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2010 campaign statistics

In the month leading up to the 21 August 2010 federal election, visitors to the SaveOurSBS.org website sent 15,427 emails to selected politicians asking for a promise to increase public funding for SBS to free it from advertising. 12,835 are confirmed by emails copied to us. Not everyone copied their email to us. Some informed us, via our Contact page, that they had sent an email but are not included in the 12,835 figure. Our site statistics track the total number of emails sent by the number of unique clicks to activate the software client to send an email. Unique means first time, one only per person and does not include those who returned to send subsequent emails to either the same, or a different politician. The site statistics (15,427) include emails copied to us as well as those not copied to us – first email, one only per sender counted.

During the month of the campaign, we provided three different sample template messages (Restore our multicultural broadcaster, Rescue SBS, and, Vote to restore SBS). Each ran in short succession. Many people took the time to reword the sample messages we had provided while maintaining the main points but expressed in their own words. Most signed their message with their name and address. Some also gave a phone number.

Emails were sent from all states and territories across Australia with the highest concentration sent from Sydney. Our site statistics show that the geographical locations included all capitol cities and most regional areas.

We kick started the campaign with newsletters to our subscriber base, who in turn told others. We also ran large animated banner campaign promos on our then Home page during the month long campaign period (one archived here). Nearing the campaign end, the President of Save Our SBS Inc, Steve Aujard, issued a media release.

Each sample template included a set of email address for the main political leaders in government and the opposition parties as well as a link to a list of 127 email addresses of local Members and Senators. The campaign participants were selective in who was sent an email. Not every politician was sent an email and many participants sent only to some that we had suggested in our templates. Some way into the campaign/s we provided the ALP email address as an option due to the stated care taker government convention, which closed the Prime Minister’s email contact.

The main points expressed by campaign participants asked the politician to commit to:-

  • amending section 45 of the Special Broadcasting Service Act 1991 to prohibit SBS from interrupting programs for advertisement and promo breaks;
  • funding SBS from the public purse to cover the loss of revenue as a result of the above;
  • ensuring that SBS is adequately funded by government  so it could expand into the future without any advertisements;
  • funding to recover the shortfall from past years of under funding.

The emails broadly covered the view that:-

  • the public-commercial hybrid model was never intended to end up the way it now has for SBS;
  • an investment in SBS would be an investment in Australia’s future cultural diversity and would enable SBS to again be the special, multicultural broadcaster it once was, and more closely abide by its Charter without reliance on advertising;

Some emails expressed the view that SBS ought not be funded further until it had ceased interrupting programs for advertisements.

Many emails asked for a reply from the politician.

The Labor, Liberal, and, Greens parties sent responses to some campaign participants. The Nationals did not. The Department of Communications, Broadband & Digital Economy also sent a signed departmental letter to some.

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