How not to answer questions in parliament

Junior federal minister Stuart Robert today showed how not to answer questions about integrity and, in the process, damaged the government.

Three times the Opposition asked Robert to define the actual capacity he attended a ming industry function in China. 

Because the government has referred the matter to the head of the Public Service, Robert used the “out” clause of “the matter is under investigation, or lack of words to that effect.

By inference, Robert has given the impression he could be guilty, simply because he hasn’t provided an open and full answer.

It’s the age-old wrong PR tack to take: avoid an answer until you’re in the clear … or not. 

All well and good if Robert is hedging his bets but, as I said, he has damaged the government by not being up-front. 

See his answers here:


Toyota’s PR coup

Toyota’s PR people must be patting themselves on the back with the airtime they received on the main Channel 9 bulletin in Perth tonight (and I assume on all its capital city affiliates).

Respected journalist Peter Harvey spruiked the virtues of the latest model of Lexus.
are helped promote a vehicle that is well short on environmental standards.

I take back my remark about being Harvey being respected. This was rubbish from any angle … especially in news value.

Racing’s PR strategy lacks morals

Earlier this week, on Melbourne Cup Day, I noticed Channel 7 interviewing seven-year-olds as part of it’s Cup-day broadcast. The subject: what they were betting on. At the time I commented on another blog of mine, This Aussie Life that it was promoting gambling.

Well, I’m taking it up a notch, because on last night’s Channel 10 news, racing was at it again. This time the station highlighted youngsters’ participation in a fashion parade during the Melbourne Spring Carnival.

It’s obvious that racing is attempting to build a “relationship” with kiddies. After all, they are the future punters who will help keep the $10 billion Australian gambling industry going. What better (seemingly innocent) way that to innocently portray them as fashionistas? Clever PR perhaps, but lacking in morality. Isn’t it absurd enough that a seven-year-old dresses up in suit and tie at a racetrack?

The industry, aided and abetted by sponsor Emirates Airlines, should be held accountable by regulatory authorities. It’s enough that children are assailed daily by advertising for products. But to have them targeted as future gamblers is breaking the laws of moral decency.

Sadly, there’s nothing in the PRIA Code of Ethics that covers this type of operation. The closest is: “Members shall avoid conduct or practices likely to bring discredit upon themselves, the Institute, their employers or clients.” Well, maybe if someone exerts a little pressure, Emirates and Racing will feel somewhat discredited.