Peter Adamis July 2014. We have reached a stage in Victorian politics where it can be truly said that political cyber warfare is here to stay. The recent BaillieuGate leaked tape is but the tip of the iceberg and it is the authors belief that we not yet seen the end of this. A copy of the complete article may be downloaded by clicking on: BAILLIEUGATE7
We the public are still waiting for the outcome o the Police report based on their enquirers into the alleged theft of the journalist tape. Additional information has been found via twitter accounts and these have been introduced without identifying the owners. Using them as a guide it is not too difficult to ascertain that a number of individuals knew that the story was about to break and yet no one was able to pin the original source. This is an excellent demonstration of how information is being shared and developed in order to obtain the maximum media attention.
In a recent article by the Wall Street Journal, Mark Zuckerberg Chief Executive of Facebook states that “There have been moments in history where the invention of new technology has completely rewired the way our society lives and works.” This statement is so relevant today’s society that one cannot escape its tentacles no matter how one may hide from its reaches. There is a lot of research into how to deliver the internet in completely new ways.
Mark Zuckerberg goes onto say that “some of this work involves satellites, planes, lasers and beaming internet from the sky”. This author is of the belief that by the year 2020, every Australian home will have some form of digital online communication in their home or in the least on their person.
If this is to be the case, Australian political parties need to prepare and take advantage of these new and emerging technologies. At the last Federal election very few campaigns by either major political parties made any great effort to use the media effectively and relied on non media concepts. Those that were able to use online media had greater exposure and engaged the community effectively and thus the candidate increased his or her profile.
Political warfare. Political warfare is as old as the hills they say and that the only thing that changes is the technology and that methodologies used to deliver their ideological messages to the masses. Beginning with physical force in the ancient of days to subtle means of bribery, innuendo, manipulation, and intimidation its all the same even by today’s standards. Today what we see is intimidation, veiled threats, corruption, remarkable subtle images designed to arouse emotions and the exploitation of online social media.
Ancient communication methodologies. This is a timely reminder of the ancient race of Spartans who were trained to be strong, loyal, cunning, deceitful and men of few words, hence the word laconic. These same Spartans despite their valour in battle were also taught how to steal from one another as long as they did not get caught for the penalty was a public lashing which in most cases was almost certain death.
It is the same with the new generation of political hopefuls who are sharpening their skills in the social media arena with other online gladiators. Some use websites, some use programs such as twitter, tumbler, Linkedin, Dare, Viber, emails, texting, images, Facebook and a host of other online free programmes to send their messages out.
Who are these young men and women who are making an impact on our political psyche. Are they the warriors of the future? Are the guardians we all hoped would save us all from big brother politics or are they just a bunch of young larrikins with nothing better to do and create mischief and strife. Many of these young political staffers hide behind the veil of political respectability in the offices of ministers, government departments, positions of influence and community organisations.
Old boys school. Some but not all have their own clubs which were formed during their high schooldays, University and even TAFE colleges and as such share secrets amongst themselves in order to feel that superiority of others. Social media is their form of communication and it is also an outlet for their frustration, boredom as well as the maintenance of their well being by boosting their confidence levels when they get a ‘positive hit or a high’ on social media. The current top online social gladiator is the one responsible for the BaillieuGate leaked tape. This person or persons responsible are still considered the top gladiator or the fastest gun in the west until someone else comes along and topples them off their perch.
Political pendulum. One wonders what is the point of it all. Well, lets us put it into layman’s language and consider the effect it has on a political psychological basis. Imagine a scoreboard or a political pendulum that us forever changing and only stops when the final vote has been taken after a State election has been finished. You can bet your bottom dollar that right up until the doors are closed at polling booths, there will be an increase in social media outlets and a spike in programs such as mobile texting, twitter, websites, blogs, Facebook, tumbler and yes even emails. Texting will be used extensively during the crucial periods because it is quick and an efficient means of communication and of coordination. The next State election is so crucial to both sides that whoever has a good grasp of communication, mobility and the manpower will prevail.
All other pre state election resources and planning will be for nought political parties have not been able to master the basic fundamentals of political campaigning. That is not to say that pre election phony political warfare is not effective, it is but the matter of fact is that it will all boil down to who is better prepared on the day. Communication, mobility and manpower are the key elements in any political campaign.
Rallying the troops. During the last State election Labor were instrumental in using online media effectively to appeal to the masses and yet despite those successes still failed to win over the voters en masse. Where Labor was effective was in the manner of communication with Victorian voters and thus holding the line against the backlash of disgruntled voters
From a political strategist point of view where deception plays a big part in the overall campaign, Labor online campaigner out fought those of their Liberal opponents. Labor was effective in the rallying of troops, collection of funds from the public, communicated on a daily basis with new and old members and went to extraordinary lengths to keep their members engaged. This is political communication at its best and the results and outcomes speak for themselves.
An example of a local campaign site being prepared for the State election may be visited by clicking on: XXX Candidate for NMR This site will be populated with the candidates details and other information relevant to the campaign. in addition other online components of social media will also be activated to ensure maximum exposure
Online copycat campaign strategies. The Coalition is currently trailing behind Labor in the online social media and it is no secret that Labor was on the campaign trail directly after the results of the Federal election in September 2013. The Coalition needs to be more engaging, proactive and in tune with community aspirations and their needs. Cooperation and in-house communication are also essential to creating harmony and providing local campaigns with the resources and means to conduct effective campaigns. The image below is an indication of how similar the campaign leading up to the state election is being viewed. It is of interest to note that both parties have recognised the need to demonstrate community support for local issues.
