Sunday, 2 July 2017

Credlin still has the knives out for Malcom Turnbull?

Peta Credlin, Sky News commentator and former chief of staff to sacked prime minster Tony Abbott, writing about Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull in The Australian on 26 June 2017:

Closer to home, Malcolm Turnbull is a fiend with a smartphone, a tablet, or whatever hot new thing is “it”. Anyone who has sat in a meeting with the Prime Minister knows they have 10 minutes to get to the point before he loses interest and starts to fidget for his technological fix.

It used to be the BlackBerry as he scrolled through emails with the addiction so pronounced we used to warn people that as soon as it was in his hand, the meeting was in “wind-up” mode and they had to pitch like an ad executive about to lose their biggest client. Now it’s the iPhone and the warning’s still the same…..

If you believe the so-called experts, Turnbull understands the political power of the online world in a way his predecessor never did. I disagree: he might get the platform but his predecessor got the message. A former journalist, Tony Abbott’s focus was always on the authenticity of his message rather than the ideology of how it got to market.

Abbott always argued that a good message would build its own momentum and his mantra (stopping the boats, scrapping the carbon tax) — while much maligned by the urban elites — was a strategic devise designed to cut through information overload most families contend with as they go about their busy lives.

At the Liberal Party’s national conference on Saturday, Turnbull spruiked Facebook in his keynote speech saying it was necessary “for strong political and effective communication, getting around the mainstream media and making sure our message gets direct to our supporters”.

It might surprise some observers to know that Abbott still leads Turnbull on Facebook — 429,630 to the PM’s 359,360 — because “everyman” Abbott knows that Facebook is the home of ordinary people in the seats that change government, and it’s now where so many get their news and current affairs. After his own speech on Saturday calling on colleagues to be more authentic to improve the polls, I’m surprised Scott Morrison has only 36,740 followers.

Embarrassingly, one of Turnbull’s top political advisers, senator Scott Ryan, only manages 1250 followers, so ­clearly the PM has his work cut out if he expects key allies to do more to take the fight up to Labor. For minor parties and activists, the use of online technology is a game-changer. Previously the cost of mass advertising was prohibitive and only featured in campaigns, if at all.

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