e-lection 2004? New media and the campaign
Source TitleProceedings, Australian Election Workshop, ANU 2004
University of Melbourne Author/sCHEN, PETER
AffiliationArts: Centre for Public Policy
Document TypeConference Paper
CitationsChen, P. (2004). e-lection 2004? New media and the campaign. In, Proceedings, Australian Election Workshop, ANU 2004, Canberra, Australia.
Access StatusOpen Access
Draft of latter chapter; contains information likely to be cut from the final print version
This paper explores the use of new media technologies, such as the Internet, in the Australian federal election campaign of 2004. With indications of a closely-contested campaign dominating media coverage in the lead up to October 9, normal assumptions of campaign strategies would call for the use of the full range of campaigning techniques to pry open pockets of support in key marginal seats. Internationally, new media technologies have become increasingly important in political campaigning, both as a tool for direct communication between partisans and electors, and as a particularly powerful method of networking together people, money, and issues. Based on research conducted on parties, candidates, and non-party activists, this paper argues that the use of new technologies in the Australian electoral environment remains limited and, in some aspects, has declined from the previous electoral cycle. This can be attributed to a number of factors: fundamental difficulties in aligning new communications channels to Australia's political geography, low perceptions of the efficacy of new technologies in shifting electors' voting intentions, and the failure by organised political parties to systematically resource and strategise new media technologies within their conventional communications and campaigning strategies. Overall, while a number of interesting campaigning innovations were observed and individual candidates had a greater online presence in this electoral cycle, innovation in the use of new technologies for political purposes has remained relatively low compared with comparative jurisdictions.
KeywordsInternet; new media; elections; campaigning; civil society; media; blogs; candidates; politics; Australia; federalism; election
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