Tony Abbott Thinks Social Media Is 'Electronic Graffiti'

The internet had a good chuckle at the Prime Minister's expense over the Australia Day long weekend, after he awarded Prince Philip (you know, the Queen's husband) an Australian Knighthood. Tony Abbott cranked the Taylor Swift rhetoric up to 11 and dismissed online haters, labelling social media as "electronic graffiti".

Image: Lisa Maree Williams/Getty

Twitter was awash with gags yesterday as it was revealed that Tony Abbott would be knighting Prince Philip as part of the Australia Day celebrations.

When asked at a press conference what he thought of the online backlash, PM Abbott replied:

"I'll leave social media to its own devices. Social media is kind of like electronic graffiti and I think that in the media, you make a big mistake to pay too much attention to social media. You wouldn't report what's sprayed up on the walls of buildings."

Remind me again how much the Federal Government spends monitoring electronic graffiti, again? Oh that's right: $5000 a day.


Comments

    I really can't decide of this is Troll of the Year, or he's actually serious (unfortunately i know he's serious).
    What would be funny if Prince Philip came out and said "Oh, wonderful, to receive a knighthood from a British citizen...I mean, Australian"
    Totally something I could imagine him saying.

    At the risk of stating the obvious, who cares what he (or anyone else) thinks? Like what you like, dislike what you dislike. What other people like or dislike doesn't matter. Personally I think while there are some gems and good to be had in social media, most of it is like a public toilet - everyone puts their shit there, but nobody else really wants to see it.

      +999. Bang on right.

      At the risk of stating the obvious, who cares what he (or anyone else) thinks?

      The only people that do at the moment are those trying to amplify the faults he has. Despite their being plenty the Coalition is currently the only option because every other party is offering nothing better thus giving little to no reason to take the other parties over them (Coalition).

      If Labor and the other sides actually stop being belligerent stone-wallers (a crime Abbott himself is guilty of) and actually provided real, viable alternatives then the Coalition is in trouble because their current platform will be gone.

      Last edited 27/01/15 1:04 pm

        Labor was never mentioning turning Medicare into a Co payment system. They also would not make it harder for people out of work to seek help in getting a new job(I'm on the train for an 11am interview at but have been jobless since December 1 thanks to being made redundant). Last time I checked labors biggest crime is the infighting like a political party of siblings

          Abbott, Hockey and Turnbull were also doing the same and I dare say will do again soon. Labors biggest crime was to try and help aussies and help our environment with the Pink Batt's scheme. Tony spent $20 million on his Royal Commission / witch hunt. That $20 million would have been better spent compensating the families of those 4 kids, locking up the dodgy installers and keeping people employed.

        "If Labor and the other sides actually stop being belligerent stone-wallers and actually provided real, viable alternatives then the Coalition is in trouble because their current platform will be gone"

        Belligerent stone-wallers ? Wasn't that basically what Tony & pals were all the time they were in opposition, and now they've found themselves in power 'we' (... well ... 'those who voted for them' actually ... I didn't vote for them regardless of how bad Gillard & Rudd got, because I knew this mob would still be so much worse) find they're not up to the task ?

        No-one needs to 'amplify' Tony's faults, he's a massive c*ckhead all on his own :)

        Last edited 29/01/15 5:13 pm

          Belligerent stone-wallers ? Wasn't that basically what Tony & pals were all the time they were in opposition

          Sorry, I though I made mention that Abbott was ridiculed for the same crime. But looking at my post it is missing. Prior post has been corrected.

          (... well ... 'you' actually ... I didn't vote for them regardless of how bad Gillard & Rudd got, because I knew this mob would still be so much worse)

          Let's make one thing clear. You do not know who I voted for so don't go implying I did vote for the Coalition. I'm a fence walker so don't go implying otherwise because that is spreading your own conclusion which is not reflective of the facts.

          And Labor is worse because they thought if they kept spending the problems would go away and they were funding programs against taxes that were easily circumvented.

          No-one needs to 'amplify' Tony's faults, he's a massive c*ckhead all on his own :)

          We can do without that language thanks.

          Like others I hate Abbott's actions (especially with Prince Phillip) as much as the next guy. But what makes the situation worse is no alternative exists.

          Labor is just repeating what Abbott did in opposition and is giving us no reason to vote for them at the same time.

          The Greens are professional attention seeks who can promise the world because they know they will never form government and thus be held to their pledges.

          And finally, Palmer United. A party by Clive for Clive at the expense of the Aussie Tax Payer.

