Australia's conservative opposition party is casting the looming election as a referendum over a contentious carbon tax, pledging on Monday that scrapping the tax would be its first priority if it regains power.
Abbott's feed needs to shake off its robotic quality and start revealing the Rhodes scholar who is also comfortable tucking into a meal with builders at the Rooty Hill RSL. He needs to stop using those staged shots of himself with his daughters and start posting more candid, spontaneous pictures. Real, everyday interactions. He'd do well to include some quotes from speeches detailing things he's passionate about, instead of links to press releases.
It's no secret that busy people often have help creating their social media presence - Obama's Twitter feed announces that the account is run by the Organizing for Action staff and the president's actual tweets will be signed "-bo". But a successful social media strategy has to channel the essence of a human being. Postings from Abbott's account are wooden and formulaic; "Speech just posted" and "Met with representatives". The writing may be first person but his voice is not coming through.
This failure to engage using social media is even more inexplicable given that some of the issues and traits which make Tony Abbott most Tony would translate strongly on social media.
Back in 2010 John Pilger warned about Australia as the first ‘murdochracy’.
"Australian local government referendum would have failed" pjblack.me/1eunotL #ausvotes #lauspol #lwb242
Social media experts say politicians may win votes through social media, but the risk of gaffes is great.
Welcome to the The Conversation Election 2013 State of the Nation essays. These articles by leading experts in their field provide an in-depth look at the key policy challenges affecting Australia as the nation heads to the polls. Today, we examine the issue of education, all the way from early childhood to tertiary level.
Neither Julia Gillard in 2010 or John Howard in 2007 or 2004 spoke of election donations when they called the election.
There is reason to be sceptical of the new push for small donations, according to Joo-Cheong Tham, associate professor of law at Melbourne University and an author on political finance.
"Historically both the major parties have not relied on small money but relied on big money," Tham told Guardian Australia.
"I think part of the change they would say is partly inspiration from the Obama campaign, but a sceptical view might say this push for micro-donations is less about getting more money than it is about creating the impression that the campaign is a people's campaign."
Chuck Lewis discusses what campaign tips Australia's politicians could take from last year's American presidential election.
News Corp defends 'kick this mob out' front page as PM urges voters to make up their own minds about 'fairness and balance'
The Liberal MP who holds South Australia's most marginal federal electorate has accused Labor of dirty tricks by posting a false message on Twitter, suggesting he was on holiday in Fiji. Andrew Southcott holds the southern Adelaide seat of Boothby by a margin of 0.6 per cent. There later came a confirmation the tweet had emanated from within Labor ranks and Premier Jay Weatherill apologised, saying it was from an adviser in his Health Minister's office.
It's on people. Let the campaign begin. Democracy in action.
With the Australian election called for 7 September, where do the two parties stand on climate change policy?
"But something bigger than the careers of two ambitious men will be at stake when the people cast their votes. The Australian political system itself is as much a candidate at this election as anybody whose name will be on the ballot paper. The system is under very heavy strain. The 2010 election campaign was a dreadful experience. The Labor government had shocked itself and the community with its defenestration of Rudd. Was Gillard running against the memory of Rudd as well as Abbott? At times the whole thing seemed absurd. Gillard and Abbott voluntarily placed themselves in rhetorical straitjackets all the way to election day."
But one can make several predictions that will almost certainly be accurate. Some seats which seem far less marginal will change hands, and swings will not be even across states. Labor is banking on the Rudd factor to balance losses in NSW by winning back a swag of seats in Queensland, and therefore making victory possible.
Tony Abbott is the Opposition Leader. He's good at that job, and it must be mildly disconcerting in this campaign to find that he's not the only guy in the role.
Everything that makes Tony mad (porous borders, NSW Labor corruption and so on) makes Kevin madder still.
All the tricks of an opposition leader's trade - the soaring rhetoric, the impossible promises, that seductive gaze deep into the eyes of the electorate that says "I can't stand this party. Why don't you grab your coat, and then let's you and me get out of here, shall we?" - Kevin's using them all.
Even his brand-new campaign slogan offers "A New Way".
In traditional terms, a New Way is what you're allowed to offer if you haven't already had Your Way.
To offer a New Way when you've already been in office for six years - well, that really takes some chops.
At this point, you couldn't blame Tony Abbott for feeling a tiny bit aggrieved about Mr Rudd's tactical pitch invasion.
If it appeared on the ballot paper, None of the Above could be in with a chance in this election.
NOTA is actually offered as a voting choice in some countries, including Ukraine, Spain and Colombia. If it were an option in Australia, there would probably be a group of voters at least superficially tempted to go for it.
And who could blame them? In a time when the only thing that seems certain is change – change to how we work, change to the technologies we use, change to how we earn our income, change to how we generate electricity, change to the global economy and power structures – then what we crave is a leader and a government that has it in hand, with both a plan and the smarts to adapt.
But what we have on offer is two major parties that are winging it.
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