Parker & Partners’ guide to the NSW state election

March 29, 2015 by  
Filed under News

Parker & Partners

2015 NSW state election: personality, demographics and communication

Mike Baird has led the Coalition to a resounding victory in NSW, securing a second term to deliver its agenda.

In the end, the result didn’t match the excitement, speculation and backroom anxiety that arose as a result of the Queensland and Victoria election outcomes, an unpopular Federal Government, and nerves about the NSW Coalition’s privatisation plans. The swing away from the Government was limited to 5.5%* – a result that was on the lower end of NSW Labor’s expectations and will disappoint the party as it fights to rebuild into a credible alternative. However, as Labor leader Luke Foley stated, the party has successfully moved from a “rump in the parliament to a real opposition”.

Where the ALP lost, the Greens won. The party was able to convert votes from consecutive elections into a likely four seats in the Assembly. In a number of seats in the metropolitan areas, including Pittwater, Ku-ring-gai, Willoughby and Manly, the Greens ran second to the Liberals – leaving Labor to run third. More interesting is the Greens’ march into the regions, where they took the seats of Ballina and Lismore off the Nationals amidst a heated debate on Coal Seam Gas.

Legislative Assembly: results in numbers*Coalition – 53 seats (a swing of 5.5% against)ALP – 34 seats (a swing of 8.6% in favour)Greens – 4 seats (no swing)Independents – 2 seats (a swing of 7.7% against)

The movement of ‘tree-changers’ to the regions was simply one of the demographic changes that was realised in yesterday’s results across the state. More high-rise apartments in the inner city, electoral boundary changes, and demographic movements has consolidated a number of seats that will have long term ramifications for electoral strategies in coming elections. This was often combined with solid local members with good public profiles in seats such as Sydney and Coogee to deliver strong results.

By the end of the night, the word ‘mandate’ was one mostly commonly used by parties across the political spectrum. The Baird Government has claimed an electoral mandate to push ahead with its plan to partly privatise its electricity assets, which it ran front and centre, while minor parties vying for the upper house will claim a mandate to defeat the legislation as a result of voters ‘splitting their votes’. It is true that support for privatisation strengthened during throughout the campaign from 1 in 4 to 1 in 3, however there are still large parts of the community who remain opposed.

It will all come down to the upper house. With a primary vote of approximately 45%, the Baird Government is likely to have a smoother negotiation path through the upper house than its previous parliamentary term. Reverend Fred Nile (Christian Democratic Party) is likely to hold the balance of power and has a track record of negotiation. He is opposed to partial privatisation but has indicated that he is willing to open discussions.

Despite a low profile during the campaign, Prime Minister Tony Abbott would have woken up this morning with a smile on this face. NSW remains in Coalition hands, the tranche of state elections are over and there is no Parliament for six weeks meaning that those pesky backbenchers will focus on electorate matters rather than knocking on his door. Ahhh bliss…now where’s my bike.

*Results based at 12.00pm, Sunday, 29 March

What’s to come?

Counting, counting and more counting. While the Baird Government will get to work today on translating its election platform into a legislative agenda, the NSW Election Commission will continue its count for the upper house with a result not anticipated until after the Easter break.

It is expected that Premier-elect Baird will name his Ministry in the coming days with a swearing in ceremony to be held towards the end of the week. With no senior members of the front bench losing their seat, a reshuffle of the ministry seems unlikely, however there are young and upcoming backbenchers who believe it’s time to realise their ministerial ambitions. As with any large majority, half of Baird’s battle will be maintaining this support and keeping it on target.

Priorities for the Baird Government

Partial power privatisation was the centrepiece of the Baird Coalition’s campaign and will be the Government’s highest priority upon the NSW Parliament’s return. The Government will argue that it has a mandate to proceed with the long-term lease of 49 per cent of the state owned electricity ‘poles and wires’. This includes the full lease of the electricity network company, Transgrid, and part lease of power distributors’ Endeavour Energy and Ausgrid, to raise $20 billion for major infrastructure projects. Negotiations with those holding the balance of power in the upper house are likely to begin before the election results are finalised, because, as the Premier memorably said at the start of the campaign, there is “no Plan B”. We will no doubt see sparks fly in the upper house as his ultimatum is put to the test.

Proceeds from leasing ‘poles and wires’ will be spent on the construction and upgrade of major roads and highways including Australia’s biggest urban road project, Sydney’s WestConnex, and the delivery of better public transport  including a second Sydney Harbour rail crossing. These projects will take the majority of the upcoming term to deliver.

