“Don’t Dance, Sing, or Do Stunts”: How Julian Hill Became Australia’s Most Popular Politician on TikTok | australian politics

Scott Morrison has just joined TikTok – but Australia’s most popular politician on the social media app isn’t the Prime Minister, nor the man fighting to replace him.

That honor goes to Julian Hill, a Labor MP from Victoria who you might never have heard of if you’re not a user of the app famous for its music videos and viral dances.

With 125,000 subscribers and 1.8 million likes on his videos at the time of writing, Hill comfortably beats Victorian Prime Minister Daniel Andrews, an early adopter of the video-sharing social media app with 103,000 subscribers, in second place.

The format allows users to post and share videos of up to three minutes (they are often shorter), rewarding those who can make an impression quickly.

Homemade music or dance videos, lip-syncs, mimes and satire tend to score higher among non-political users, but Hill’s attacks on his opponents have skyrocketed his viewership.

Hill’s most popular video to date, with 1.1 million views, is a three-minute clip where he finds creative ways to describe Scott Morrison’s “loose relationship with truth” in a speech to the Federal chamber of the second chain of Parliament.

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Hill joined the app this year, thanks to the suggestion of Sam Richards, the son of family friends who has completed his 10th year of work in the MP’s office.

“I was interested in [him joining] because he had a lot of social media platforms, ”Richards told Guardian Australia.

“We started to put videos of his speeches and stuff in there and it started to take off.”

Richards says he and his friends are heavy users of TikTok, and the platform appeals because the “size [videos] what people want to see ”.

Hill says he’s published a “wide range of material” from parliamentary speeches to plays to camera, and while sometimes a video is a sure-fire hit, at other times “the algorithm can be a mystery.”

“You have to connect with people where they are,” says Hill. “A growing number of people are engaging on social media through TikTok. You should do them the courtesy of introducing yourself and treating them as smart.

Hill says his golden rule is “to be authentic, not to dance, sing or perform stunts.”

Perhaps the stunts are in the eye of the beholder – some might classify calling Indue to ask to be put on the cashless debit card as a stunt.

Hill has become a bit of an attack dog for Labor, whether he calls Morrison a “bullshit artist” or jokes about his plans to become a male model by 2050 to ridicule the climate goals of Coalition.

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Hill insists that what he posts on TikTok is often no different from content distributed through other social media, which he uses to amplify what he believes, whether said in parliament or in outside.

Some colleagues wonder if Hill’s tone – for all of his popularity online – may hinder his ability to convey his political sense, such as working on parliamentary committees spanning everything from outsourcing and migration to auditor funding. general.

Hill insists he’s tackling the big issues on TikTok, including the robodette, climate change and jobs, immigration and visa issues.

He says there is “a lot of silly stuff” on TikTok but “while politics is serious business, it doesn’t always have to be boring and uninviting.”

“This is the line to follow. “

Hill says he gets “great feedback when I’ve taken the time to explain a political topic or the politics, as I see it, of what’s going on.”

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His videos of Parliament sitting for just 10 days in the first half of 2022, or the Coalition’s decision to block an investigation into the disclosure of Christian Porter’s donations are both in this vein.

Richards says a lot of his friends now follow Hill – but Hill insists it’s not just a youth medium.

“I had a woman of about 70 who sent me a message, delighted with the [electoral boundary] redistribution. She said, “I’m glad to be in your electorate because I’m following you on TikTok.”

“I have received numerous emails from [parents] thanking me for engaging their children in politics, current affairs and ideas.

“I get stopped on the streets, in restaurants and stores by people who want to talk to me because of something that hit them from TikTok, because I took the time to explain something by meeting them where they are. “

Hill’s success prompted other MPs to flock to the platform, including shadow Education Minister Tanya Plibersek. Some of his colleagues are already stars of his channel.

An unofficial account for Anthony Albanese has recently sprung up, but the Labor leader got a high grade on Hill’s account for calling Peter Dutton a boofhead during Question Time.

Opposition Affairs Director Tony Burke also got a high mark for comments attacking the government about vaccinations and the Covid-19 quarantine.

Richards says many more MPs have joined TikTok from Hill, but “no one has passed Julian yet.”

“I hope he stays in that top spot, I would love to see him… Of course it always goes really well with the numbers – it’s exciting to see.

“It was a great experience – the experience of being a part of something that worked well and helped Julian was really exciting for me.”


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