Thursday, July 10, 2008

ANZCA Conference - Day 2

Day 2 of ANZCA at the slightly warming up Wellington. As a member of the ANZCA Executive, and Vice-President-elect (which means hosting the conference at QUT in Brisbane next year), I have spent a lot of time in Executive meetings dealing with Constitutional changes. What fun! As I wryly observed, the Weimar Constitution of 1919 was considered the leading constitutional document of its time, yet didn't stop Hitler from coming to power in Germany 14 years later.

The keynote speaker was Professor Jennifer Craik, my PhD supervisor when at Griffith, and her presentation was titled "The Empresses' New Clothes: Dressing Women for Politics". I'm afraid to say it, but I was disappointed by Jenni's talk. It relied too much on the entertaining nature of the visuals, and the perceived frivolity of public discourse about women, power and fashion, ad in my view didn't engage with the material at a deeper level. I know that Jenni's work can do this - I just felt that the paper presented was a bit too easy to play to the punters and not intellectually tax people too much.

I caught a very good paper by Jim McNamara from the Australian Centre for Public Communication at UTS in Sydney, who did a study with his students of e-electioneering in the 2007 Australian Federal election. A lot of good stuff in this, and the report can be downloaded here.

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