There are 16 parties registered for the WA Election, 15 with WA-based or named Facebook pages. And of those 15, the Australian Christians wins the not-so-minor party award by a landslide, having the most Facebook page likes (38,944 to be exact) out of the political parties in the running. They beat the @LiberalsWA by 21,019 followers and@WALabor by 24,252 followers, in part because their appeal is broader than any one election.
Let’s give this some perspective: @AustralianChristians is registered in Western Australia but its Facebook page speaks to a national audience – promoting the party in the lead up to the WA election, while also covering national news and party information. A similar appeal can be seen by the WA Greens, who also capture the attention of people interested in a range of issues only tangentially related to any particular election policy.
A significant mention goes to the Fluoride Free Party WA , whose Facebook page has clocked up 5,110 likes and comes in second, pipping the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party (WA), who have two Members of the Legislative Council in the WA Parliament. Up next is The Animal Justice Party the Socialist Alliance WA, and the National Party of Australia (WA), while trailing the bunch with a (dare we say) micro 153 followers is the Micro Business Party.
But where is Pauline Hanson?
Interestingly enough, Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party does not have a Western Australian Facebook page. One Nation, One Facebook page? Not so. There are separate Facebook pages for One Nation: South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales. But in Western Australia, any followers must look to the national One Nation Party page or the official Pauline Hanson’s Please Explain (that’s really its name) for guidance.
Why does it matter?
In the 2013 election, seven registered parties competed in the state election polls.
In this election, there are 16: The Animal Justice Party, Australian Christians (WA), Australian Labor Party (WA Branch), Daylight Saving Party, Family First Party WA, Fluoride Free WA Party, Julie Matheson for Western Australia,Liberal Democratic Party, Micro Business Party, National Party of Australia (WA), Pauline Hanson’s One Nation,Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party (WA), Socialist Alliance WA, The Flux Party – WA, The Greens (WA), The Liberal Party of Australia (WA branch).
In a crowded marketplace, Facebook is the perfect platform for minor parties to promote themselves. It is a place to influence users, share their message and engage with the public. A lack of followers, therefore, looks remarkably like a lack of a following.
Still, there’s a lot of cross over between many of these parties on key issues, with followers of one group often interested in others of similar political persuasion. Individually, some of these registered minor parties might not gather much of a following, but together they could have a dramatic effect on the polls come March 11.