Political parties and the internet:

Niall Clugston writes: Re. Friday’s Editorial. Your editorial on Friday is just another example of IT idolatry: “The first political party to understand the significance of the online public space and engage in that space effectively will reap rich rewards”.

The internet is not the answer to every question. Sure, there are “communities online”, but do they have more members than the union movement? And, no, sock puppets are not real people.

Declining membership in parties and social movements is a sign of pervasive apathy, passivity, lack of direction, and cynicism on social and political questions. It’s not because most people are living vibrant second lives in cyberspace, leaving their bodily form to conduct only mundane tasks.

And why do parties need members? Like principles, they are more of a hindrance than a help. The ALP has shown for many years it can do without either. Sure, it’s had a dramatic reversal of fortune since the heady days of 2007, but that’s not about the internet!


Terry Mills writes: Re. “Time-honoured rituals of regulation live on” (Friday, item 2). Good to see that our Tony Abbott is going to cut into government red tape, intrusive and the unnecessary compliance costs burdening small business, largely associated with the GST and he will probably sign a blood-oath to repeal the heinous Labor consumption tax when in office: Oh, hang on …

Martyn Smith writes: I write to support Marcus L’Estrange (Friday, comments). I would add that these days most people getting a pay increase are expected to make “productivity gains”. If our politicians “did more” by reducing their numbers and increasing the size of their electorates this would be a real productivity gain. As for states and their parliaments, I fully agree with Marcus L’Estrange … get rid of them.