          As it stands, the Coalition have a mess the clean up from Labor. But with Labor providing no alternatives what is the motivation from the Coalition to provide more efficient measures?

          The Coalition's platform is sitting solely on the idea that no-one is providing an alternative that makes their measures look bad. If someone does, then the platform will collapse.

          Will it happen any time soon? No, thus making the matter worse.

          Last edited 27/01/15 1:03 pm

            The Coalition's problem isn't Labor, it's that their platform is built entirely from policies that didn't exist prior to the last election, and that are incredibly unpopular with most of the country.

              The Coalition's problem isn't Labor, it's that their platform is built entirely from policies that didn't exist prior to the last election

              They said they would fix the budget and they are trying to do so. The measures they are providing are a joke but Labor is providing no alternatives and is stone walling everything for no reason other than they can (a crime Abbott is guilty of as I already pointed out).

              and that are incredibly unpopular with most of the country.

              Unpopular, true. But to fix the budget there was never going to be any move that was popular.

              For example, take Medicare which needs a stronger funding stream and let's omit Labor for a moment.

              Use a co-payment: they get slammed.

              Change the time threshold to qualify (10 minutes or higher to qualify): they get slammed.

              Up the Medicare levy: they'll get slammed (and big businesses will use tax doges to get out of having the pay the levy anyway).

              It's a no win situation because when Labor was voted out, most who did expected the budget to be fixed without any sacrifice. Now that is has become clear that sacrifices need to be made, many of those who voted Labor out want Labor back to restore the status quo.

              But despite the unpopularity of the choice, Labor is still a problem. They are the only political body that is large enough to for form government. And they are not providing anything to give a reason to vote for them.

              So Labor being stone-wallers is making a problem they have created even worse. Some of the problem (revenue) were created under Howard yet in its 6 years Labor didn't fix any of them so they are still largely to blame.

                Even if you accept the Coalition's characterisation of the current state of the budget as a crisis (it's been in structural deficit since Costello's last budget, why panic now?), their decision to structure their cuts in such a way as to almost exclusively go after poorer Australians was a decision entirely of their own making.

            Sorry, I though I made mention that Abbott was ridiculed for the same crime. But looking at my post it is missing. Prior post has been corrected.

            Well done

            Let's make one thing clear. You do not know who I voted for so don't go implying I did vote for the Coalition. I'm a fence walker so don't go implying otherwise because that is spreading your own conclusion which is not reflective of the facts.

            I was using the 'general you' to cover the 'mass' of Lib-voters - didn't necessarily mean to imply you - Wisehacker - specifically, but I can see how you might draw that conclusion. Prior post has been corrected.

            We can do without that language thanks.

            I beg to differ - I'm just calling a spade a spade. I self-censored with the inclusion of the * for those like yourself with delicate constitutions ;)

            As it stands, the Coalition have a mess the clean up from Labor.

            Again, I beg to differ. As I've said before (and far more persuasive commentators than myself have made abundantly clear in multiple articles since Dweedle Dumb and Dweedle Dumber handed down their budget) , the whole budget 'crisis' is a purely manufactured 'emergency' the Liberals have obviously failed to win the public over with.

            What they inherited was one of the strongest and best performing economies in the Western world, and a country that was slowly but surely starting to shake off the worst ideological and cultural excesses and shortcomings imposed by all the terrible Howard years.

            A country that in the RIGHT hands (which I'm not suggesting were the hands of Rudd or Gillard in those last bitter 12 months, but CERTAINLY aren't the hands of Tony's 'Dream Team' by any stretch) had a chance to do some truly great things and start 'leading the way'.

            What they've done is to piddle (self censoring again) all that away, and instead do their best to try to drag us kicking and screaming into some high-tech (if they could understand tech) McCarthiest paranoid version of the 1950's (or 1850's when it comes to Knighthoods and the like) ...

            But yes, I agree with you to an extent - the 'alternatives' we have at the moment aren't crash-hot. However - the electorate was content enough to gamble on Abbott because they were sick of Punch-N-Judy, and I'm hoping that sentiment will prevail again given the lack of 'crash hot' alternatives.

