10 January 2008

Supermarkets' stance a load of rubbish

I don’t intend any pun, but I’ve just heard the greatest load of rubbish relating to the use of plastic bags at supermarkets.

The federal government says it wants plastic shopping bags banned. The response from The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is that consumers will be the ones who pay if that happens.

It’s not clear from that stance what the ARA means. Do they mean pay (for an alternative carrying method) or pay (in terms of inconvenience).

By my logic, prices should fall because supermarkets won’t be buying the cursed things.

There’s sure to be a bit more argy-bargy on this issue in the coming weeks. But, let’s get on with doing away with plastic.

Whatever did we do before them anyway?

This blog also appears at http://www.prlab.com.au

09 January 2008

Holden stretches credibility

Australian car manufacturer GHM stretched its credibility somewhat when it announced the third recall of its Commodore model – 86,000 of them, in fact.

The V6 vehicles are being recalled due to a potential fuel leak.

Company spokesman Ian Butler said it wasn't unusual for a vehicle to be recalled three times.


This blog also appears at http://www.prlab.com.au

06 January 2008

Whale hunt response lame

You really have to wonder just what the government is playing at with its supposed response to the Japanese whale hunt in the Antarctic.

The plan seemed positive. To monitor and put pressure on the Japanese. They had a vessel on standby in Fremantle for weeks. But nothing happened … until yesterday. The ship left its berth, bound for … the Garden Island navy base, just 20 or so kilometres away.

Greenpeace reckons by the time the ship gets to the Antarctic the whales will have been slaughtered.

The government’s PR response was pathetic. Three ministers (yes, three) issued a joint statement, which said there was plenty of time to conduct the operation.

Greens senator Rachel Siewert said it was just “hollow rhetoric”. Couldn’t have put it better. Hollow rhetoric is even better than just rhetoric (which these days is generally is taken to mean spin).

Let’s hope this federal lot don’t follow the path of their NSW Labor colleagues, who mostly do nothing about anything.

This blog also appears at http://www.prlab.com.au

03 January 2008

Words in my mouth

A local AM radio station interviewed me the other day. The 6PR afternoon drive-time host wanted comment on the new Labor government's missive on telling certain agencies that all media material had to be cleared through the relevant minister's office.

What the shock jock wanted me (being an 'expert') to say was that nothing had changed from the previous Liberal government. Cripes, Labor's only been in power a few weeks and already the media's beating it up.

All I could do was to continually reinforce my key message (developed quickly after his introductory comments and first question) that "it was early days and you had to give the government the benefit of the doubt".

I doubt whether this chap was really listening. He had his agenda, and I really didn't. After all, I was just there to comment.

For me, this interview was a prime example of the media trying to influence opinion, when it should be striving for balanced coverage. How blissfully naive of me - a former daily newspaper journalist.

Yes, it asked for an independent person to provide comment, but it becomes hard when the interviewer just doesn't want to see the other point of view (or even a neutral one). It's not entertaining radio.

All up, it was a pretty amateurish interview (not helped by the cliché of 'spin' as an analogy linked to the first cricket Test, which was being played between Australia and India).

I didn't hear the interview, as I don't listen to talkback radio. One of my surf club mates said he referred to me as Dr Greg Smith, from Curtin University. Well, he got the university wrong, which just proved my point about the amateurism. It was my last interview on 6PR.

About Me

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The PR Lab is a consultancy, specialising on research, reputation management, social media, media relations and the development of measurable strategies that produce results. It is run by Dr Greg Smith, a former journalist and PR professional. Greg worked on daily newspapers in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth. He held senior PR positions in the Australian Defence Force, Sydney Olympics and national not-for-profits. He has also lectured in PR at Edith Cowan University and the University of Notre Dame Australia.