Online election campaign gets going

Australia's Internet industry launched an online election campaign last week warning politicians that the Internet has mighty political leverage with access to more than six million voters.

Internet Industry Association (IIA) chairman Patrick Fair said in this election any political party which ignores the importance of the Net to Australia's future will do so at its own peril.

"We have two key assets at our disposal - the ability to reach millions of votes, and a membership who is as passionate about the issues as we are," he said.

"Key political issues including economic management, health, education and tax are all inextricably linked to a successful online economy."

Speaking at the National Press Club in Canberra, IIA chief executive Peter Coroneos said the Internet will be used as a lever to access millions of voters and to pitch messages without resorting to 'spam'.

He said a 25,000km Tech Trek will deliver key messages surveying users on a broad range of subjects.

"Our 360-strong corporate membership represents many of the most powerful players in the Australian Internet space and information from our site will be integrated into our campaign in real time," Coroneos said.

The IIA campaign will start with five core demands: making broadband Internet available to all Australians; stimulating investment in Australian broadband content; accelerating new digital services by deregulating the broadcasting sector; creating a safe and secure Internet for all Australians, and removing discriminatory tax treatment as it applies to e-commerce.

Coroneos said the Internet will change the general feeling of exclusion the public feels in the political process.

"Users have an unprecedented ability to shape their own destiny through this powerful political medium; this potential is about to be tapped in an Australian Federal election for the first time," he said.

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