Guess who’s been a naughty boy then?

Despite it being one of the most odious terms of the last century, the headline “Spin doctor silenced’ caught my eye in today’s Sydney Morning Herald.  Apparently the person who looks after social media in the Immigration Department has been ‘silenced’ by the Abbot government.  Apparently he had a combative presence.

If you are working in communications at the top governmental level in this country, how combative do you think you are allowed to be – and get away with it?  I also wonder whether the desire to only “focus on good stories” is just a little bit optimistic given the number of boats heading this way?  Is silence golden when you want to rock the boats?  Ian Mc




6 thoughts on “Guess who’s been a naughty boy then?

  1. If you are representing an organisation, or in this case, the government, first rule of any form of communication is to be professional. Unfortunately not having seen the gentleman in question’s correspondence, I can’t provide an opinion on whether or not I believe he was acting in a professional manner. However, this guy works for the government so there is a second MAJOR rule – if you are working in comms at a top government level, your tone and opinions should reflect those of the Minister and the incumbent Government. If you don’t like rule number 2, find another job. But be warned … your next employer will have the same expectation.

    Having said that, the ‘boat’ issue is a very emotive one. If you think can only focus on good news stories in immigration, you are living in la-la land … Australians aren’t that stupid. If you don’t disclose the whole truth and nothing but the truth, warts and all, I’m sure many millions of others will not only have a say but will voice it very loudly and clearly. Then you will be left with trying to deal with issue after issue after issue. Whatever the story, good or bad, disclose the facts, deal with it and move on.

  2. Its seems the SMH spin doctor is generatomy spin around one of the twirliest Australian government departments – Immigration.

    SD’s at the highest level should not only be combative but explorative and wonderfully challenging. Perhaps within the Immigration Department they could expand the public conversation beyond the boats and include immigration overall (as we know the smallest % of illegal immigrants arrive by boat) and then start linking to the potential that could be tapped into and how we could do a better job of integrating people into our society.

  3. I think it is important to remember that the discussion is about the use of social media and the context or example which was given was to do with the practice by a communications person. The discussion just so happens to have moved into a territory that may not please everyone, but it is still not the actual discussion point. IanMc

  4. Govt. Spin Doctors should stick to the core policy rules when using social media, namely:
    Don’t post or upload content of a partisan political nature.
    Don’t impersonate or falsely claim to represent an organisation.
    Keep your “personal” views to yourself & keep your job!

  5. Sounds pretty simple in theory – but real life tends to get very complicated for some. Still, you would think if you were trying to hold onto your job you would abide by the principles above? I keep thinking there must be another scenario behind all this that made him do it. IMc

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