            "Big Bill" might be an American-patsy as Wikileaks made abundantly clear years ago - he's certainly no 'visionary' like KRudd (1.0 - before the shafting) - but I'll take an American-patsy over the man I called the rude thing you didn't like last time any day :)

            Last edited 29/01/15 5:34 pm

        I think the problem with Mr. Abbott is he doesn't think things through before he opens his mouth. $7 dollars is nothing for people when your making $200,000+ per year. Why then make an amendment to it and make it $5 dollars and then repeal that. Then have a go at the doctors by cutting the medicare rebate then repeal that. Why tell unemployed people that they will have no benefits and then repeal that. Why kill the carbon and mining tax when they are bringing in some revenue although be it small. Do you think that all citizens have benefitted it $550 dollars from the repeal. Just think about what your saying before you open your mouth and have to repeal it later. The thing with Social Media is that you say something and there is a instant reaction from the people who vote. Its not like 10 - 15 years ago where you'd organize a protest and then do it a few weeks later. It happens straight away.

      is like a public toilet - everyone puts their shit there, but nobody else really wants to see it.

      Spot on

      I feel like this about the comments section of about almost all websites sites I go to as well. Giz is one of a handful of exceptions.

    To be fair, 99% of social media is garbage. It's full of hate and the moronic opinions of the soiled masses.

      pretty much sums up the local drinking hole, or the local supermarket, and those that frequent the places

      Yep, it's basically a cesspool echo chamber for the Left. We now frequently see Fairfax 'media' reporting on Twitter's reaction to the PM (similar to the above article), as if it were a general reaction amongst the population, instead of just the usual critics (like Willll Anderson and Adam Bandt, who wouldn't support Abbott if he was legislating a cure for Cancer). Having said that giving Prince Philip a Knighthood is pretty stupid, even if his Duke of Edinburgh Awards have done good things for young Australians.

        Yep, it's basically a cesspool echo chamber for the Left

        You obviously have not seen some of the right wingers on social media. I can tell you now, no one side of politics is clean in this regard. I'm pretty sure the Young Liberals get themselves into trouble on social media pretty regularly, and these are supposed to be our next generation of pollies....

        From an 'on the fence' standpoint, they are as bad as each other. Same thing with the media, Fairfax is seen as Left wing bias, News Ltd is seen as Right wing bias..... Try to objectively read both and you can get a clearer picture of things (though News Ltd stuff can be a bit too tabloid for my tastes and lets not forget the paywall....)

        even if his Duke of Edinburgh Awards have done good things for young Australians.

        Correction, The young Aussie do good all by themselves, by their own goals and own motivation. His award accomplishes nothing. Infact you have to pay the award often and different organisations have to throw lots of money for the privileged to use it.

        We now frequently see Fairfax 'media' reporting on Twitter's reaction to the PM, as if it were a general reaction amongst the population, instead of just the usual critics

        How about Murdoch 'media' reporting on the fact that many (if not most) Liberal MPs have refused to endorse the move? http://goo.gl/rOyIZH

        Last edited 28/01/15 10:56 am

      "the moronic opinions of the soiled masses" ?

      Don't tell me ... you went to a private school, didn't you ? ;)

        Sure did. Although to be fair it wasn't a "snobby, rich private school". In fact it was very down to earth as far as private schools go.
        My choice of wording was purely for added effect.

        It might just be the ease with which we have immense exposure these days but Einstein's quote that "human stupidity is infinite" really rings true.

        I weep for the human race when I see the garbage on facebook, twitter and youtube comments. The only reason I browse sites like this or reddit is that there's usually some intellectual (or comedic) gold in between all the shit. For some reason social networks don't seem to have that

    Social media is the modern day Womens Weekly - only with live (recorded) commentary.

    And btw is the same Wil Anderson that rubbishes and acts like a [email protected] over anything about the US (when in Australia) and yet runs to the US to seek fame and fortune an any opportunity. Like so many other wannabees!

      Maybe you missed his hugely successful show(s): (the) Gruen (transfer|planet|nation), and the also fairly popular The Glasshouse.

      I'd say he's probably past the wannabee stage.

        Let alone his stint on Triple J's drive-time radio and his stand-up career

      Ah, I thought the two tweets linked on this page were pretty funny.

    electronic graffiti... best thing that's come out of his mouth!

      I can't help but think of Banksy's quote (probably doesn't apply here but the irony is amusing): "if graffiti changed anything it would be illegal."

    Prince Philip after the announcement: "Bugger. Now I have to update all my stationary."

    "Tony Abbott Thinks"... I highly doubt that. :-|

    NOW it all starts to fall into pieces.

