Pauline Hanson's One Nation may be a party of economic Luddites but it is showing a keen strategic grasp of the power of the Internet. As well as an official One Nation Web site that has reportedly drawn 500,000 visitors, the party is using the Internet to counter mainstream media coverage which Hansonites view as hopelessly hostile.
Following a recent 60 Minutes TV segment on One Nation, for example, 5000 subscribers to One Nation's electronic mail list were alerted to the program's use of an adverse survey which the party felt was unfairly skewed. They were encouraged to use the Internet to bombard Toyota, one of 60 Minute's sponsors, with e-mailed complaints. The party will continue to mobilise supporters via e-mail on similar issues in future, said One Nation's Webmaster and moderator of the list, Scott Balson.
One Nation's Web site (www.onenation.com.au) allows it to short-circuit media filters and put its message directly to voters, according to Balson. In the past year, the site has attracted 500,000 visitors of whom 30,000 came through the Web pages in the final week of the Queensland election, he said.
A Hanson supporter who runs the Queensland-based Internet services business Global Web Builders, Balson plans to put all 10 of Queensland's newly-elected One Nation parliamentarians on the Internet.
The Internet's depth of information on issues such as international treaties will allow the fledgling politicians to offset the research resources enjoyed by the established parties, Balson said.
He dismissed the perception that many One Nation supporters are technophobic country bumpkins as "a media fallacy". Only 20 per cent of subscribers to the party's electronic mail list reside in rural Queensland, he said.