Australia and Victoria Cross Awards

Among the many memorial plaques in the Liverpool Anglican Cathedral is a small plaque and bust honouring Captain Noel Godfrey Chavasse, VC & Bar, MC (9 November 1884 – 4 August 1917).

Chavasse was a medico, an Olympian and one of only three people to be awarded a Victoria Cross twice. There are many other memorial plaques in the Cathedral including for soldiers, civilians, nurses, dock workers and others killed in the relentless German bombing of the port city. read more

What the latest US polls are showing

If trends are significant the latest averages of quality US Presidential and Senate race polls are shifting – and not in the direction The Australian’s Greg Sheridan has forecast.

Looking at the latest FiveThirtyEight (538) average of polls over the last month or so there had been a very gradual move away from Biden towards Trump with the average Biden lead dropping from more than 7% down to as low as 6.5 and then steady for a while at 6.6%. This now seems to be in reverse with the Biden lead now inching up each day to 6.8%. read more

ALP rank and file push reforms

The Bracks-Macklin Victorian ALP review released its first recommendations in July 2020 – no brainer rules amendments for immediate action to end bulk membership sign ups and ensure individual members pay for their own membership.

Meanwhile rank and file ALP members and a variety of groups are developing far-reaching proposals of their own including: individuals within branches; coalitions of branches within electorates; members of long-standing Labor-aligned groups such as the Fabians; Jamie Button’s Open Labor group; and, the long-standing indefatigable reform advocate, former Whitlam advisor and Victorian Cabinet Minister, Race Mathews. read more

How would a fairness campaign fare in Australia?

Whether it was ever a myth or not there has been – until recently – an ingrained belief that Australians value fairness and the fair go, as the concept was often characterised.

If it was still a powerful message it would be an appropriate campaign framing for the ALP to use in an ongoing campaign leading to the 2022 election. Instead of the mish-mash of policies it took to the 2019 election – all of which would have promoted a more equitable society but lacking a cohesive narrative – such a message may have been effective. read more

A Trump October surprise

As the days count down to October  11 Donald Trump is probably hoping for an October surprise – the term used by US commentators to describe last minute events which might shape or be used to shape the Presidential election. Sadly for him the surprise might be both delayed and not the one he is hoping for. read more

Greg Sheridan’s feverish cherry picking

What has Greg Sheridan of The Australian been smoking or taking, or is it just common or garden cherry picking?

He feverishly wrote (1 September 2020): “Donald Trump has roared back into polling contention after the Republican and Democratic conventions, according to a slew of polls and analytical work in the US. The RealClearPolitics betting odds now have the contest at almost level, whereas 10 days ago they strongly favoured the President’s Democratic challenger, Joe Biden.” read more

Tin ear PR campaigns

Sometimes PR campaigns to address problems cause even bigger PR problems.

For instance the aged care industry is planning a major campaign to ‘change the conversation’ and ‘win the hearts and minds of middle Australia’ according to The Age (2 September 2020).

To do so the industry has employed a PR company run by a former Murdoch reporter and Howard staffer and an ad man who worked on the Kevin07 campaign. read more

When power – or the desire for it – ends

When asked during one of his long, long media conferences about speculation on whether he was planning to stand down as Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews, replied “I’m not going anywhere”.

A friend remarked a couple of days later: “Well that confirms it – he’s going.”

There has been scuttlebutt about what he might do; what the impact of COVID-19 was on his re-election prospects; who might replace him; and why was it all happening. read more

Thank you for your service

The Morrison Government’s hypocrisy ranges across many areas but one of the most galling is the disparity between the protestations about thanking veterans for their service and how they allocate veteran related budgets.

For instance the proposed $500 million Australian War Memorial project, plus the $552 million spent on WWI Centenary commemoration (more than the UK and France spent), represents more than a billion dollars which could have been spent on veterans’ welfare in much needed areas such as homelessness and counselling services for PTSD sufferers. read more

An insider’s view of how public relations really works