Random Analytics

Charts, Infographics & Analytics. No Spinning the Data. No Juking the Stats

Category: Random

QuikStats: Australian Political Party Membership

“There are more people on the waiting list to join the Melbourne Cricket Club than there are rank-and-file members in all Australian political parties put together.” (Cathy Alexander, 18th July 2013)

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With the very recent election of Bill Shorten as Opposition Labor Leader much has been made of the lack of political membership in the Australian Labor Party. Party membership across all the parties is in sharp decline. On that point, I was unable to find any actual detail on the Liberal Party, with the exception of Our Structure which states 80,000 in the Organisational Wing. Instead of using the website figures I’ve chosen to go with the wider held view that the LP has only about 50,000 paid members given that in 2008 there were just 13,000 members in Victoria. The best data I could get on the Greens was from a 2010 Age article which had them above 10,000 for the first time in their political history.

To emphasise just how poor the health of political party membership is I thought to put together an infographic on how they stack up against other organisations as originally suggested by Cathy Alexander in her recent Crikey piece plus some additional groups that I have thrown in.

As shown above both the Liberal and Australian Labor Party memberships are lower than

  • Organ donors in Tasmania;
  • The combined organ donors in the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory;
  • The Australian Defence Force (regular Army, Navy and Air Force only as I didn’t include Reserves);
  • Scouts Australia;
  • The Collingwood Football Club;
  • Federation of Australian Historical Societies;
  • The Returned Services League;
  • The combined membership of the NRL (the combined Australian Football League (742,899) has almost 15-times either party);
  • The Shop, Distributive and Allied Employee Association; and finally
  •  The Melbourne Cricket Club waiting list.

Luckily for both the Liberal and Labor party’s they still outnumber criminal bikie gang numbers.

For now.

Random Analytics: Federal Twitterati Report

Earlier this week there was a lot of discussion about an apparent ban on Liberal backbenchers having access to Twitter. On the 9th December the King of political Tweeting, Kevin Rudd, tweeted:

“So Tony Abbott is banning Liberals from Twitter freedom… welcome to #21stCenturyAbbottStyle KRudd”

I’ve done some analysis of the Twitter-sphere as it concerns both the Australian House of Representatives and the Senate with some interesting results.

The Senate Twitter enrolment for 2007 (including territories) was only 52.5% compared to 2010 which increased to 60%. The current House of  Representatives is a much stronger 70%.

First of all, the Liberal Party and the Liberal National Party of Queensland, rather than being the social media luddites that some have made out this week are actually better represented on Twitter than the Labor Party. The total conservative percentile including the Country Liberal Party (NT) and the Nationals at 65.1% was also higher than the combined Labor percentile. The only party that was totally represented were the Greens and the lowest total was the Nationals on 36.4%.

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Figure 1: Twitter Usage by Party (as a Percentile). Data sourced from Twitter. The Independent percentile also includes the single member for the Democratic Labor Party (DLP) of Australia.

Who had the most followers (as at 12/12/2012)?

No surprise that it wasn’t the PM but it’s interesting that both former leaders, Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull have larger followings than the current PM or leader of the opposition.

Both deputies (Wayne Swan and Julie Bishop) were included in the top 10 as was the foreign minister (Bob Carr, who coincidently had the most followers of anyone in the Senate) and the Minister for Minister for Employment Participation – Minister for Early Childhood and Child Care (Kate Ellis). As previously mentioned the Opposition Shadow Minister for Communications and Broadband (Malcolm Turnbull) was third while the Shadow Treasurer (Joe Hockey) was fifth.

At number eight was Adam Bandt, the only House of Representative Greens Party member. With 53,007 followers if Bob Brown had still been in the Senate he would have ranked 5th above Joe Hockey.

Outside of the top 10, Barnaby Joyce had the most Twitter followers from the Liberal National Party of Queensland or the National Party (12,609 which placed him 22nd). Bob Katter had 6,886 followers which put him in 31st place.

With just two followers and a locked down Twitter account Yvette D’Ath had the fewest followers with just 2 ranking her 147th. 79 Members or Senators did not have Twitter accounts.

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Table 1: Top 10 Australian Federal Member or Senator sorted by number of followers. Data sourced from Twitter 11 – 12 December 2012.

Who were the busiest tweeters (again, as at 12/12/2012)?

The title goes to the former Army lawyer and now Member for Eden-Monaro, Mike Kelly. The Top 10 tweeters are dominated by those Members and Senators who have chosen Twitter as a vehicle to get their message out and be responsive to questions or requests from the public.

Noticeable by his absence on Twitter was the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy.

What was interesting here was the actual low totals. On average each Member or Senator had just tweeted 1,134 times each. For context as someone who roughly tweets on average 5 – 10 times per day (which is not much compared to others) I’ll rack up about 2,000 tweets or thereabouts per year. The low overall numbers suggest a large part of the political twitterati only tweet as necessary but I’d also suggest there has been a late adoption by many to the Twitter community.

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Table 2: Top 10 Australian Federal Member or Senator sorted by volume of tweets. Data sourced from Twitter 11 – 12 December 2012.

I thought a look at twitterati followers by which States they were following would be interesting. As you can see by Figure 2 the graph is completely skewed by a dominate Queensland (aka Kevin Rudd).

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Figure 2: Twitter Followers by Federal Member/Senator (All Parties). Data sourced from Twitter.

Although it makes a nice change to see Queensland dominating Kevin Rudd’s tally of 1,177,283 makes up an astonishing 47.1% of all followers of any political persuasion. Thus, here’s a look at the data without Kevin.

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Figure 3: Twitter Followers by Federal Member/Senator (All Parties) minus Kevin Rudd. Data sourced from Twitter.

Finally a look at Twitter followers by political party. With Kevin…

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Figure 4: Twitter Followers by Political Party of Federal Member/Senator. Data sourced from Twitter.

And without Kevin…

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Figure 5: Twitter Followers by Political Party of Federal Member/Senator minus Kevin. Data sourced from Twitter.

As the last graph shows @KRuddMP might be right in having a swipe at Liberal Party discussions around their social media strategy.

Guess he can say what he likes. Given he owns 47.1% of all twitter followers and 58.9% of the federal labour Twitter audience he really does have ‘skin in the game’.