By Timothy Mantiri
Queenslanders have voted to re-elect Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and her Government over the weekend with Labor on track to hold a majority in the Queensland Parliament.
While the final vote tally has yet to be finalised, Labor is poised to pick up at least 47 seats in the Legislative Assembly giving the party a majority in Queensland’s single-chambered Parliament. This leaves the Liberal National Party (LNP) with a likely total of 40 seats, one seat less than it had prior to the election.
The election result seems to reflect the exit polling and the final published Newspoll, as counting today had ALP on 36 per cent, the LNP on 33.5 per cent, One Nation on 13.7 per cent and the Greens on 9.7 per cent.
LNP leader Tim Nicholls will doubtlessly be disappointed with the result which saw his party go backwards in terms of primary vote and in the number of seats held.
Questions will also be raised around his reluctance to rule out doing any potential deals with One Nation after the election as several Shadow Ministers lost their seats in urban south-east Queensland.
It was also a bad night for Pauline Hanson's One Nation who look to have lost its parliamentary leader Steve Dickson, with the LNP’s Brent Mickelberg ahead in the Sunshine Coast seat of Buderim at last count.
Despite some predictions before polling day suggesting a swath of regional Queensland seats could fall its way, One Nation is likely to only pick up the seat of Mirani in Central Queensland (taking in the area between Mackay and Rockhampton), leaving it with just the single seat in Parliament.
Former Senator Malcolm Roberts, who was booted out the Federal Parliament (having been exposed as a dual British Citizen), also suffered a resounding defeat after contesting the seat of Ipswich (southwest Brisbane).
While the election campaigns were fought on the state battleground issues of unemployment, electricity prices, and the proposed Adani mine in Central Queensland, Federal Opposition leader Bill Shorten has already looked to link the result to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership and dissatisfaction with the Federal Government.
Some disaffected Nationals MPs in the Federal Parliament have also linked the result to the Turnbull Government, with North Queensland MP George Christensen taking the unusual step of apologising to people who voted for One Nation.
"I want to provide a sincere apology that, at this stage, no one else has: I'm sorry that we in the LNP have let you down," the Nationals MP wrote on Facebook.
“The party had to listen more, work harder, stand up for conservative values and regional Queensland, and do better to win people's trust and I think a lot of that starts with the Turnbull Government, its leadership and its policy direction," Mr Christensen said.
Such open dissatisfaction from his own backbench MPs poses a problem for the Prime Minister as the Federal Parliament approaches the final sitting weeks of the year. Maverick government MPs have been threatening to cause mayhem on the floor of parliament on contentious issues such as same sex marriage and a commission of inquiry into the banking sector.
For LNP leader Tim Nicholls the poor election result means his leadership will likely be under threat as a contested party room ballot for the leadership is tipped to take place this week. Contenders in the ballot will likely include Shadow Ministers Tim Mander, John-Paul Langbroek as well as Deputy Leader Deb Frecklington.
Meanwhile, Premier Palaszczuk will look to press ahead with Labor’s agenda and policy commitments which include: a renewable energy target of 50 per cent by 2030; an extension of a $150 million back to work program to give businesses incentives to take on the unemployed; and a series of tax hikes announced late in the campaign which deliver about $491 million to Queensland’s state coffers over three years.
Mixing religion with marketing - death trap or genius? by Isabelle Walker
In the lead up to Christmas, many businesses will be implementing their marketing strategies to draw the festive crowd. This week irreverent pastry purveyors in the UK, Greggs, launched its Advent Calendar advertising with gusto. Specifically, it tweeted a picture of the Nativity with the ‘saviour’ replaced with a ‘savoury’ sausage roll.
While another, Paul Clark, doubled down on Simon’s request, saying:
There have also been arguments made that though it is ‘okay’ to make fun of Christianity, this wouldn’t be acceptable with any other religion – and that this should be examined as an example of Western double standards.
Greggs has since apologised and said in a statement: "We’re really sorry to have caused any offence, this was never our intention."
Although there was initial backlash, it now appears Greggs may have in fact nailed this one.
