EMC’s Last Drinks campaign to tackle alcohol-fuelled violence has been recognised in the annual public relations industry awards.
In busy organisations, taking the time to talk to members and supporters about what’s going on often falls off the bottom of very long to-do lists.
It’s a complex environment for member communications. Once, newsletters were printed and mailed as a matter of course and it was just assumed people read them.
What we’ve learnt about interest levels and attention spans in the digital age, where we know exactly which stories are clicked on and how long people spend reading them, is a good reminder that people are busy and we need to earn their attention.
While many people still like to receive a printed magazine in the letterbox, the expense of printing and mailing together with the rising engagement with online communications tools, is leading many organisations to look for alternatives.
EMC has developed the ‘Express’ model with two divisions of the Rail Tram and Bus Union representing train and bus drivers.
They are content driven, with stories – including photos and videos – posted regularly during the week as events unfold in workplaces across the state.
They are tailored to members’ needs, with features including ‘update your details online’, links to enterprise agreements and workplaces standards, and photo galleries.
They are interactive, with moderated comments and polls allowing members to have their say on industry issues.
They are also popular, with usage data showing high open rates for subscribers who receive the emails and officials receiving positive feedback from members.
A rally can be a great way to fire up the troops, and to put on a public display of strength. But how can you make sure that your rally gets noticed, and how can you maximise its impact?
Traditionally, the most common way to amplify the impact of a rally is through media coverage. By itself, however, holding a rally is usually not enough to attract the mainstream media’s attention. An event must come with a decent news hook.
For news value, timing can be everything. For example, the recent public sector rally in Sydney was timed to coincide with the passage of the NSW Government’s IR Legislation through the Upper House. This provided the narrative of the media story, with the rally being presented as the public sector’s response to the events going on inside Parliament.
Also think about colour, movement and sound – essential ingredients for the electronic media. Rallies provide perfect opportunities for some good old-fashioned flag waving and chanting. It’s important to have speakers with personal stories to tell – people who can talk about the issue will affect them personally. And if certainly helps if your speakers are articulate, and can talk with passion. A crowd needs to be revved up – you want to inspire raucous cheering, not polite golf claps. Read more »
First published in The Mercury, 30/4/11.
The problem of asylum seekers, and what to do with them, has been a touchstone issue in Australian politics for well over a decade.
From the Tampa debacle, the “children overboard” controversy, the awful tragedies of the Siev X and the Christmas Island boat disaster, to the Villawood riots – asylum seekers have been an ever-present source of community angst.
The battlelines for this year’s federal budget have been drawn with the government and opposition performing the ritual flexing of their fiscal muscles to show they can conquer the deficit.
The prime minister used her speech to the Whitlam Institute last week to match the opposition’s economic machismo, accepting that the test of her leadership credentials will be her ability to return the budget to surplus by 2012/13. But, as this week’s Essential Report shows the public reject the key point of the pyrotechnics, with the majority of voters across party lines saying they would support delaying a return to surplus if it meant preventing cuts to services or extra tax.
Q. Do you think it is more important for the government to return the budget to surplus by 2012/13 as planned – which may mean cutting services and raising taxes – OR should they delay the return to surplus and maintain services and invest in infrastructure?
These findings suggest the public have a more nuanced view of the national economy than the leaders they have elected to run it.
The finding that Coalition voters reject the imperative to bring the budget back into surplus immediately is particularly telling: this is not a sectional view, it is what mainstream Australia believe.
What’s behind the numbers?
First, it may be the way we have asked the question. By drawing a link between cutting services and/or raising taxes, we have actually set out the implications of hairy-chested financial management.
Secondly, there has been general acceptance that the stimulus injections of the Rudd years actually worked – that when the economy is under pressure from global forces, government does have a role in keeping the wheels turning. The fact that people appear prepared to allow the deficit to run reflects this.
Thirdly, we have seen in NSW, particularly, the implications of deficit obsession, the chronic under-investment in infrastructure and services in NSW in the name of budget surpluses. The budget numbers may look nice, but try telling that to a commuter stuck in traffic.
Finally, it may be that in an era of political sloganeering, where ‘budget black holes’ and ‘big, new taxes’ have become cannon fodder, people have just started to turn off.
The deficit/surplus narrative has provided budget day headlines for the past two decades, based on an accepted wisdom that surpluses and good and deficits are bad. As our economic literacy has grown, so has been the imperative to ‘balance the books’.