    Biggoted Bigeared Abbott is bascially destroying the NBN so we can get less graffiti up on the "wall"

    Tony Abbott is a complete bloody idiot for this comment about social media being "graffiti". Truth is, social media is a pretty accurate pulse for the immediacy of the public opinion. However Tony Abbott's finger is as far away from this pulse as possibly, being firmly wedged up his own ass. Biggest idiot in Australian political history.

      See, here's the thing... he, and people like him, actually believe that the social media 'rabble' isn't indicative of the 'True Australia'. True Australians consist of everyone that he knows. And everyone he knows is rich, conservative, and technologically illiterate.

      It's like when people get up in arms about earning six figures not being 'rich', especially if you've got a family to support, etc. This article explains it nicely: http://www.news.com.au/finance/money/do-you-consider-yourself-a-struggling-comfortable-or-rich-australian/story-e6frfmcr-1226910189131

      Fact is, he associates with people like him and likely assumes that this type of person is what's 'normal'. As in, hasn't plugged in to social media yet, still reads The Australian (which he's subscribed to) in the morning at breakfast.

      Last edited 28/01/15 9:12 am

        Pretty much it. I was just being more of a simpleton with my analysis of the situation, in that you can't just ignore 1 part of the overall public opinion/commentary just because it's not coming from the sources you read. He's so far Right he wouldn't know how to be objective in anything he does, so clouded by ideologue that no one elses opinions matter to him. One only needs to look at the state of the scientific community to know this is true.

    He gave a knighthood so he can get one back in the future. This is all about greasing up to the Royals, so when he "retires", soon hopefully, back to the UK (to take up his British citizenship that he never relinquished) on his fat government super payout he can be awarded a British knighthood and take his "rightful" place among the ruling English aristocracy and never have to deal with colonial rabble ever again.

    Philip's own wife knows him intimately, more than any celeb gossip mag or Australian Prime Minister ever could. She has the power to appoint him a Knight and doesn't think he's worthy, why does Tony think he knows better?

    There are a lot of things wrong with this story.

    1) Why is an Australian giving British royalty a knighthood? Isn't it meant to work the other way around? I can only imagine Royalty looking on this with the confusion of a boss being told by their employee that they've been given an 'boss of the month' award. An Australian knighthood for the Duke of Edinburgh is quite likely regarded with something similar to the puzzled affection of a non-smoking parent who receives a home-made, clay ash-tray from their child. "Aw, isn't that cute?"

    2) The Duke of Edinburgh Award is undoubtedly of value to the country and worth recognition, but is awarding the Duke appropriate? I mean, how involved does the Duke actually get, in this? Came up with the idea yonks ago and put his name on it? Decades ago. Why now? Especially after inexplicable, racist remarks bring the character of the man into ill repute.

    3) No argument on the labelling of social media reactions as internet graffiti. It pretty well captures the propensity for filth and the disregard for when and where it's splashed about.
    BUT. Disdain it, sure. But ignoring it, as a politician?
    Yeah, when you start seeing the same graffiti on a million walls, you should probably start to pay attention to it. Only an idiot would ignore the signs… graffiti is the first sign right before the torches and pitchforks. Internet graffiti is how the mob rumbles, now.
    Not talkback radio, or letters sent to the local MPs. Which voice is Abbott listening to for the voice of the people? Strongly-worded 'letters to the editor'? He is aware that newspapers are in their death throes, right?
    When you claim to represent the people, you should probably at least fucking pretend to understand the people.

    And of course, now he's eating crow: http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/im-determined-to-learn-from-this-tony-abbott-responds-to-contentious-decision-to-make-prince-philip-a-knight-20150128-12zqzp.html

    Tone-deaf, out-of-touch arrogance.

    Last edited 28/01/15 2:05 pm

    Gizmodo: "PM Says too much electronic graffiti.. we must moderate more"

    He's finished.
    Social media (and websites like this) are a way to deliver constructive criticism to those that need it, when no other alternative exists (and to call entities out, in front of everyone), and ignoring something just because you don't like it, or because it's too 'straight-to-the-point' is foolish and guarantees failure.

    “I’ll leave social media to its own devices. Social media is kind of like electronic graffiti and I think that in the media, you make a big mistake to pay too much attention to social media. You wouldn’t report what’s sprayed up on the walls of buildings.”

    They'd report on it if it was sprayed on Parliament House ...

    (Not that I'm encouraging that sort of thing).

    Imagine we lived in a true democracy, where we could actually vote for our leader (rather than just a party). Given that Abbott is on the nose, who would you vote for? Would you stay with Liberal, but vote for Turnbull or Bishop?
    Or do you think Bill Shorten is the solution?

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