The Australian public and politics on-line: Reinforcing or reinventing representation?

Gibson, R, Lusoli, W and Ward, SJ 2008, 'The Australian public and politics on-line: Reinforcing or reinventing representation?' , Australian Journal of Political Science, 43 (1) , pp. 111-131.

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Fears for the health of representative politics in advanced industrial democracies have gained prominence in recent years with observers pointing to a growing body of evidence that citizens are disengaging from formal politics. One of the solutions put forward to address these perceived problems is the incorporation, by politicians, of new communication channels, such as the Internet and the World Wide Web (WWW). To date, however, attention has focused largely on the supply-side of on-line engagement by politicians rather than on levels of demand and actual use among citizens. This article provides a ‘bottom– up’ perspective to the debate in the Australian context, looking at the e-democracy and, particularly, e-representation debate from the public’s viewpoint. Specifically, we address two questions: how much support do such e-initiatives attract? And can they bring about the mobilisation of less politically engaged groups? Our findings show that although Australians broadly support the roll-out of e-representation tools, current interaction levels are low. Second, although they may have the potential to engage some younger people in the political process, widespread mobilisation is unlikely to occur in the near future.

Item Type: Article
Themes: Subjects outside of the University Themes
Schools: Schools > School of Humanities, Languages & Social Sciences > Centre for Democracy and Human Rights
Journal or Publication Title: Australian Journal of Political Science
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 1036-1146
Depositing User: Users 29196 not found.
Date Deposited: 21 Dec 2011 13:52
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2022 14:01

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