Paul Keating is rightly credited with educating the Australian public about economics; his recent curmudgeonly performance notwithstanding, he turned economics into a national sport. He would introduce a new trick like floating the dollar or deregulating the banks. then he would convince us that embracing it would help us push up the national league table; a bit like the way we chased Olympic gold.
John Howard inherited Keating’s economy and treated it like a game of cricket; an emphasis on technique, defending his wickets like the test captain he always dreamed of being. Howard with Costello ran budgets that were turbo-charged with GST income, allowing him to translate tax into direct payments to the punters.Kevin Rudd’s started off treating the economy like a game of chess, initiating complex moves before the GFC hit and he switched to roulette, putting all his money on the table. This left an economy that voters accept is in good shape, despite having a headline deficit.
Tony Abbott treats budgets, like everything else, as a blood sport. He has built his economic story around cutting the deficit. It is a sign of his effectiveness in Opposition that he has forced Labor to accept this frame.
But looking at this week’s findings, there is another budget day story the Labor government could be telling that would resonate with the public.
It starts of with the simple fact that, compared to other developed countries, the Australian economy is in good shape.
It then accepts the key point of a budget is to distribute funds to provide services and programs, which by their nature are seen to be in the public interest.
It recognises there are ramifications when the budget is simply cut for the sake of it.
And it ends with the proposition that in uncertain economic times, government has a constructive role to play in maintaining living standards, rather than just seeing its role as getting out of the way.
A budget story along these lines would play out very differently from the one that seems to be emerging – one that gave the public choices, explained its implications and stopped portraying itself as the prize in a crude numbers game.
The Essential Report has been drawing a bit of comment in recent days, notably for failing to chart a perceived collapse in Labor support in week two of the campaign.
We were in the firing line on the Insiders on Saturday, where George Megalogenis noted that ,as an online poll, we have a different methodology to the major poll, so should not be treated with the same level of credence.
It is true that the Essential Poll uses a different model to the established pollsters – unlike phone-polling, we draw on a community panel of about 100,00 votes established by Your Source.
So why are the Essential numbers different to the phone pollsters? Read more »
IT seems Work Choices is the political equivalent of a cockroach.
When all other issues lie dead under a pile of post-apocalyptic rubble, Work Choices will still be scurrying around, nibbling on the corpses of conservative politicians. It is impossible to kill.
Tony Abbott’s failure to make industrial relations a non-issue has a broader context. Like the cockroach, Work Choices is the result of years of evolution. The policy finished off John Howard but its ancestors have been damaging Coalition campaigns for the best part of 20 years.
Its antecedents can be traced back to Jeff Kennett’s decision to abolish penalty rates and leave loadings for Victorian public servants after his 1992 victory. Kennett promised to keep these conditions during the campaign and reneged a week after the opposition leader John Hewson and then industrial relations spokesman Howard launched Jobsback during the federal campaign.
Hewson’s failure to sell the GST is widely credited for his drop in popularity in November 1992. But he argues it was industrial relations panic that brought him undone. “Kennett’s unilateral decision immediately called into question the credibility of our commitment of ‘what you’ve got you’ll keep’,” he wrote in 1998.
The former Victorian Liberal premier’s influence goes further. During his final term, consultancy Essential Media Communications came up with a campaign for the Australian Education Union to combat his plans to close schools. The campaign was a success and in 2005 EMC crafted Your Rights at Work.
The only other Coalition leader to genuinely embrace industrial relations reform during the 1990s was West Australian premier Richard Court, who lost the 2001 election after reinvigorating the WA union movement. Read more »
Canberra Report: We have a contest
Like people turned around in a leaky boat, with the engine and all the passports cut, the Government seems a bit out of its depth on the issue of people fleeing asylum from war.
Although ‘6 months in a leaky boat’ may as well be lyrics to a crowded house song, a week on the policy was enough to almost sink her.
Gillard’s got a gun, and it’s on a boat, but the finger on the trigger seems a little shaky as she sets the sights for an election. Talk is she could go by Thurs before the Bill Shorten’s mother-in-law goes o/s for some d/t.
What is clear is that the ALP is framing this election as a choice.
A choice between someone who understands that asylum seekers are no big deal, and a choice between someone who wants to get the navy to shoot them in the face.