Where the marketing team was likely going for a harmless joke, the new advert turned into a Twitter storm, and has now gained more attention and publicity than had a backlash not occurred. Now, the conversation is moving towards:
Case in point:
Whether or not Greggs intended for there to be international, sausage roll/nativity related fall-out with its cheeky Christmas marketing remains to be seen. Indeed, a viral story such as this is very rarely planned.
Further, the readers of the Telegraph in the UK tend to think replacing the Christian Messiah with a sausage roll is more than acceptable for advertising purposes (see opinion poll of 6.2K voters below).
Regardless of the original intent – likely just playing on the irreverence the brand is known for – the Sausage Roll (susejd rol) Nativity Scene has skyrocketed Greggs into the spotlight (and likely sold a few pastries while it was at it).
#metoo. But when sexual harassment is so normalised and random, what’s the point in saying something? By Isabelle Walker
#metoo. The hashtag that was heard around the world in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein sexual assault and harassment scandal. Women shared their stories of harassment, assault, misconduct, fear and intimidation; some simply showed solidarity indicated by the concession that these things had happened to them in the past.
I shared it – it has happened to me countless times. Whether it was from receiving my first wolf-whistle from a passing vehicle as a pre-pubescent girl in an affluent Sydney suburb, to a man old enough to be my father commenting on the plunging neckline of my mandatory uniform as a bar attendant. My particular favourite was the man who looked 15 years older than me, insistent that he pay for my drinks after my consistent protestations, who then called me a bitch and other derogatory, gender-specific epithets when I sat down with a male friend and was not interested in going home with him. There are the numerous men – strangers – who have been too close for comfort in bars, on public transport, in lifts, on the street.
Of the many things that have struck me during this entire scandal, one is the sudden outrage of men. Many Facebook friends expressed solidarity with women during this time. They lamented that they had never seen this harassment, and were all surprised when their friends were – in a steady stream – sharing the #metoo hashtag. They promised to stop it in its tracks if it ever happened in front of them.
Though I have no doubt that what they were saying is true, sexual harassment is literally everywhere and it is impossible to miss. It’s that it’s so normalised, it can be mistaken for jocular, good hearted fun, banter, or “locker-room talk”. When a man who openly admits to “grabbing women by the pussy” can be elected to the most powerful political position in the world, there’s little reason to believe sexual harassment is taken seriously by the general population.
The only way this can be changed is for all of us to say something. As women, we’ve been conditioned to stay silent; to believe that our jobs, credibility or dignity will be at risk. But now that light is finally being shed on this issue, it needs to be called out. Whether it’s happening to you, whether you’re witnessing it, whether you’ve heard about it; men are just as responsible for calling out other men as the women receiving the harassment. Being outraged after the fact is no longer enough. Silence is complicity.
By Benjamin Haslem
Over the past 24 hours two major social media faux pas have drawn widespread public attention.
One for its insensitivity to loved ones of car accident victims; the other for creating the impression that white skin is better than black, inviting the obvious allegation of racism.
Both, again raise the question: What can organisations do to minimise social media crises?
The first blunder, was a tweet by New Zealand police using a GIF of Michael Scott from the US television series The Office to convey how officers felt when telling people that their loved one had been killed in a motor vehicle accident.
The second “social media fail” was skincare brand Dove’s Facebook video ad run in the US showing images of a black woman taking off her brown t-shirt and turning into a white woman in a white t-shirt.
The white woman then removes her tee and morphs into a third woman, with a darker complexion than the second.
The social media rebuke was swift, with comparisons made between the ad and those run in the US in the late 19th century of a black child pictured in a bath tub while a white child offers him a bar of soap. After using the soap, the black child looks delighted to see that his skin has turned white.
Dove immediately apologised for having “missed the mark” with the Facebook ad.
By Benjamin Haslem
(The following post is adapted from a webinar delivered to members of the Public Relations Institute of Australia [PRIA], by our Co-CEO Benjamin Haslem)
Government is a major stakeholder, with the potential to impact you or your operations – both negatively or positively.
And if ever the time comes when you need the government’s assistance, it’s far more likely you will get an audience, let alone an outcome, if they know you.
For that reason, it is necessary to develop good long-term relationships with key decision makers and to establish contact early and maintain it regularly, not merely pressing government at times of need.
The first is the political arm. The politicians – the Government, Opposition, minor parties and independents (who in Canberra currently carry a lot of weight) and politicians’ advisers, known as staffers.
