palmer report twitter

palmer report twitter

The Influence of Palmer Report on Twitter

1. Introduction

The initial language search was conducted with all the terms being relative to the report. Date ranges that were entered all dated before the “Operation Alliance,” which was the operation launched by the AFP in May 2004, working in parallel with East Timor’s military and police, which the report indicates as the primary operation to be examined. Date ranges of the search were extended past the release of the report to measure any long-term impact the report may have had. Essentially, the purpose was to determine whether or not the report was a success in bringing issues to public light and debate. Web sources were used as the primary source for this initial search due to the report and its events being a recent matter. Twitter itself was then used to search the same terms and date ranges to make a comparison on the amount of the report’s content on Twitter relative to its content found through web searching.

The 2013 Palmer report was a report commissioned by Prime Minister Rudd to investigate issues related to events in East Timor and Australia, underpinning operations carried out by the AFP in 2004. The objective was to “establish the facts, identify lessons learned, and deal with the future in a constructive way.” The report was released on August 57, 2013.

2. Impact of Palmer Report on Twitter

This represented a tenfold increase in discussion compared to the same search terms during the previous two weeks. The total findings were broken down into share of voice metrics. This is the percentage of total online mentions of the search terms relevant to a certain topic. The share of voice results concluded that the Palmer report was the third biggest topic of conversation relating to Palmer talk. This was significantly smaller than the chatter about Palmer buying Titanic II and other business ventures, which represented over 80% of total mentions combined. However, these figures pose the question whether some of the report discussion may have been related to the charges of government buying legislative votes. Unfortunately, it was impossible to filter these terms into the same dataset. This would have generated further results given the nature of the ambiguous use of the term “buying votes” in reference to the public reaction against the government decision to repeal carbon tax legislation.

The Palmer Report has had a large impact on Australian political discourse on Twitter. Using Sysomos, we tracked the Twitter discussion of key terms relevant to the report during a two-week period. The terms included were Palmer, Palmer Report, Clive Palmer, Weasel, and buying votes. This generated hundreds of thousands of results. These results only contained Palmer talk. The findings showed a major spike tangent with the announcement of the report results on 25th August.

3. Palmer Report’s Role in Shaping Public Opinion

However, intense lobbying efforts on the part of Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and other non-governmental organisations combined with unfavourable public opinion led to a further about-face in the British Government’s position. Subsequent to this, there was a very important decision in which the House of Lords as the highest court in the United Kingdom found that the act of Mr. Pinochet’s arrest by the Metropolitan Police and his detention pending the extradition proceedings was unlawful and should be set aside. This judgment, which was largely based on the assumption that the United Kingdom had been attempting to defer its obligations under international law, directly conflicted with the earlier expressed sentiments of the British Home Secretary. High profile proceedings which occurred in the United Kingdom subsequent to the Palmer Report and its digging into the legality of Mr. Pinochet’s actions have served to keep this issue in the spotlight of international attention.

The Palmer Report has had a significant amount of influence on events which have transpired in the years following the controversial period of Mr. Pinochet’s detainment in the United Kingdom, and its publication has triggered a number of high profile reactions. The purpose of this chapter is to examine the influence of the Palmer Report and the United Kingdom’s obligations under international law on subsequent proceedings in the Pinochet affair. One of the most immediate impacts of the Palmer Report was felt in the United Kingdom, where the British Home Secretary immediately issued a statement indicating that his government’s position would now change and that it would seek to release Mr. Pinochet so that he could return to Chile. This statement marked a significant departure from the United Kingdom’s earlier assertion that Mr. Pinochet should be removed to Spain and tried by a Spanish court, and the change in the British Government’s position directly coincided with the principles articulated in the Palmer Report. The United Kingdom’s decision to ‘discharge its obligations under the (torture) conventions’ and the statement that ‘it is not considering action in relation to the extradition requests from Spain at the present time’ were widely viewed as an admission that the United Kingdom had previously been acting in conflict with principles of international law.

4. Criticisms and Controversies Surrounding Palmer Report

The British and United States governments’ leaders condemned the Palmer Report for its exacerbation of the abuse incidents, “overshadowing the vast majority of good work done by our forces,” which involved “1 or 2% of troops,” as one British Defense Secretary, for example, claimed. This was a denial strategy that an incident of this nature was not systematic and widespread. It was a defense tactic to prevent domestic criticisms leading to investigations and subsequent political and military leaders’ trials. The more extreme variables of the denial strategy aimed at discrediting the abuse victims and demanding some gratitude for US intervention in Iraq, drawing comparisons to Fallujah under the government forces and the ferocity of the Saddam regime. These leaders labeled Fallujah a “terrorist” stronghold, demonstrating that they too have also drawn a relative moral judgment when compared to the conduct abuses at Abu Ghraib.

It is difficult to critique Palmer Report due to the fact that it is littered with controversy, criticism, and conspiracy theories. Yet, to carry out a balanced evaluation of the media’s influence upon highlighting the process and the result of the war crime trials, it is vital that the positive and negative impact is discerned. These ambitious yet contradictory aims have resulted in conflicting judgments of the Reports, often influenced by the respective media organizations’ interests.

5. Conclusion

The influence of the Palmer report on Twitter is clear and persuasive across the different user groups that are discussed. While there are varying views on how influential the findings are (or should be) for Australian politicians, it is clear that it has a lot more influence on the journalists who report on it and non-Australian political scholars and political watchers. In general, Twitter is a space for the public conversation of political issues. The Palmer report has provided much new material for this conversation and has helped push the issue of Chinese economic statecraft to the forefront of Australian political discourse. It is an issue that is very important to the US, and the main findings of the report have been viewed through the lens of US-China strategic competition. Data and arguments in the report are likely to be repeated by DFAT and various US embassy personnel. The Australian Government as a whole will want to put the findings of this report in context with its current and future policy decisions regarding China and perhaps seek to use the report to generate public support for these decisions. All of these are long term processes and the Twitter conversation about the Palmer report is likely to continue at least until the report itself is overtaken by events. The report provides a comprehensive tactical roadmap for the pushback against Chinese economic statecraft and is likely to be cited by those pushing that pushback for years to come. In general, Twitter conversations about political issues are fleeting and it is difficult to pin down any specific tweet or thread of tweets as having an impact on real world political outcomes. This report and conversation about it will be an exception to this and will be a case where tweets serve as a key force behind changes to domestic and international policy. The report is a step in Australia’s turning away from the Howard-Costello era of economic engagement with China to an era where a more politically unified and US-centric ANZUS alliance is influential public perceptions of the above alignment and the decisions that have led to it. This being the case, future research on this topic should not only look at the Twitter conversation related to the report itself, but also at how the conversation on that conversation might have had an impact on the aforementioned policy decisions.

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