Cyber Pollies: the MPs pushing the big issues online
There’s a trove of tools and information online that help those of us in government and external affairs do our jobs. Knowing how or where to look can give us a real advantage and or reveal some interesting insights.
Despite certain events this week, social media is not just where MPs go to find themselves in hot water. As the recent nationwide focus on the News Bargaining Code shows us , social media is where people are finding their information and engaging in civic debate.
This means social platforms are now a crucial tool for MPs today, and were especially important during the pandemic when in-person events and meetings were cancelled. In addition to the official Parliamentary Hansard record, these platforms allow MPs to communicate with their constituents, and voice their opinions and positions on various policy matters.
So what are the big issues this month, and who’s talking about them?
The March4Justice made the most noise with 773 results, as women’s issues in the workplace dominated headlines throughout March and the Federal Government’s response was in the spotlight.
Victorian MP Sonja Terpstra led the way on the topic with 134 tweets in March alone, while Federal newcomer and member for Waringah Zali Steggall and Jenny Leong - member for Newtown came in second and third with 29 and 27 tweets respectively.
An interesting note - a significant 60% of Queensland MP Leanne Linard’s tweets related to the March, suggesting it was a passionate issue for the otherwise twitter-quiet MP.
Going by many names online such as plain Covid, Coronavirus, or Covid-19 means we had to include a boolean “OR” search to make sure we captured everyone’s online remarks.
Twitter has been a crucial medium for official communications and for MPs to demonstrate their action for the community.
The results reflect the reality at the time of writing: Queensland was in the grip of one of its more serious outbreaks, and as such Queensland Health Minister Yvette D’ath was actively updating the community with 98 tweets, followed by Queensland premier with 77.
Meanwhile, Queensland opposition MP Rob Molhoek has been on the attack this month with a 100% proportion of his tweets about the topic.
When researching what MPs were saying on climate change, we get the whole picture by scanning Hansard as well.
While Zali Steggall MP (12 tweets, 1 speech) and Pat Conroy MP (6 tweets, 1 speech) are loud on Twitter, Adam Bandt MP (6 tweets, 1 speech) brings the issue into Parliament along with Malcolm Roberts and Jonathon Duniam who are the most vocal in Parliament with four speeches mentioning the topic each.