The second is what we broadly refer to as the Bureaucracy – Government departments, agencies, regulators, government-owned enterprises.
Both these groups operate across all levels of government – Federal, State and to a much smaller extent, local government.
So why communicate with them?
By Kathy Lindsay
Our experience is that a properly-planned and thought-out communications strategy significantly increases the likelihood that your objectives will be met. And within an acceptable cost. Although a communications strategy takes time (around one month through refinement and sign-off), future activities determined by the strategy will be more efficiently and confidently undertaken.
A communication strategy will:
1. Determine your objectives
The success of the strategy is measured against achievements of the objectives.
2. Analyse issues
An issue is an unsettled matter impacting on - or potentially impacting on - the attainment of objectives.
It is crucial to the successful implementation of a communications strategy that issues are identified and tactics developed to manage those issues.
3. Know your stakeholders
A comprehensive stakeholder analysis will inform the strategic approach used to achieve your objectives.
The successful implementation will require the careful management of a broad range of stakeholders with competing interests and levels of influence.
Stakeholders must be identified, communicated with, listened to and understood.
In undertaking a stakeholder analysis it will be necessary to determine:
4. Agree on key messages
Getting the key messages right is crucial as they convey the essence of communication. In a sense, they are what communication is all about; ensuring that what you mean is understood by others.
Messages encapsulate the key points or themes you wish to communicate to your audience about you and your organisation, your activities, policies, initiatives, needs and wants.
When they are received and understood, they represent the point at which you begin to exert influence in your communication, whether you are trying to raise awareness, shape opinion, or change behaviour.
5. Develop a strategic approach
With the establishment of clear objectives and identification of issues and stakeholder expectations, you can develop a broad strategic approach to underpin the whole strategy and its implementation.
6. List activities and a timeline for implementation
The strategic approach will guide what you do and in what order and will inform an accurate pricing of the work in terms of hours spent on implementation.
How many of those activities you actually undertake will depend on available resources (financial and personnel). Some will be crucial to achieving your objectives, others will be nice to have but not essential.
7. Refine your budget
As decisions are made about the level and extent of activity you undertake regarding the final strategy, budgets can be further refined.
Wells Haslem is a member of the IPREX global communications network, through which our clients can access 1,800 staff in 112 offices worldwide.
Michael Schröder, CEO of ORCA Affairs and Global President of IPREX, was quoted recently in New Business, the influential German communications magazine for agencies and clients.
Michael was asked to comment on networks versus owner-run companies and pointed to a third model: international agency networks consisting of owner-run agencies.
"For many agencies worldwide, belonging to a communications holding (company) such as Omnicom, WPP or Havas is not necessary since networks of owner-run agencies such as IPREX offer the same advantages. The core question is: how can agencies do justice to the growing demand of international expertise? What does my agency, what do my employees and my clients need? I would even ask: what is the essence of my agency work? Is it to increase the shareholder value of my owner, is it to constantly keep an eye on my holding or is it my clients’ success?
"This is where international networks of owner-run agencies such as IPREX enter the picture. The mission is committing to the value of successful and efficient state-of-the-art communication on the highest level. It is not to create dependencies for the agency and its clients.
"In a holding (company), the struggle between the different international member agencies for the shareholders’ favour is not necessarily in favour of the client.
"For networks of owner-run agencies, the opposite is the case: the cooperation in IPREX between 69 partner agencies with 112 offices in 36 countries is not marked by shareholder values or dominance. The network reflects the DNA of the member agencies: independence, entrepreneurship, quality, trust and flexibility. These values make us partners on a par with our clients. We are global, but are not subject to the negative management effects of globalization.
"Networks such as IPREX are a platform constantly shaped and designed by its members."
3 May 2016
Sydney public relations and government affairs company, Wells Haslem Strategic Public Affairs, has boosted its Asian credentials recruiting Kathy Lindsay, who has extensive communications experience working in Japan, Thailand and Indonesia in banking, mining and energy.
Kathy’s recruitment will be complemented by the recent hiring of University of Sydney graduate, Timothy Mantiri, who combines a passion for politics and public relations with a fluency in Bahasa Indonesia.
