Australian politicians are no strangers to the Internet. During the 2007 federal election, YouTube was one of the many battlegrounds between Kevin Rudd and John Howard. More recently we saw Rudd fly the banner for Twitter, reducing every minute detail of the PM's political life to a series of 160-character chunks.
Now, two more pollies have entered the world of Web 2.0 — none other than child-protector Stephen Conroy and apparent Web junkie Lindsay Tanner. They have ventured into the blogosphere: that world of self-indulgence and online communities hell-bent on tearing apart every possible flaw in arguments. But just like Rudd's Twitter profile, which recently had its author name changed from Kevin Rudd to the "KevinPM Team" (since we all thought that Kevin himself was writing the posts in the first place...), this blog seems to be little more than the same old political word twisting onto a new medium.
The "Oz Govt Consultation Blog" is designed to be a forum where the Federal Government can "gather as much evidence as we possibly can about how Australians want to engage online". A noble goal.
Except they have missed the point. The two topics on everyone's mind as soon as Conroy's name is mentioned are undoubtedly the National Broadband Network and the Internet content filter. So what is on Conroy's agenda during his trip to the blogosphere? Digital economy.
Politicians are jabbering away about digitised money while completely ignoring the population they set up the blog to hear from. At time of writing, just one of the blog posts has 65 pages of comments all about the filter.
Perhaps one comment from "Tristan" summed it up best: "How many more pages of comments expressing their opposition with the policy to the extent that they will abandon voting for Labor, will it take before Conroy takes notice?"