Liberal Party Community message
Labor Party Community message
Unity versus disunity. It now appears that the Liberal party has learnt from its Labor cousins and has taken action to close the online cyberwafare gap and is using similar tactics to engage their members and supporters. But will it be enough and will it be in time to send their messages out in order to manipulate the political environment to their point of view. As a conservatist, one would hopes so but at what cost to the Liberals.
Will disunity continue, will miscommunication and irrelevant attacks on Liberals domestic campaigners and powerbrokers gather momentum until the Liberal party be but a shell of its former self. Will conservatism prevail or will those who left leaning and socialist ideas and concepts take root and remain a core platform of the Liberal Party.
Political agitators. There are some within both major political parties who believe that it’s time for a change and are pushing forward their hidden agendas of gay marriage, abortion issues, societal moral paradigms being questioned and a subtle push for a new guard to be brought in to usher a period what we would consider today as un-Australian and an anathema to our way of life.
A new age of political concepts. At a recent meeting of young Liberals new concepts and breaking new ground ideas were put forth. Ideas and concepts that have the ingredients to bring about change that may not be welcome or acceptable by some members o society. Had the ideas been proposed some twenty years ago,, they would have been hounded and ostracised. But now it seems on the surface that Australian society has matured and thrown off the shackles of a bygone era and accepted individuals who they are and not on the social fears of the past. Whether these new ideas can be translated at the political and legal level is a matter of conjecture.
The youth of today are no longer concerned about the paradigms of the past and they are not tied to ideas that are irrelevant in today’s society. They are more concerned about the environment, a fair go for all concerned, community enhancements, a safe and secure environment, lifestyle choices, jobs and employment opportunities, the means to communicate and to travel and they appear more open minded in accepting new ideas and concepts. Despite all of the above, they still seek the warmth the wisdom, the security and mentorship of the mature age generation as guide posts and anchors on life.
The baby boomer generation which has been the most influential generation throughout mans history is reluctant to stop and give up what they have been dong. This creates somewhat a conundrum amongst the emerging generations and solutions are not easy to come by. Vigilance is therefore the key word and with vigilance comes responsibility, a responsibility that is often a difficult one to shoulder in today’s world of uncertainty and of new technologies that are continually outpacing our capacity to keep up to date with. One hopes that with the new generation of political gladiators, wisdom, commonsense and the Aussie fair-go is included amongst their political weapons.
The youth of today. The last thing that we want is for crime to rise at a time when our prisons are being filled with young and those who cannot afford legal fees to defend themselves. The last thing we need is a youth culture that believes its best to take up a life of crime and/or revert to a drug culture to take away their loss of self respect and confidence levels. Changing Australian attitudes is one thing, changing a culture is another and yet changes must be made in order that Australia can afford to retain its high standard of living.
Australian governments have the unenviable responsibly of preparing the generations of today for the world of work of tomorrow. To do this many changes have to occur. Changes that may not be seen as palatable and/or welcome by a public who appear to be losing faith in their political representatives of all parties.
Youth programmes. I would like to see a review of the youth allowance, especially for those who have left the safety net of the education system and be provided with opportunities and support that will create an environment of self respect and the confidence to be employed.
If means to have access to some form of finance then so be it, but with a difference. In such cases I would like to see a programme that best describes a youth start programme, such as “Skills for Work” (SFW) or “Ever Ready Opportunities” (ERO) and/or Job on Contribution” “JOC”. These are but some programme acronyms that may assist the youth in obtaining work and seeking employment opportunities.
Australian industry partnerships. These type of programmes would be tied to Australian industries that are short of manpower and are willing to train and mentor the youth. Australian industries would be able to apply for tax breaks, be provided with lucrative government tenders, and also have access to government financial incentives. This will enable them to attract and retain for the long term the youth under their care.
Government support and long term financial security should be provided to those industries willing to take on the responsibility of the youth today and create a work force that is ready to meet the needs of all Australians into the future. Failing to provide support will only increase a crime rate that Australians can no longer afford. The year is still young and there is still much room to manoeuvre to the high ground of conservatist policies.
Factional wars. In the past I had written that the factional wars were over and that no factions existed within the Liberal party. Having stated this I overlooked human behaviour and the need for greed and lust for power of those who are supposed to represent our society. From a personal point of view, although I would be happy to see an end to the factions I am cognizant of past history that it is not possible. In any case it is a healthy sign that democracy is at its best when there are alternative points of views and alternative methods of delivering a message to Victorian voters. The article in the Age on the 9 July 2014 is a good description of what has occurred in the past and is well worth treading. (see below)
Back to basics. I would like to believe that Tony Snell and his management team are over the witch hunt, that the State Director is now focusing on the State election and that the political power brokers who ever they may be can put aside their differences in order that the political elements of the coalition can cross the line at the next State election. I would also prefer to see that the media report facts and not fairy tales in order to increase their profiles and newspapers in whatever format creates wealth for them. Let Victoria become again the Jewel within the Conservative crown and not lean too far to the left where the loonies and alleged recalcitrant sycophants reside. Victorians are fickle voters and if the messages they receive are not compatible with their needs and long term goals, all the media hype and online cyberwafare is but for nought.
The Voice from the Pavement – Peter Adamis is a Journalist/Commentator and writer. He is a retired Australian military serviceman and an Industry organisational & Occupational (OHS) & Training Consultant whose interests are within the parameters of domestic and international political spectrum. He is an avid blogger and contributes to domestic and international community news media outlets as well as to local and Ethnic News. He holds a Bachelor of Adult Learning & Development (Monash), Grad Dip Occupational Health & Safety, (Monash), Dip. Training & Assessment, Dip Public Administration, and Dip Frontline Management. Contact via Email: [email protected]ace.net.au or via Mobile: 0409965538