Kathy was previously head of internal communications, Asia-Pacific, at Lehman Brothers, Tokyo (2004-08) where she was member of corporate transition team during Nomura Holding’s acquisition of the global banking giant.
Following the takeover, Kathy was appointed vice president, group corporate communications at Nomura, managing the Tokyo headquarters’ liaison with non-Japanese news organizations in Japan and with international media in the Asia-Pacific, Europe and the US.
From 1997-2001, Kathy was Executive director at the Australian-Thai Chamber of Commerce in Bangkok, where she increased the chamber’s membership by 25 per cent to 254 corporate and individual members during the Asian economic crisis.
Kathy’s most recent role was as business development manager, energy, utilities & mining sector at PwC Indonesia in Jakarta (2012-15).
Kathy returned to Australia late last year with her journalist husband, Peter Alford, at the completion of his tour of duty as The Australian newspaper’s Indonesia Correspondent.
Kathy has previously worked as an adviser to then Victoria Premier, Jeff Kennett and NSW Environment Minister, Chris Hartcher.
Wells Haslem Chairman, John Wells, said Kathy joining Wells Haslem was like welcoming back an old friend.
“Kathy worked with me at Wells Haslem’s predecessor, Jackson Wells, from 1995-97 and again from 2001-03,” John said.
“We had no hesitation offering Kathy a position at Wells Haslem; she brings an extraordinary level of expertise working in three key Asian markets across a range of industries.
“Kathy’s deep understanding of the cultural nuances of three major Asian nations will be invaluable to local businesses and organisation wishing to communicate with other businesses, media and governments in a rapidly growing region.
“It will also help businesses and organisations in South East Asia wishing to expand into the Australian market.”
Wells Haslem CEO, Benjamin Haslem, said Tim Mantiri’s keen interest in both politics and public relations made him an ideal fit for the company.
“Tim already has experience working as a volunteer for the Liberal Party and the LNP on the 2013 Federal Election; 2015 Queensland election and the 2015 NSW election,” Benjamin said.
“He was the Communications Director at the Sydney University Liberal Club from 2013-14.”
Tim, whose parents were born in Indonesia, has a Bachelor of Political, Economic and Social Sciences, from the University of Sydney; where he is currently completing a Master of Strategic Public Relations.
By Isabelle Walker
The Republican Candidacy always has its share of colourful characters, but rarely are they the consistent frontrunner.
Donald Trump continues to surprise. The Presidential Candidate is sitting at the top of the polling for the Presidential Primaries (25.3 per cent) and not showing any signs of slowing down, despite the fact that any credible political reporter wrote him off from the get-go.
His closest adversary, Ben Carson, is a point behind. From there, the next Republican Candidate is Marco Rubio, polling at around 11 per cent. The establishment favourite, Jeb Bush, is languishing on 5.5 per cent.
To a politico, Trump’s success is a mystery. He has not one shred of political experience. He openly declares that Mexico has given America a generation of ‘rapists and murderers’ coming across the border. He headed a public campaign that seriously questioned whether Barack Obama was born in the USA. He is also seriously sexist. The man should not be considered a genuine candidate for President.
Even so, he continues to gain ground and popularity. Perhaps the fatigue of career politicians has taken its toll on an increasingly tired America. Maybe Trump is vocalising what a lot of Americans think. Maybe it’s just because his media coverage is so outstanding, some people can’t name another Republican candidate.
When Trump supporters are asked about why they support him, there are various reactions. “Trump is low risk, high reward”; “Trump is a Moderate compromiser”; “Trump is a corrective to American pathologies”; “Trump embodies the rage of the white middle class”; and Trump is stringently anti-establishment.
Over the weekend, Trump was the host of Saturday Night Live (SNL) – the stalwart of American comedy sketch shows. From all sides, the appearance was deemed a failure. The jokes, that could have easily skewered Trump, did nothing but feed his ego. He didn’t have much of a chance to laugh at himself, and apparently vetoed many of the ‘risque’ jokes. As the clip shows (below), his delivery was awkward and he was trying desperately to be funny.
The issue with Trump is that because he’s a joke to political buffs, critics don’t take the time to seriously question his credentials. Critics don’t even want to engage with his policies, let alone analyse them. But this is to their peril, because Trump appears to be getting through to a lot of average Americans. He represents the American dream of success and riches, and he’s had his own reality show to boot.
