May 24, 2004 | Graham

The Lie Detectors – coming to a computer screen near you

“The Lie Detectors” – it sounds like a movie title, and perhaps it is, in the way it is being used by Australia’s most fragile mainstream party, The Australian Democrats, as their campaign theme for the next election.
I must admit, the title and the bleak background on the campaign posters that I saw on TV is a little bit reminiscent of The Untouchables ; or perhaps The Magnificent Seven (there are even seven of them too), which means my gut reaction was that it won’t work as a piece of political rhetoric.
But what if it really were a movie, and playing on a computer screen near you? Check this site out Would footage like this be enough to turn “The Lie Detectors” into a brilliant piece of political gotcha?
The Dems have a number of problems. They are competing against The Greens for the last spot in the Australian Upper House, and the Greens are polling anywhere up to 9% of the vote while the Dems are having trouble registering at all. Their leader, Andrew Bartlett, is a little eccentric. He is, or used to be, a goth, and late last year admitted to an alcohol problem after assaulting a female Liberal Senator on the floor of the Senate in full view of the in-situ television cameras. As a result of both these factors they are having trouble getting voters to take them seriously as a vehicle for anything.
Last election the Democrats made the mistake of trying to be a broad-based major party. It didn’t work – their appeal is strictly to political niches. This ad represents a return to niche political marketing; it has a colour scheme that fits their leader; and it is effectively produced. If they can convince voters that they are the best way of sending the government a message about refugees, they just might survive this election damaged, but afloat.
There are a couple of shoals though. To view it effectively, it does require broadband; and the refugee issue is disappearing off the radar as the government’s policy proves effective (refugees no longer float down from Indonesia) at the same time as Amanda Vanstone quietly dismantles some of the more controversial aspects of it.
Still, I’ll be hanging out for the sequels to see where the Democrats go with this one.

Posted by Graham at 4:24 pm | Comments (1) |
Filed under: eDemocracy

1 Comment

  1. The Lie Detectors…trying hard to win back votes or just a bunch of try-hards?
    Part of the problem with it, I think, is that it doesn’t really seem to be that different from the old slogan, Keeping the Bastards Honest. It is still reacting to what others are doing, only in better suits and with a really cool X-Files like background.
    As someone who used to dye my hair black in my youth, the goth thing is not an issue for me (the drunk behaviour thing is, but I think Bartlett has made amends for that). I just suspect the Dems use-by-date might be nearly up and like the DLP before them their agenda has served its purpose.

    Comment by Darlene Taylor — May 25, 2004 @ 11:10 am

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