Between opinion polls and betting agencies, it seems like almost no one anticipated the weekend’s election result.
But there is one man who has bragging rights about his method for picking a winner.
Bela Stantic is director of the ‘Big Data and Smart Analytics’ Lab and head of the School of Information and Communication Technology at Griffith University.
He correctly predicted the Coalition victory, days before the votes were tallied.
Stantic analyses millions of Tweets for hashtags, names, and relevant policy terms in order to measure public sentiment.
Traditional polling famously missed the mark on Trump’s election and the Brexit vote – both of which were correctly predicted by Stantic’s system.
So why don’t we hear from Bela Stantic and Griffith’s Big Data and Smart Analytics Lab during election season?
“I don’t want to influence elections,” said Stantic.
“I did my exclusive interview on Thursday where I predicted everything, but I asked to put my interview on hold until Saturday morning.”
Stantic’s computer systems found anomalous, automated Twitter accounts and recognised the effect social media influence can have on election results.
“This election I noticed accounts which sent more than a thousand tweets a day in the last three days,” said Stantic.
“It was a very strong campaign.
“I’m not looking at the content of individuals and don’t know who sent these tweets, but I learned to adjust my prediction.
“Even though this mass-Tweeting did not reflect the opinion of that many people, it still influences opinion.”
Implications of the election
Regardless of who saw it coming, we now know there will be three more years of a Coalition government – plenty of time to implement change in Australia’s tech sector.
The Prime Minister is looking to reconvene parliament with a fresh economic mandate.
“I’m keen to get back into parliament as soon as we can,” said Morrison.
“We put the budget to the Australian people … we now expect to pass a budget in its entirety.”
Morrison’s pre-election budget was heralded by the slogan ‘back in the black’.
If the government wants to succeed in achieving economic success, ACS President Yohan Ramasundara believes it needs to focus more on industry-shaping technology.
“Australia’s economic success in the future is dependent on a vibrant tech industry,” Ramasundara said.
“We’ve heard that every business is a digital business.
“Every successful economy will be underpinned by a tech sector.”
This April’s budget was unfortunately light on tech spending.
The government said it would spend $156 million on cyber security – a critical area for both government and business.
Development for the government’s digital services like My Health Record also received a decent funding boost while the establishment of a National Skills Commission to focus retraining in the VET sector was criticised for its lack of focus on technology skills.
ACS Australia’s Digital Pulse 2018 report says demand for tech workers is increasing – and that we will need to supply 100,000 extra IT professionals in the next four years.
“We want to see the Government take digital literacy skills seriously,” said Ramasundara.
“Human ingenuity is still required even in the machine age.
“So we need to invest as much as we can in our people – young and old – in their education, teaching people new digital skills and giving them confidence to succeed.”