On message or out of touch? Secure web sites and political campaigning in Australia
Taylor and Francis
Faculty of Education and Arts
School of Communications and Arts / Centre for Research in Entertainment, Arts, Technology, Education and Communications
This article examines the extent to which Australian parties are adapting new information and communication technologies (ICTs) for electoral advantage, with particular reference to the Intranets or ‘secure web sites’ being operated by the major parties. Although all parties now routinely provide public web sites to communicate with voters, their use of Intranet sites is a less well-publicised but increasingly important area of activity. These resources serve as a significant conduit of communication between the central and local arms of party organisations, helping to ensure that candidates remain organised and ‘on message’. Based on the specific case of the Liberal Party, we explore the wider implications of Intranets for the centralisation and professionalisation of political campaigning in Australia. We also assess the advantages such developments bestow on the major parties, and the prospect this raises for the ‘cartelisation’ of the Australian party system.