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Keywords:

  • Internet;
  • campaigning;
  • politics;
  • Australia;
  • activism

Abstract

There has been an international growth in online campaigning organizations that engage in public policy debate and mobilize citizens. This paper analyzes how political action undertaken by these organizations promotes an innovative approach to storytelling and discursive politics. The main question addressed here is: how do storytelling tactics underpin the multi-issue oriented, online strategies of campaigning organizations? GetUp! is an Australian online political campaigning organization with over 600,000 members, that has conducted high-profile public policy campaigns on issues as diverse as mental health, electoral law, same-sex marriage, and climate change. This qualitative case study demonstrates how GetUp!'s communications strategy tries to use storytelling to reorient political debate—and the nature of politics itself—in an affective way. The construction of online campaign stories underpins their political tactics. Stories are used to help citizens, and to a lesser extent, decision makers, identify with an issue, build community, and act in recognition of the moral urgency for political change.