The Hon. Rob Lucas MLC

The Hon

Rob Lucas MLC

Treasurer

Speeches

Matter of Interest: Premier's Twitter Site

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

The Hon. R.I. LUCAS (15:43): I refer to a story in this morning's newspaper that was headed 'Tweets make twit of Rann', a story by Michael Owen. Members will be aware that Mr Rann tells everyone, and prides himself on the fact, that he personally handles his Twitter account—and that is important in terms of the story. Mr Owen says:

"Mike Rann—a devotee of the social networking website Twitter—has been embarrassed after some of the Twitterers he chose to follow were found to be promoting hardcore pornography, adult services and links to gun sales…Mr Rann, who personally attends to his Twitter site several times a day, has chosen to follow more than 7,000 other individual Twitterers from around the world, including a range of unsavoury characters discussing and providing links to nude pictures and hardcore sex. One of those Mr Rann was following and has since blocked, named Carrillo, discussed her dislike for condoms and her preferred style of ejaculation."

I will not go on with that. Morning ABC presenters Matthew Abraham and David Bevan followed up the story and spoke to the Premier. They indicated that they had gone onto the website and had found a particular twitterer who said:

"Sheralyn99, a well-endowed young woman, and among other things she says 'my arse needs a good spanking. Anyone interested?'"

That is an example of the sorts of things being referred to in the story.

Mr Rann's argument to the morning presenters was that he had automatically allowed himself to follow people who followed him on his Twitter account. The first issue there is that Mr Rann's Twitter has approximately 6,500 people who follow him, but he follows more than 7,000.

Of course, if this automatic argument were to follow, clearly there is something wrong with the numbers and with that explanation from the Premier. Secondly, the impression that he is trying to give, that this is something that happens automatically, may well mislead people who do not understand how this issue arises. If someone asks to follow the Premier, if he then wants to follow that person's Twitter account himself, he has to make a conscious decision when operating his Twitter account to follow that particular person. He will see the name of the person and, in many cases, a photograph and the name of that account and then make a conscious decision to click or not click the 'follow' button. If he is not registered on, he may well have to undertake two or three functions—conscious decisions—to follow those particular twitterers on their Twitter account.

So, contrary to the impression he has given some media people that this is some sort of automatic thing, it is not and anyone who understands how Twitter operates would understand the falseness of that explanation from the Premier. The Premier on his Twitter account this morning again tries to spin the story by saying, 'The Oz is concerned about who my followers are'. The Australian did not raise questions about who was following him because it was a public site and all sorts of people, savoury or unsavoury, can follow people on public sites in terms of their political announcements or information.

The Australian was not questioning who was following the Premier but raised the question as to who the Premier had decided he wanted to follow on their Twitter accounts. It is not an automatic thing, as the Premier has been trying to give the impression to a number of journalists around town as a result of The Australian story.

The second issue I raise briefly this afternoon is a matter I referred to a few weeks ago, namely, the campaign being waged by the Hon. Mr Finnigan to unseat the Leader of the Government, the Hon. Mr Holloway. I noted that Labor people have been speaking to the Adelaide Advertiser as Mr Greg Kelton had a story 'Call for younger blood in the upper house', saying that pressure was growing among sections of the Labor Party for Mr Holloway not to contest the next election, or at least to stand down early in the next term. The article stated:

"Party sources said yesterday that influential members of the Right faction believed it was time for new blood in the upper house."

We know who that is. It continues:

"Even if he doesn't stand down at the election, there's a strong school of thought he should stand soon after to make way for a younger person', one source said. Mr Holloway turns 60 in August. Labor sources said there was tension in the upper house ranks because of moves by new MLC Bernard Finnigan to move up the ticket from the No.4 spot at the next election."

Clearly the rumblings are apparent; the media have now been told, and Mr Finnigan is clearly moving against the Hon. Mr Holloway in terms of his re-election.

Source: Hansard

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