The public relations industry is crying out for a “clear ruling majority with clear policy directions” from the federal election and wants Australia to become the clever country again through a commitment to research.
A “functioning majority government” is needed to provide economic stability to allow businesses to invest in communication, according to the Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA).
Grant Titmus, principal of the Red Agency Melbourne, agrees and says there have been too many compromises over the past three years.
“If the pundits are correct the Abbott-led coalition will win but whichever party wins, let's hope it is with a decent majority so it can stick to its plans without having them watered down,” Titmus said.
Terri-Helen Gaynor, national president PRIA, told B&T a commitment to encouraging innovation is also an election must.
“We invented the first feature length film, the wine cask, the black box flight recorders, the bionic ear etc but our inventors are often forced offshore through lack of support,” she said.
“Let’s stop the piecemeal approach to research and development and have the policies and funding that makes us the clever country once again.”
Ogilvy Public Relation’s chief executive Kieran Moore believes the election campaign needs to elevate the national debate and not reduce it to the lowest common denominator.
“I love a soudbite, but it’s no substitute for leadership.”
Moore is also calling for strong childcare and paid parental leave policies, due to the number of women working in PR this would help the industry attract and retain talent.
We asked communication experts from different PR agencies this question: ‘What are your top business priorities around the coming election?’ This is what they had to say:
Nic Jarvis, director of corporate and public affairs, Edelman
“Like most of our clients the main priority is to get the election over and done with for a good long while!
The political climate of the last few years has created an environment of uncertainty and it will be great to wake up on September 8 with a decisive result, one way or the other. It would be a brave PM to pick an election date so far in advance again!
The health of the economy is a key priority as it generates jobs, retail spending and consumer confidence, things that aren’t necessarily abundant at the moment. With the mining boom receding, Australia needs to think a lot smarter about where future growth is coming from. It also needs to acknowledge the changing nature of the workforce, from people wanting to work more than one job to supporting the work-life balance and encouraging people to have families and to spend time with them.
And from a practical point of view, with the ever-increasing impact of digital on all aspects of our work as an agency, we need the best broadband network possible! Malcolm, are you listening?”
Terri-Helen Gaynor, national president, PRIA
“A clear ruling majority with clear policy directions and the talent to implement them: Australia needs a functioning majority government that provides confidence to business to invest in business development, including the ability to communicate with the business community. This confidence is also a must if we as a profession are to invest in jobs. Regardless of the communication space that we work in, we are linked to business success, economic growth, economic stability, etc. Without this, business confidence will continue to decline. While communication professionals will always be required to assist business to communicate with their stakeholders, a booming economy makes it easier for business to invest in communication.
A stable economy that champions innovation: No matter who wins the election this is a must. A National Centre for Innovation should be set up where business leaders including our best communicators – PR, Marketing, Digital and Advertising can think outside the box – we invented the first feature length film, the wine cask, the black box flight recorders the bionic ear etc. but our inventors are often forced offshore through lack of support. Let’s stop the piecemeal approach to research and development and have the policies and funding that makes us the clever country once again.
NBN: Neither party has focused enough so far on the importance of the future of the NBN. Faster, affordable and accessible high speed broadband is vital for Australia’s economic future, we will be left behind if it is not implemented. Our businesses will we be affected if we are not able to access the infinite possibilities it represents and soon.”
Kieran Moore, CEO, Ogilvy Public Relations Australia
“As Australia’s largest full service public relations agency, Ogilvy is exposed to nearly every aspect of the economy and the community, from pharmaceuticals to FMCG, from manufacturing to financial services, and from ICT to NGOs. We’re almost always engaged to deliver a communications solution to a business challenge and so we’re acutely aware the way the current economic environment creates both opportunities and challenges for our clients. To that end the first priority of our clients and the agency is a continuation of the economic growth Australia has enjoyed for the last two decades.
At an individual policy level, we have to continue the rollout of the NBN, which will create the next wave of businesses and enterprises and enhance connectivity in ways we can’t yet even dream of. It’s simply a no-brainer from a communications industry perspective.
And as an industry that’s highly feminised, great paid parental leave and childcare policies will underpin our continued ability to attract the best talent. Finally, it would be fantastic if this campaign actually elevated the national debate, rather than reduced it to the lowest common denominator. I love a soundbite, but it’s no substitute for leadership.”
Grant Titmus, principal, Red Agency Melbourne
“Our top business priority is to ensure we do great work for our clients so they remain competitive and profitable. On the political front – one of the fundamentals of our political system is that it works so much better when one party has a majority. I think there has been far too many compromises over the past three years. If the pundits are correct the Abbott-led coalition will win but whichever party wins, let's hope it is with a decent majority so it can stick to its plans without having them watered down.
One of the biggest issues past the election will be to maintain our extremely low jobless rate. We read a lot about lay-offs, redundancies and more and more companies off-shoring. This will no doubt continue as companies look for cost savings to stay competitive. It is therefore imperative to have policies that continue to help companies grow and thus employ people whether it is propping up the ailing car industry or reducing company tax rates. A majority government will put confidence back into the markets and into business, so we know where we stand and can make better longer term decisions.
Another key is to invest in major infrastructure projects – whether it is roads, hospitals or schools. There is a lot in the pipeline but more needs to be done.”