Showing posts with label local government. Show all posts
Showing posts with label local government. Show all posts

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Queensland Leaders Earn Praise For Flood Communications

This past week has been a torrid time for Australians particularly Queenslanders.  

While Queenslanders lived through devastating floods that covered an area the size of several European nations, the rest of the country sat transfixed by the unfolding tragedy. The floods completely stopped and then dominated the national conversation. And they are likely to be the key topic of conversation into the coming months.

Last week's events were both tragic and historic.  One aspect worth noting has been the quality of local leadership. Here in Canberra I could only witness the unfolding events, but it seemed that local Queensland leaders  did what their communities expected of them - they led.  They were supported by all the communications technology of the modern era, 24 hours news rooms, people reporting through Facebook, Twitter and other digital channels and extensive radio and newspaper coverage.  But we should not forget that their own personal communications in this crisis were good. 

Top marks must go to Queensland Premier Anna Bligh. For  weeks she and her team have had to face the flood crisis first in regional Queensland and then as it affected Brisbane.  She communicated with a mix of authority, technical detail and compassion. In numerous media appearances she impressed as knowing what she was talking about while being warm and down to earth. Her communications ranged from essential information about surviving the floods to the inspirational calls on future rebuilding.  Her tearful line about don't forget we are Queenslanders is likely to merge into State if not national folklore. 

Local mayors in affected towns and cities also communicated effectively.  They spoke with authority, genuine concern for the communities they lead and and every so often with a dash of that Aussie humour that can lift spirits in tough times. 

And really how refreshing all this was.   In  an age of public cynicism about politics, there were local politicians talking plain, in sync with their communities and obviously trying their very best in calamitous circumstances. 

Recent history such as the aftermath of the Victorian and Canberra bushfires shows that today's heroes can easily become tomorrow's villains.  In the coming months critics will pour over every shortcoming and failing before and during the flood crisis and in the reconstruction phase.  Of course there will be many things that could have been done better and indeed should have been done better.  

But let's remember when the pressure was intense and lives were in the balance, many of the people who will be criticised in the future, stood up, communicated well and provided leadership.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Local Government and Social Media

Today I presented at the Local Government Web Network Conference in Sydney on using new digital media platforms in government communications.

Here are some links you might find interesting:

If you are having troubling convincing your elected council officials to try social media, ask them to listen to this podcast of Donna Papacosta interviewing Rob Burton, the 63 year old Mayor of the Canadian city of Oakville.

In this interview Mayor Rob discusses using Twitter, blogs and Facebook to communicate his municipal duties. This is well worth a listen.

Cheers and good luck to all my colleagues in Local Government.