In Australia it is the prime ministers who have been spearheading the Twitter activity of the government with @KevinRuddPM in October 2008. Kevin Rudd changed his Twitter handle to @KRuddMP when he was replaced by @JuliaGillard and is now tweeting as @MrKRudd. As his predecessors, the new Prime Minister Tony Abbott, sworn in on 18 September 2013, is tweeting from his personal handle.

Prime Minister of Australia Tony Abbott

Tony Abbott “took the Twitter plunge” on 2 September 2009 right after becoming the leader of the Liberal Party @TonyAbbottMHR. “Thanks for all your support. It is greatly appreciated” was his first tweet. Prime Minister Abbott tweets on average once a day mostly on his institutional agenda, speeches, missions abroad and shares a large number of photos but since his election it is rare to see him without jacket and tie. The account is very conversational with half of the tweets including a mention and 25% being @replies. During the election campaign he directly engaged with his followers in Q&A sessions through the most used hashtag #asktony but it has never been used since he became prime minister. Over 80% of his tweets have been retweeted and the recent tweet of congratulations to newly elected Indian President @NarendraModi is the most popular one so far.

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Tony Abbott


Prime Minister of Australia

Tweet analytics (as of November 2014)

Joined Twitter: 12/01/2009
Language: English
Status: Active
Tweets/day: 1.03
Retweets: 5%
Mentions/Tweet: 0.48
Replies/Tweet: 0.23
Tweets retweeted: 84%
Most mentioned @bridgetabbott (14), @abbott_frances (10), @JoeHockey (9), @TheTodayShow (8), @AbeShinzo (8), @CarersAustralia (8), @TonyAbbottMHR (7), @JulieBishopMP (6), @theqldpremier (6), @theheraldsun (6)

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Foreign Minister of Australia Julie Bishop

Compliant with the Australian Government’s social media policy, the first female Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, engages with her audience on Twitter directly through her personal account. An early adopter, she made her debut on the Twittersphere in November 2009, while serving as shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, by criticizing the then Prime Minister Rudd: “Another Question Time where the PM evades scrutiny on his mismanagement of border protection”. @JulieBishopMP tweets, 1.6 times per day, from her iPad and iPhone about her agenda, institutional commitments and to get her political messages across. Her Twitter feed is very visual with photos from missions, conferences and official meetings but few behind the scene images. Bishop’s account, which has been hacked in March 2013, is very interactive and engages in conversations with other users: from the total number of tweets 25% are @replies, 30% are retweets and a mention is included in every other tweet. “Thanks”, “Australia”, “meeting” are among the most used words in her Twitter feed. Her most retweeted tweet is again a criticism of former Prime Minister Rudd in August 2013: “KRudd can't even keep basic promise on 'no notes' for #debate as he read his opening speech closing speech and most of it in between!”

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Julie Bishop


Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs

Tweet analytics (as of November 2014)

Joined Twitter: 11/14/2009
Language: English
Status: Active
Tweets/day: 2.47
Retweets: 42%
Mentions/Tweet: 0.44
Replies/Tweet: 0.21
Tweets retweeted: 42%
Most mentioned @JulieBishopMP (86), @WestCoastEagles (27), @TonyAbbottMHR (22), @dfat (15), @latikambourke (15), @NationalTimesAU (13), @LowyInstitute (13), @KRuddMP (11), @HarryJ_MP (11), @LiberalAus (10)

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Foreign Ministry of Australia DFAT

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade started its Twitter activity on 7 April 2011 sharing information about the department’s work. The @dfat account is very active with more than nine tweets a day, sharing diverse types of content such as key information on foreign policy and trade related issues, reports, stories from the website, job vacancies, photos with a good mix of formal and behind the scenes images, videos, cultural initiatives, travel and consular services for Australian citizens. 70% of the tweets include a link to a resource. However, interaction with other users is limited; only 9% are @replies and 13% retweets. More than one hashtag, on average, is included in every tweet, #Australia and #tradetalk are the most used. The most popular tweet, sent in August 2013, is a message urging Australians in Syria to leave the country immediately with a link to the Department’s webpage containing safety and security information on Syria. @DFAT follows 18 other foreign ministry accounts mutually and 16 unilaterally.

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Official account of Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade. Follow @smartraveller for travel updates. For consular assistance 24/7 ph +61 2 6261 3305

Tweet analytics (as of November 2014)

Joined Twitter: 03/29/2011
Language: English
Status: Active
Tweets/day: 10.72
Retweets: 19%
Mentions/Tweet: 0.88
Replies/Tweet: 0.07
Tweets retweeted: 71%
Most mentioned @JulieBishopMP (339), @AndrewRobbMP (161), @Austrade (78), @dfat (69), @SenBrettMason (61), @Smartraveller (47), @G20SR (47), @AusAWG (39), @AustraliaUN (36), @DubesAustralia (33)

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