tip off

Negative Campaigning

It seems politicians these days have a lot to say about each other, specifically the downfalls and failures of their opposing party, argues student journalist Lucia Coleman.

The recent ACT election witnessed the Canberra Liberals’ campaign that spread idea of that our rates will triple when Labor and the Greens took government.

Professor Ian McAllister, from the School of Political Science at the Australian National University, has found that detailed campaigning strategies are a thing of the past.

“Voters are not necessarily interested in a lot of detail and if [campaigns] do have a lot of detail, it opens the party up to criticisms that they got their numbers wrong for example”.

Prof McAllister’s research for his book Trends in Australian political opinion found that many Australians do actually care a great deal about the election and who wins. 68% of Australians care according to his results.

ACT Labor Secretary and Campaign Director Elias Hallaj believes the key is to campaign to a wide section of the community and to keep a positive spin on things.

“Incumbent election campaigns must have a higher standard of accountability to the electorate and…must also convince the electorate that they deserve re-election with a positive vision for the future and policies which inspire and strengthen a community.” Mr Hallaj said.

While relying on those in Canberra following the election to use their own sense of judgement in Liberal’s campaigns against Labor, Mr Hallaj admits the Liberal accusations of triple rates, caused too much of a stir to ignore and negative campaigning was adopted to counter this sort of Liberal campaigning.

With the ease of technology and media, along with opposing parties poking holes in your own policy, Prof McAllister believes it’s now a case of parties not creating a positive image of themselves, but knocking down the other, hence the school yard name calling we see from the people who run our country.


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