Astroturf and populism in Australia: the Convoy of No Confidence

Wear, Rae (2014) Astroturf and populism in Australia: the Convoy of No Confidence. Australian Journal of Political Science, 49 1: 54-67. doi:10.1080/10361146.2013.864598

Author Wear, Rae
Title Astroturf and populism in Australia: the Convoy of No Confidence
Journal name Australian Journal of Political Science   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1036-1146
Publication date 2014-01-01
Year available 2014
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1080/10361146.2013.864598
Volume 49
Issue 1
Start page 54
End page 67
Total pages 14
Place of publication Melbourne, VIC, Australia
Publisher Routledge
Language eng
Abstract The 'Convoy of No Confidence' was a trucking convoy that converged on Canberra in 2011 in a failed attempt to force the Gillard Labor government to an early election. At the time, there was widespread speculation that it was an 'astroturf' or synthetic grassroots movement. This article assesses the extent to which this alleged astroturf event exhibited populist elements, measured against Taggart's definition of populism. Unlike most Australian populist movements, which have been hostile towards all major parties (or all the big banks), the convoy's participants directed their anger almost entirely towards the Gillard government. In this, they were joined by Coalition politicians and right-wing media. The article finds that such one-sidedness is insufficient to characterise the convoy definitively as an Astroturf group, and therefore not genuinely populist. It also suggests that there may be a continuum between populist and astroturf movements.
Keyword Astroturf
Convoy of No Confidence
Front organisation
Gillard government
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2015 Collection
School of Political Science and International Studies Publications
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