The only way to stop this runaway train of success is to stop thinking Trump is a joke and start to take him seriously. If an Austrian blockbuster movie star can become the Governor of California, it is not a stretch that a flamboyant billionaire can make it to the White House. But how will he combat ISIS and maintain diplomacy with myriad competing interests? Will he repeal Obamacare and restrict women’s reproductive rights? How exactly will he be the ‘greatest jobs President God ever created’? Will he actually build ‘the wall’?
The sooner Trump is taken down once and for all through effective criticism of his policy credentials and questionable beliefs, the sooner a serious conversation can be had about who will potentially be the next leader of the free world.
In the mid-1960s, two US National Bureau of Standards employees warned in an article for the ACM journal of the ‘’information explosion” and how storing and handling this data would become a major challenge in the future.
Now, 50 years later, everyone is talking about the “new” big data hype and its importance for both governments and companies worldwide. However, with so many of us jumping on the bandwagon, it is time to take a look at the actual usefulness of big data, as well as its benefits and limitations - especially when it comes to public relations.
Covering the constantly-expanding world of big data can be overwhelming. Ever tried to follow the big data hashtag on Twitter? The rapid speed of updates will make your head spin. But where did that trend come from? The term was arguably coined by Gartner analyst Douglas Laney who defined big data by the growing amount of information available, the high speed at which the data is generated and processed and finally by the increasing variety of sources and types of data material.
With digital technology and new media platforms taking over, so much more information is being produced and collected, creating modern treasure boxes filled with data. Every article read online, every purchase, every transaction, every communication, every click exchange leaves a trace of information behind. With the change in the type of data becoming available to organisations, it is important to reduce or filter these datasets in order to make sense of their complexity. Imagine this to be like a digital version of IKEA self-serve warehouse, where certain data has to be picked up from a number of different shelves to analyse it and put it together to create meaningful insights. With the right tools, an appropriate understanding of statistics and computing skills, the less important noise can be blocked out and profound conclusions can be drawn from the data. The insights gained can be used to identify patterns and to make a more informed decision - for example: when, where and how to communicate.
The more dynamic the industry setting (or settings, for that matter) a company operates in, the more important it is to monitor and measure content and data, if possible in real-time, to communicate more effectively. It can help to predict and identify trends before they hit their peak in the media world. It can help to with pitching for work, because the campaigns that are being developed and the stories that are being told will be backed by substantial data. For those working in PR, it is important to understand stakeholders and if possible, how they can be brought to maintain or change a certain point of view. Using a data-driven approach it is now possible to identify opinions, how they change over time and how they affect PR activities. Analytics can also be used to assess performances and point out weak areas in a communication strategy.
Sounds great so far. Now, where are the downsides?
Many businesses still lack the capabilities for dealing with big datasets – maybe because they do not have the resources to hire someone with the right skills, maybe because they are intimidated by trying to find the needle in this haystack of information. Another reasons could be the technical issue of where to store all the information or choosing the right program for interpreting and visualising the data. Decision-makers may become frustrated because it takes hours or days to get answers to questions, if at all. Making even a minor mistake can lead to false conclusions and a lack of accuracy in predictions and it becomes more difficult to find out where an error has been made later on when big datasets are involved. While correlations between information can be detected, it still takes the sound understanding of a human element to judge which correlations are actually meaningful. Big data can be used, for example, to show a correlative relationship between the consumption of sour cream (per half-pint, if that is of interest) and the number of motorcycle riders killed in non-collisional transport accidents in the United States. Another statistic shows an alleged correlation between the number of global, non-commercial space launches and the number of sociology doctorates being awarded. Conclusions based on data suggesting two trends seem to occur at the same time should be drawn with care.
So where does this leave us?
At the end of the day, big is a trend that is here to stay – and that is good. Companies, especially PR businesses, should seriously look into the opportunities large scale information analysis has to offer them and what can be gained by making use of statistical methods. It might just be the key to unlocking a few doors in terms of stakeholder insights. Big Data should not be ignored or overlooked in decision-making in favour of an unspecific gut feeling.
However, data analytics is not yet a patent remedy and still needs careful judgement and informed handling before using it to solve problems.
1. Is Social Media Stifling Political Debate?