Australian Institute of International Affairs

Nice coin if you can get it

The Telegraph

The Australian government has paid good coin for running two blogs that no one reads. Nice of them to establish a bench mark pay rate for bloggers though. I think the Blogger’s Union should take note…and especially Matthew Hooton, who likes to charge clients for controlling messaging on blogs but not pass that coin on to the people who write the blogs…except Martyn of course, we already know Hooton pays him.

THE Gillard Government has spent $53,000 on something thousands of Australians do for free – running a blog.

Taxpayers will foot the bill for two blogs for about three months, featuring little more than articles about Australia-Asia relations.

Just one reader has bothered to leave a comment on the blogs, despite the sites being designed to engage with the public and the Government describing them as an “online conversation”.

One of the two blogs doesn’t even allow reader comment, a staple of online blogs. It does, however, allow Facebook “likes”, with most posts garnering between just zero and five likes.

Taxpayers are forking out for a full-time “editor” and a part-time assistant to run one of the websites.

The blogs, operating from March 19 to June 30, have been outsourced by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet to private think tanks the Lowy Institute and the Australia Institute of International Affairs.

Liberal Senator Scott Ryan described the blogs as “extraordinary expenditure with lacklustre results”, and criticised their lack of community engagement.

The Lowy Institute is being handed about $500 per working day on a $33,000 contract to post short articles and links to other websites.

The Australian Institute of International Affairs has a $20,000 contract and has so far published two competitions and posted 10 articles, including a speech by Kevin Rudd when he was foreign minister.