Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has declared he enjoys the “often quite feisty” debates he regularly participates in with respect to topics such as the National Broadband Network, noting that the medium was a good one for examining the quality of people’s arguments.
The former Liberal Leader remains one of the few Australian politicians to actively respond to questions and queries via the burgeoning social networking platform, with most in the political sphere simply using it to post links to their latest speeches or media releases.
Turnbull’s opposite, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy, has yet to join Twitter, although his Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy has a presence, which it mainly uses to post links to ministerial and departmental statements and other related news.
In an interview with Mumbrella (above), Turnbull said simply posting links was an acceptable use of the medium, but he also enjoyed Twitter’s more interactive side. “I quite like having debates on Twitter, and getting into often very feisty arguments on Twitter, it’s good,” he said.
Turnbull’s web site is also a fount of debate, with many using its facility to post comments to debate the MP’s ideas on his blog posts and speeches. “The good thing about a lot of these online forums, to use a generic term, is that the quality of people’s arguments becomes obvious,” said Turnbull. “People who post, you know, stupid or absive comments, really are shown up for what they are.”
Turnbull’s enjoyment of the medium was on display in January during a series of debates spurred by news regarding the National Broadband Network and Coalition policy regarding it.
“A prudent deployment of public resources is more likely to ensure you daughter’s prosperity than an National Broadband Network with no cost/benefit analysis,” he told prominent telecommunications commentator Michael Wyres through Twitter on January 11. And later, to Sydney resident Luke Fromhold, “I am a big fan of iTunes University and keen on more online education content, but hard to see how online lectures etc require 100Mbps domestic.”
Recently the Liberal stalwart has used his Twitter account to spruik the poll hosted on his site regarding gay marriage, as well as posting pictures from a community picnic for his electorate of Wentworth in Sydney’s Centennial Park.
One of the small number of other politicians who does have a responsive Twitter presence is also in the Communications portfolio — Greens Senator Scott Ludlam. Ludlam often posts updates live from his laptop during sensitive Senate hearings and responds to questions from followers while in parliament. In recent weeks the politician has posted links to issues associated with the Federal Government’s controversial data retention scheme, as well as responding to ad-hoc follower enquiries.