It’s been almost a month since Treasurer Joe Hockey announced the budget and the response from the Australian people has been enormous.
The Abbott Government’s budget has been the topic of discussions across social networks. While I have seen some pro-budget posts it is the dissenters I will focus on in here since they seem to have had the loudest voice.
As a student I have been subjected mostly to messages regarding university fees: uncapping of fees, reduced government investment in universities, introducing interest on FEE-HELP and a reduced income repayment level.
Social media has played a couple of different roles.
If you can call it this. While there were some conversations, there was also just many tweets and many memes made. From memes to hashtags the Government has copped it all. #ThreeWordBudget circulated through Twitter with many participants using negative words to describe the budget. Here are a couple of examples:
I’m sure by now you’ve seen many memes pass through your newsfeed. Social media users were quick to make memes and share them to their online networks. Here are a few examples:
University students in Melbourne and Sydney protested against the budget on the street and at their universities – and it was all captured on social media.
Sophie Mirabella’s lecture at the University of Melbourne was interrupted by protesting students.
This is just one of many tweets and videos posted to social media sites. It takes only moments for the news to spread nationally, not the way the Government would like it to be.
So how did the Government respond?
Well, they tried, I suppose. Here’s a tweet they sent out:
The responses received to this tweet were negative. There is nothing to show that they are even listening.
It appears that they are giving social media a go. They are trying to change the tone of the online discussion but before they can try and do that they need to listen to the conversation.
The Liberal Party of Australia’s Facebook page tells much the same story. They are using social media to push their messages. Beyond this they are staying out of the discussion and not listening to the conversation.
To develop a more positive discussion requires the Government to listen to what people are saying. It is useless to push information onto people who are not interested in accepting it. Matters of politics will always have opposition but there will also be supporters.
This is social media, you can’t control it but you can try to manage.