In 1947 Australia’s banks launched a PR campaign against Prime Minister Ben Chifley.
This article first appeared in the Canberra Times, The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald.
You can almost hear the ghost of Prime Minister Ben Chifley applauding Bill Shorten’s calls for a Royal Commission into Australian banking.
Yet while Chifley might approve Shorten’s efforts he would probably think they do not go far enough. In 1947 Chifley, the train driver turned politician, led a Labor Government that legislated to nationalise Australia’s banks. In doing he triggered one of the largest public relations campaigns in Australian history, one that finally led to the defeat of his Government.
Efforts in the US State of New York may limit the role of PR plays in grass roots campaigns.
Lobbying is a legitimate part of community communications but often it can look remarkably similar to what public relations professionals do. Many large Australian PR agencies offer ‘government relations’ among their services.
The Australian Government Register of Lobbyists lists many of Australia’s largest PR firms as well as many smaller outfits. From time to time the media scrutinises the actions of lobbyists in particular issues but the fact a (registered) PR professional can approach a government minister or senior bureaucrat on behalf of a client is unquestioned.
Donald Trump is working a pretty sophisticated PR ploy with the fingerprints of reality TV all over it.
The American Establishment has been busy predicting Donald Trump’s demise since last June when he announced his run for the President of the United States.
Yet he has consistently led the national polls for the Republican Party nomination.
Trump was a reality TV star for 14 years and his show ‘The Apprentice’ made him an international celebrity. Now it seems he has migrated the essential ingredients of that genre into a campaign style that has delivered considerable success.
Trump is all about show.
Malcolm Turnbull is promising more open communications
Australia’s new Prime Minister is changing how the Government communicates to Australians. In recent days the slogans that plagued us for the past two years are gone and the tone of Ministers is less shrill. They seem more willing to answer questions and explain policy.
Prime Minister Turnbull has committed his Government to a more open communications style which will be good news for Canberra’s public sector communicators. In recent times they have ‘done it tough’ because the previous Abbott administration centralised information flows, restricted information and closed down dialogue.
Turnbull has been a parliamentary pioneer in social media which probably means agencies will place more focus on digital and social outreach in coming days.
Right now Donald Trump leads the polls for the Republican nomination for President even though the US Presidential Election is a year or more away and early primaries in Iowa and New Hampshire are off in the distance.
Not only is he leading – and if major US polls are right – doing so by impressive margins.
People who follow US politics and who live elsewhere can only wonder how a candidate like The Donald is a serious contender for the Presidency. Particularity with a campaign performance that so far would sink any mainstream politician.
Trump is bold, brash, full-on and often offside and ventures where other Republican candidates dare not go but soon are tamely forced to follow.