A media release from Prime Minister Ben Chifley was among the most damaging in Australian history
Recently a strong community backlash forced the cancellation of a scheme to put black-clad officers of Australian Border Force on Melbourne streets checking visas.
The Government reacted by saying it was a big misunderstanding and named the culprit – a poorly worded media release cleared at a ‘low level in the organisation’.
Border Force media release – right thing but the wrong way
This media release did all what media releases are supposed to do. It captured attention. Unfortunately it was the wrong sort of attention and spiraled off into a media and social media storm, street protests and public ridicule for Border Force.
Most Australian politicians use social media to blast out messages without interacting with those of us at the receiving end. They use it like a one way platform or digital brochure. It can be discouraging but yesterday I got a pleasant surprise!
The new ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr is a prolific social media user, and as I discovered yesterday, willing to use it to engage.
Since the start of the year three local issues have unsettled me. So yesterday I direct messaged the Chief Minister on Facebook to express concern and suggest a better way of running the Territory – which is ambitious of me but hey I vote too.
Australian Public Service managers face uncertain times. Now is the time to collect, craft and communicate stories that let you lead from the front and shape the future.
Canberra is facing uncertain times – job losses, a new Senate making life difficult for the Government, dwindling budgets and shrinking agencies.
If ever there was time for good communications within, around and from government, the time is now. And it is time for Public Service managers to reach into their communication toolkits and pull out their most potent tool – storytelling.
Whether selling a policy or reassuring nervous staff, stories are a communicator’s best friend.