blog or a video clip is cheaper than a TV ad, the enormous amount of human resources involved makes it difficult.

Another Blog-Senator claims it’s the tight party discipline that keeps many Australian politicians off the internet. "Blogging hasn't caught on here because party MPs don't have any room to be individuals. In the US, it's much more about an individual candidate, where here it's more about the party brand." Senator Andrew Bartlett says to the Age.

While both reasons might be used to explain the low frequency of Australian politicians on the internet it is probably Senator Andrew Bartlett that hits the nail on the head. I believe we see the same pattern among Scandinavian and even British politicians.

On the brighter side The Age reports that Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd is expected to use online video technology as a part of his election campaign. "An online campaign is a key part of our election strategy … Any politician in touch with the current generation understands you have to communicate with people through the web," a spokesman for Mr Rudd confirmed to The Age this week.

However, when Mr Rudd claims that his embrace of new media will show that he is more in touch with the younger generation I think this is something we will have to judge when that time comes!