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  • Nov, 2010

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    History to be made in Adelaide on November 24

        Ark Tribe - construction worker

    I’m going to Adelaide next week and I’m excited.

    Obviously I take some satisfaction in being the first person to ever write that sentence, but I’ll take more if things go our way on November 24.

    (Sorry, Adelaide. I understand how it feels to be the lazy gag writer’s best friend. I’m from Canberra.)

    The South Australian capital will be the focus of the nation’s attention on Wednesday, because it is where we will finally find out whether the Australian Building and Construction Commission can put an ordinary worker in jail for sticking up for safety.

    In 2008, the excellently named Ark Tribe, a construction worker, raised serious safety concerns with his employer on a site in Adelaide.

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  • Nov, 2010

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    Digital strategy for a Better State

    The initial Better State site ( was built in October 2009 on a drupal platform.

    We found that the site was too complex for people to take action, find content and created high barriers for revisitation and engagement.

    We had a community of people who were linked to one or two services and were interested in how the umbrella campaign was running, but also wanted specific news and events from their delegates, union leaders and activists. They wanted to know about the service area they were involved with, not necessarily updates from all arms of the campaign.

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  • Nov, 2010

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    Better State – campaigning in a climate of certainty

    You would have to completely disregard the polls, history and any semblance of common sense to predict a Labor victory in the March 2011 NSW election.

    Although there’s no such thing as a sure bet in Australian politics, a NSW Coalition government in 2011 is about as close as you’re likely to get. (The bookies have Labor at $6.25 to win next year. You won’t find those sort of odds in any 2011 NRL fixture.)

    This climate of certainty makes a traditional approach to election time campaigning impossible.

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  • Sep, 2010

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    Welcome to the #politicotragicmedia wankersphere. How can we help?

    US Ambassador Jeffrey Bleich was first up, and with him his security detail – two clean-cut, serious, suited dudes scanning the room during Bleich’s presentation on the Obama presidential campaign’s pioneering use of social media.

    The dudes didn’t have much to worry about with this crowd, the only real and present dangers being excessively snarky tweets or a tussle over an ipad charger.

    The Media 140 ‘Oz Politics’ conference at Old Parliament House last week brought together Twitter commentators, activists, journalists, academics and politicians, collectively known as the #politicotragicmediawankersphere.

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  • Jul, 2010

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    The Punch: Even with a strong economy, jobs are a top concern

    First published on The Punch 20/7/2010

    With the major parties flexing their muscles on border protection, the Australian public has sent Canberra a message that it is the protection of Australian jobs that is the real security issue for them.

    In what looms as the sleeper issue for the 2010 election campaign, a quarter of all voters placed “Australian jobs and the protection of local industries” as key election issue, behind only economic management and health.

    As the latest Essential Report shows that economic protectionism towers over headline-grabbing issues like climate change, asylum seekers, housing affordability, industrial laws and population growth as a priority election issue.

    Q. Which are the three most important issues in deciding how you would vote at a Federal election?

    Essential Report

    Essential Report

    What is striking about the high rating for protecting Australian industries is that it comes at a time of relatively low unemployment and a period where there has been little or no media attention on Australian jobs being sent offshore.

    Instead the issue is emerging from the grass roots, the thousands of Australians in manufacturing industries – and a growing number of workers in white-collar industries like the banking sector – who see their jobs under threat from lower wage economies.

    And while our leaders can crow about “turning back the boats”, 25 years of economic deregulation makes it very hard to turn back the corporate people smugglers.

    It is an issue where the Liberal Party, with its knee jerk support for big business, pledges to cut government spending and reductions to the size of the public sector is struggling to gain any traction.  While it leads on issues like managing the economy and asylum seekers, when it comes to Australian jobs, people trust the ALP to the tune of 42 per cent to 28 per cent. Comments »

  • Jun, 2010

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    Essential: the polling slide that evicted Rudd from the Lodge

    First Published on Crikey Thursday 24th June

    Essential Reports polls taken over the last 2 years show how Kevin Rudd’s approval ratings have declined since he almost unprecedented figures he achieved following his election through to early last year. Up to March last year approval hovered around the high 60% level into the low 70%.  Is net approval (i.e. approve minus disapprove) was around the mid 40% level.

    Throughout 2009 and early 2010 his approval went into steady decline but still remained in positive territory. At the end of March he recorded 53% approval and 36% disapproval. However, the most dramatic shift occurred in April and May when his approval first entered negative territory with 41% approve and 47% disapprove. The decline appeared to be accelerating.

    Some of the reasons for this sudden decline can be found in how the personal perceptions of Kevin Rudd changed from 2009 to May this year.  His attribute ratings showed significant falls in the percentage of people who considered him to be a capable leader (72% to 55%), good in a crisis (60%-44%) and trustworthy (51%-41%). Meanwhile his ratings for “out of touch with ordinary people” increased from 41% to 55%. It indicates a significant loss of confidence in his performance as Prime Minister.

    Last week’s Essential Report showed only weak support for Kevin Rudd to lead the Labor Party to the next election – 40% thought the Labor Party would have better chance of winning the election if they changed leader and 37% thought Kevin Rudd was the best person to lead the labor Party. Even among Labor voters only 66% supported Kevin Rudd as leader and 23% though they should change. Comments »

  • Jun, 2010

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    Buckets of Gold and Fifty Paces

    The last time a determined interest group took on a federal government, EMC was behind the wheel – driving the ACTU Rights at Work campaign.

    This time the attack is coming from the mining industry, and if reports are to be believed, the miners are forking out in three months $100 million – about four times the three year budget for the Rights at Work campaign.

    Having worked on a campaign that most agree shifted government, it’s worth asking – is the Miners campaign as effective? Are the winning the hearts and minds of the battlers? In short, are they going to change the government?

    Here are few lessons we learned from Rights at Work, and my initial reactions on how the mining lobby is faring. Comments »

  • Jun, 2010

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    Political Ads are All About Turnaround

    When the Australian Workers Union decided to inject itself into the national debate on the resource Rent Tax, they called EMC with a challenging brief.

    With a 48 hour turn around we were asked to script produce and deliver a 30 second TV ad that would rebut the increasingly shrill complaints of the mining lobby.

    Working with Milko Productions, EMC adapted a concept we had been working on for some time – the notion that the mining industry is defined by what it takes out of Australia. Comments »