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Flagpost is a blog on current issues of interest to members of the Australian Parliament

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Online political communication—does this post need to be authorised?

‘Spoken by J Jones. Authorised by S Smith, Canberra.’ This familiar phrase, spoken rapidly at the end of a TV ad, is a common feature of Australian elections, and is an example of an authorisation statement required by law to allow voters to know the source of the advertising. While these statements have traditionally been found on political advertising on TV, radio and in newspapers, recent changes to the law have expanded the range of communications considerably, with social media, internet video and streaming music now covered (but not sky writing or graffiti). Read more...

Tweeting from the Chamber

On 12 March 2013, the Manager of Opposition Business Christopher Pyne asked Speaker Anna Burke to make a ruling on a tweet by Member for Bendigo, Steve Gibbons during question time, asking for the Member to withdraw. Steve Gibbons‏@SteveGibbonsMPLooks like @tonyabbottmhr has contracted out his nasty side to interjector's in the public gallery. A new low even for the Libs!Mr Gibbons had tweeted this after two people had been ejected from the public gallery in succession, for interjecting during Question Time.The question about MPs' use of twitter in the chamber is one that has become increasingly common amongst legislatures around the world. The debate ranges from those opposed to the use of ... Read more...

U.S. Presidential election results and the changing nature of political communication

Despite predictions of a down-to-the-wire election, the US presidential election on 6 November 2012 provided incumbent President Barack Obama (Dem) with a definitive win both in Electoral College votes and the National Popular Vote. When Associated Press called Florida, the last state to be finalised, for President Obama, it gave him the overwhelming lead of 332 Electoral College votes, well in advance of the 270 votes needed to win and of Governor Romney’s (Rep) 206 votes. A Democrat win was in contention in the lead-up to the election partly due to an electoral redistribution as a result of a national Census in 2010. This changed the Electoral College map, making Virginia, Iowa, Florida, ... Read more...

Australia's public diplomacy and social media

On 6–7 June 2011 the Forum on Public and Citizen Diplomacy was convened in Canberra to formulate recommendations for Australian public diplomacy practitioners, with the aim of identifying best practice and emerging trends in this field. Innovative ways of conducting public diplomacy, including through the use of social media, have been advanced by Australia's partners. But what exactly is public diplomacy? Experiences from the US, UK, and the EUUnited States of AmericaIn the US, public diplomacy constitutes an essential part of the US foreign policy establishment, and is seen as an element of ‘soft power’, a term which was made popular by Professor Joseph Nye. Soft power refers to a state’s ... Read more...

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