Someone inside Annastacia Palaszczuk‘s office appears to have discovered Canva, and now the Queensland Premier is using funky little infographics to share updates about the ongoing COVID restrictions in Queensland.
Unlike Dan Andrews, who posts a mix of personal photos, poorly cropped lockdown documents, and sassy one-liners which don’t always age well, and Gladys Berejiklian, who literally just retweets the NSW Health case number infographics, Palaszczuk has been sharing motivational messages with bright colours and fun fonts on Twitter.
It’s a bit unorthodox, extremely kitsch, and it’s already being roasted a bit online. But there may also be a method to this middle-class, white, suburban madness. Palaszczuk’s office didn’t respond to a request for comment, so we can only really speculate – but speculate we shall.
QUT communications impact analyst Dr Naomi Barnes told PEDESTRIAN.TV that one demographic which might be averse towards lockdowns and vaccines “does seem to be that age group that is made fun of on TikTok with the wooden signs.”
She noted that the fonts, colours and general positivity of Palaszczuk’s recent Twitter posts all give off “Live, Laugh, Love” vibes.
“Palaszczuk might be going, ‘Well if they’re the biggest vaccine hesitancy group and this is their aesthetic, then I’ll use their aesthetic to try and communicate with them’,” Barnes speculated.
If you live in one of the 11 SEQ LGA’s:
Stay home unless it’s absolutely necessary.
Wear a mask if you must leave home for an essential reason.
If you have any symptoms at all, get tested and isolate.
And get vaccinated as soon as it’s available to you. pic.twitter.com/VP0IF4GU4m
— Annastacia Palaszczuk (@AnnastaciaMP) August 6, 2021
Early data appears to support this theory. A recent survey by The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age found that “the greatest reluctance to be vaccinated came from women and older Australians.” Data from Melbourne Uni also supports some of these observations.
Some of those people could also very be jaded with constantly being told to stay home or wear masks, which is where these posts come into play.
Adding a bit of “Live, Laugh, Love” pizzazz to online lockdown communiques helps soften the image of restrictions which anti-lockdowners always try to brand as dystopian. One tweet even used a whole lot of Millennial Pink, which raised plenty of eyebrows before it was deleted.
Barnes said posting these kinds of graphics could simply be “playing the game where it’s at” instead of letting anti-lockdown or anti-vax characters reach these demographics first.
Thank you ❤ pic.twitter.com/bTN52WE2zF
— Annastacia Palaszczuk (@AnnastaciaMP) August 4, 2021
On Tuesday, The Australian reported that the Queensland government commissioned monthly polling and focus groups in order to guide its communications during the pandemic. While this isn’t inherently unusual, this polling is believed to me more extensive than that of other governments.
Queensland Health Minister Yvette D’Ath and Deputy Premier Steven Miles also both have their own personalised social media aesthetics, but they give off totally different vibes which would likely appeal to different demographics. Combined, the three politician’s relatively uplifting messages keep different communities on-side.
While Brisbane, the Gold Coast and other parts of Southeast Queensland emerged from a hard lockdown on Sunday, and the snap lockdown in Cairns lifts on Wednesday, other COVIDsafe restrictions remain in place around the state.
That includes mandatory face masks both indoors and outdoors, as well as caps on the amount of visitors you’re allowed to have over.
Masks have proved an effective weapon against the spread of COVID-19.
That’s why mask wearing has been extended for another week in parts of the South East.
Keep doing the right thing and staying safe.
Thanks, Queensland! pic.twitter.com/QNnWr1a8Sd
— Annastacia Palaszczuk (@AnnastaciaMP) July 22, 2021
Of course, this is all speculation. It’s also possible that staffers in each politician’s office are just going with their hearts when it comes to producing these graphics for social media.
But there’s no denying that Palaszczuk’s posts – deliberately or otherwise – clearly appeal to a specific demographic that might not be so keen on lockdowns or vaccines.
“This [recent] lockdown was very different in that they did the whole ‘you’re doing really well, keep it up’ messaging, which is different to Berejiklian’s messaging which is: ‘I’m going to send the army in to keep you inside’,” Barnes said.
“Memeing is an effective form of political communication.”