Weird Things Aussies Are Googling About The Election

Aussies are obsessed with height.

These are just some of the surprising insights from social media and search traffic from the first three weeks of the federal election campaign, which also show Pauline Hanson and Kerryn Phelps having an outsized splash in the world of #AusPol.

The things people want to know about -- judging from some of the most-searched questions about our leaders -- are exactly how tall they are, and what parties they even represent.

Photo: Google

Unsurprisingly, Bill Shorten and Scott Morrison lead the stats on engagement, searches and discussions.

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Morrison has a “clear lead” on rivals on Instagram, regularly notching the most interaction with a constant stream of live stories from his campaign trail and cute posts with his family and voters.

Photo: Google

Shorten has ruled the roost on Google, however, the leader with the highest search interest for nearly the entire campaign -- until Tuesday afternoon, when Morrison overtook him, presumably as Aussies searched for information about the egging incident in Albury. The Labor leader has also been the most-discussed politician on Facebook for three weeks straight.

Labor was the most-searched party last week, with One Nation a surprise second, and the Liberals in third.

Facebook insights also reveal that #PaulineHanson is the most-used hashtag; women make up 54 percent of conversations on the platform; and that 40 percent of the people talking about the election on Facebook are young voters between 25 and 45.

Photo: Google

Brisbane, Adelaide, Newcastle and Hobart are the most-engaged markets for political discussion.

Moving to issues; jobs, climate change and tax are the biggest on Twitter, with ‘flooding’ a surprise inclusion at number five on Twitter’s issues ladder. Google reported that healthcare was the number one most-searched issue at the start of the campaign, but has now dropped to 12th -- whereas climate change moved in the exact opposite direction, starting at 12 and now sitting as the most-searched issue. Pensions and immigration are the next highest search topics.

On Facebook, the most discussed topics are foreign policy, the economy, social policy including Medicare and domestic violence, and the environment. Shorten, Morrison, Hanson, Fraser Anning and Tony Abbott were the most discussed politicians in week three.

Photo: Instagram

But it’s on Google where Aussies are perhaps showing exactly how much -- or how little -- attention they are paying to our leaders and politics in general. While there is strong interest in policy issues and news, Australians are interested in slightly more mundane questions.

Like “how tall is Scott Morrison?”

Or “how tall is Bill Shorten in feet?”

Or “how tall is Michael McCormack?”

Or “how tall is Richard Di Natale?” Or “Is Richard Di Natale a pig farmer?”

These are some of the most-searched terms linked to leaders in recent weeks. Voters are also searching for info about Morrison’s age, his religion and his home town; they want to know Shorten’s salary, how many children he has; they’re searching for whether Pauline Hanson and Sarah Hanson-Young are related.

Photo: Instagram

In news that might frustrate political junkies, the fifth-most searched term about Shorten last week was whether he was part of Labor or the Liberals; the fourth biggest Morrison search was about which party he represented. The fourth highest search about Greens leader Di Natale was “Is there any point voting Green?”

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The number of pre-poll early votes nationwide is tipped to hit one million by the end of this week. Many are taking this as a sign that many Australians have simply switched off the election, and don’t want to hear anymore. Judging from some of these searches, maybe Aussies are just interested in different things.

Listen to Hugh Riminton and Peter Van Onselen in The Professor and The Hack discuss all things #Auspol. 

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