On Thursday I blogged on why Australian military officers should not be part of Government media conferences on Asylum Seeker operations.
Yesterday the Immigration Minister Scott Morrison announced changes to these weekly briefings. These foreshadow a much more limited role for the ADF spokesperson, Lieutenant General Angus Campbell.
Did my blogging cause a shift in the new Government's media arrangement? Hardly!!!
My concerns were but one voice in a growing chorus of condemnation and frustration from traditional and online media about the way the new Coalition Government is so tightly managing information on Asylum Seeker matters.
Along with other veterans who now work in PR, I'm pleased the Government has restricted the ADF's media profile. Having said that, the communications strategy behind the "stop the boats" policy still needs a major overhaul.
As much as the Government tries to curb the flow of information by referring to operational security, people interested in the issue will skirt around tight Ministerial policies to get information somehow. They might seek it from from the Indonesian Government and other sources, concerned citizens letting the rest of us know what's happening on Christmas Island, Manus or Nauru, or welfare groups across the country alerting the public to the ongoing plight of refugees. At this stage all seem willing to talk through mainstream and social media.
Government media mangers, no matter how shrewd, cannot contain news of Asylum Seeker issues. The issue is too enormous, contentious and ongoing not to find a way to make it to the surface.
This is a story that won't be stopped, so watch this space for more changes to the Abbott's Government communications management of this issue.