A choice between someone prepared to do something about climate change and someone who is going to listen to the communities concerns that the whole thing is a beat up.
A choice between someone who is going to slug the miners so we can invest in everyone, or someone who can do a respect and appease the miners.
A choice between Julia Gillard and Julia Gillard.
And no one is being racist.
Except Tony Abbott. He does like races, but he’s definitely racist. He hates women too. And holidays. And baby animals.
Climate change action will be on the agenda this week with Bob Brown’s at Press Club and it being the outstanding item on the government’s to do list.
The rub in the media is announcements on climate change and an election on the weekend with Aug 21 or 28.
Stand firm people, Paul Howes is no Paul the Octopus and Abbott’s still a chance in this election.
Pig’s arse, I mean John Elliott, Chris Evans Minister for Immigration and the lovable poodle Christopher Pyne are on Qanda.
As we continue to lose the troops in Afghanistan, at least we are starting to win at sport again.
Mark Webber who according to some can’t turn left, won in Silverstone GP, and Cadel Evans, the biggest whinger in sport is winning the tour.
And Spain, who are broke, won the World Cup.
While few of these things actually happened in Canberra, would you rather hear about the Raiders next weekend?
Election speculation. Election speculation. Election speculation.
How can Sepp Blatter go on?
Will Howard hang on when there seems no hope of winning, especially when the people voting for him don’t want him?
Can Kristina Keneally really get elected just cos she’s hot?
Right now the media in Canberra is focused on one thing: the timing of the election.
But despite all the speculation, finding the answer seems obvious – ask an Octopus.
Yeah that’s right, Octopi may well be the new way in research, given that Paul, the genius psychic Octopus in Germany, is a tipping freak having nailed five out of five German games in the World Cup.
This hot tipping streak could be useful in Canberra this week as freezing cold temps and uncertainty about an election debate pervade the landscape.
The mining tax now buried off the front pages, the Government has to work out what to do with the ad spots it can’t cancel.
Having declared that she has ‘anxiety’ about boat people, expect Gillard to throw the issue of asylum seekers overboard this week in preparation for an August election. Thursday marks the end of the three month period in which Sri Lankan and Afghanistan asylum seekers were refused acknowledgement so expect something before then.
Just a thought: Perhaps we’d be more welcoming if people trying to come ashore claimed to be attempting to circumnavigate the globe, rather than simply seeking asylum.
Funnily enough, Gillard came in a boat – as did many of our forebears – and therefore we may want to think about some of the ‘anxieties’ we’ve caused those before us – given that it is NAIDOC week.
And speaking of undue levels of anxiety, Australian of the Year Patrick McGorry is in the Press Club on Wednesday. So much anxiety. Whatever happened to our relaxed and comfortable country?
Tony Burke, George Brandis, the Crabb, and Graham Morris are on QANDA tonight, with former Democrat’s leader and Gareth Evan’s confidant Cheryl Kernot – who will no doubt remind you that if you get in trouble, change sides.
Essential Reports polls taken over the last 2 years show how Kevin Rudd’s approval ratings have declined since he almost unprecedented figures he achieved following his election through to early last year. Up to March last year approval hovered around the high 60% level into the low 70%. Is net approval (i.e. approve minus disapprove) was around the mid 40% level.
Throughout 2009 and early 2010 his approval went into steady decline but still remained in positive territory. At the end of March he recorded 53% approval and 36% disapproval. However, the most dramatic shift occurred in April and May when his approval first entered negative territory with 41% approve and 47% disapprove. The decline appeared to be accelerating.
Some of the reasons for this sudden decline can be found in how the personal perceptions of Kevin Rudd changed from 2009 to May this year. His attribute ratings showed significant falls in the percentage of people who considered him to be a capable leader (72% to 55%), good in a crisis (60%-44%) and trustworthy (51%-41%). Meanwhile his ratings for “out of touch with ordinary people” increased from 41% to 55%. It indicates a significant loss of confidence in his performance as Prime Minister.
Last week’s Essential Report showed only weak support for Kevin Rudd to lead the Labor Party to the next election – 40% thought the Labor Party would have better chance of winning the election if they changed leader and 37% thought Kevin Rudd was the best person to lead the labor Party. Even among Labor voters only 66% supported Kevin Rudd as leader and 23% though they should change. Read more »
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