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Cross benches key to real change in NSW

By Richard Stanton - posted Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Next Saturday in New South Wales enrolled citizens will turn out to vote to elect a government.

They will vote for two houses of parliament – the Lower House or Legislative Assembly and the Upper House or Legislative Council.

The conservative metropolitan Sydney-based media – the Murdoch owned newspapers, commercial radio and television stations - forecast the Australian Labor Party - the present government with a majority in the Lower House - will be destroyed.


The progressive metropolitan media – the Fairfax-owned Sydney Morning Herald and the government-owned ABC – forecast the Greens will hold the balance of power.

Both sides of the media have dogs in the fight so it is difficult for the average voter to grasp the importance of the ballot and the consequences of their actions for NSW for the next four years.

There is a lot of bitterness about the way the government has acted during the past four years (generated mostly by 2GB's Alan Jones and the Daily Telegraph) but it is difficult to sense whether the bitterness is real or a by-product of fabricated media hatred.

Similarly, there is a level of concern among electors (generated by the SMH and ABC) that the Coalition has demonstrated little in the way of alternative leadership, innovation and management for them to be considered serious contenders to assume the burden of power.

Voters rely heavily on the media for information so that they can form opinions and make decisions.

They do not, however, always grasp the meanings being framed nor the alignments that cause the frames.


Part of the answer to the problem of the distribution of accurate and timely information on issues, candidates and processes, lies in an increased use by voters of social online media.

The Pew Research Center in the United States last week published a survey that indicated social media sites such as Twitter received a large increase in use in the 2010 mid term election campaign; 54% of adults went to the internet for political purposes.

While the same levels may not be reached in NSW there is a marked increase in the use of blogs and social media as voters work hard to find public spaces from which they can extract real and useful information.

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About the Author

Richard Stanton is a political communication writer and media critic. His most recent book is Do What They Like: The Media In The Australian Election Campaign 2010.

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All articles by Richard Stanton

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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