Levels of Communication

Was listening to a bit off the ABC called the Hidden Persuaders, the unfashionable father of The Gruen Transfer on the iPod this morning and there was an interesting conversation about a petition tabled in state parliament about mums in 4X4s dropping kids off at school. The marketing guru basically said that a petition, while it will get a bit of media, will be ignored by a politician or a company. The rule seems to go like this, the more effort that you have to put in, the more it gets noticed. Non for profits will employ casuals on a basis of bonuses for the amount of signatures taken and it really is maybe twenty seconds of your time to participate and thus is largely ignored. A email takes more time and a letter even more time (and money) so are treated with more respect. I'd imagine that the letters and emails run by groups like GetUp where the work has been done for you are only given a touch more consideration than a petition. Ten letters chiselled into stone and dropped on the steps of parliament house would probably get laws changed on the same day.

All this is fair enough, why listen to a bunch of people hassled into signing a bit of paper more than someone that takes the time to put their red hot thoughts onto paper. The problem I have, is that I believe that there is an even higher level of communication and that's money. Business can buy a level of influence that a non for profit or an individual just can't match. Personally I'd love to see all political parties banned from receiving donations of any kind, for no other reason than it would mean less ads. Holding political parties to the trade practices act would be an interesting one as well. A lot of people will say that it will restrict politics to a subset of Australian society, but we get that now, the major parties are dominated by unionists, party machine people and lawyers. how many plumbers, sparkies, teachers (as opposed to teachers who've been in the union for the ten years before entering parliament) are in the ranks of our MPs.

This is why I really like Twitter. I'm not claiming it to be a revolutionary tool, although it has proved useful for very quick outcry, a digital mob with a pitchfork and burning torches. What i like is that at least for now it provides a direct line to the person. People who are getting their hacks to tweet are soon exposed, ridiculed and ignored.

Now excuse me, I'd like to make some real change in the way we pay our researchers in this country, so I'm off to find my stone slab and chisel.