Infrastructure is also core to the Baird government’s focus on health with more than $5 billion earmarked to building and upgrading more than 60 hospitals including Westmead Hospital and the Children’s Hospital in Sydney’s west. The Government has also pledged to scrap co-payments for patients receiving treatments through the Highly Specialised Drugs category for conditions such as Alzheimer’s, arthritis, Crohn’s disease, and hepatitis. Health groups across the country are holding their breath as the details of this surprising policy announcement are fleshed out. This is policy NSW has never attempted and questions remain about whether it can, and how it will.

In social policy, the Baird Government will be the first to sign up to the National Disability Insurance Scheme in its new term, which it says will assist more than 140,000 people across the state.

The divisive issue of CSG will continue to cause headaches for the Government after it cancelled a number of CSG licence applications last year, froze some existing licences and is currently buying others back. It’s in the process of developing a new framework to provide a strategic approach to where CSG activity can occur. This has become an increasingly urgent task, given the high profile of the issue in a number of regional electorates.

Electorates we watched

In our pre-election report, we listed five seats that we’d be watching as the litmus test for the general mood across NSW. So let’s see how the seats fared…

Monaro: Labor candidate, Steve Whan took a great risk in moving from the safety of a position in the Legislative Council to try and win this bellwether seat from the Nationals’ rising-star John Barilaro. He fought a great fight and went down with all guns blazing. This was the one electorate where Federal issues dominated state issues. Privatisation was low on the priority list of the community compared to the Abbott Government’s cuts to the Federal public service, which impacted a large swathe of the constituency who travel across the border into Canberra to work each day. Monaro maintains its title as the bellwether seat, and the rising political career of Barilaro continues.

Ballina: A safe National seat since 1988, Ballina was ripe for the picking for the ALP with the retirement of stalwart Don Page. Barrels of pork was directed towards this seat, but in the end, Ballina was decided on the issue of CSG. As the votes began to be counted, it looked like the ALP had succeeded in taking this jewel in the crown, but no one suspected the late charge from the Greens. To the surprise of many, Ballina, along with the nearby and also previously safe National seat of Lismore, has fallen to Greens who campaigned for a permanent ban on CSG coal seam gas.

Goulburn: Strong female candidates at a thousand paces. Minister Pru Goward defended her safe Liberal seat against the challenge of former Federal Senator, Ursula Stephens. Stephens led a 19.5% swing, one of the bigger swings of the night, however the challenge was too large and Goulburn remains safe in the hands of Goward and the Liberal Party.

Northern Tablelands: We never suggested that this would be a close contest, and it certainly wasn’t. Incumbent Nationals’ MP, Adam Marshall, is young, popular, and makes a great effort to ensure that he is approachable and visible in the electorate. His hard work has been reflected as he retains the Northern Tablelands with an enormous majority. With a 2.5% swing, the seat did reflect the general mood of the state and will keep it within the Nationals’ grasp.

Charlestown: In the face of an ICAC investigation that found sitting member, Andrew Cornwall, had illegally accepted donations from developers, Labor was able to easily hold the seat that it won back from the Liberal Party at last year’s bi-election. The Liberals didn’t contest in what was essentially a one-horse race. Today, Charlestown is once again a very, very safe seat for Labor and Jodie Harrison remains at the helm with a strong swing in her favour. Clearly for the voters of Charlestown, it’s a case of ‘once bitten, twice shy.’

The future for the ALP

To the winner come the spoils and to the loser, recriminations. While very few in the party genuinely believed Labor could succeed in wrestling back power in NSW, there was an expectation the party would do better than it did.

Labor leader Luke Foley has safely made the journey to the NSW lower house but he and his party have a long haul ahead of them. Yes, Labor did improve its representation in the lower house but it was coming from a very low base, after hanging on to just 20 seats in the 2012 election. That count is expected to increase to 34 seats but most of the gains were low hanging fruit, such as Rockdale in Sydney’s south, which had been a safe Labor seat for 70 years, fell in the Coalition landslide of 2012 and has now changed hands again. It was a similar story in Sydney’s west and south west where Labor picked up Strathfield, Campbelltown, Londonderry, Granville, Prospect and Macquarie Fields but overall, the gains fell well short of expectations.

In the wash up, much recrimination will focus on the increasing ‘Green’ challenge in inner metropolitan areas with more than one politician last night questioning ‘what does Labor stand for’. In both seats of Balmain and Newton, Labor fielded strong candidates but their policies didn’t get them over the line.

The Opposition has four years to build itself into a credible opposition. Luke Foley is expected to continue as Opposition Leader and will have a wider and talented groups of parliamentarians around him to support. He has shown through the campaign his strengths and will be an Opposition Leader who will tightly scrutinise the Baird Government.

The issue of privatisation will remain the issue which will haunt the party. For more than 15 years, privatisation of the State’s electricity assets has caused division and bitterness. Ironically, Labor who campaigned so strongly against the proposed leasing of the poles and wires is likely to be a much stronger and united force if the Baird Government finally does the deed and ends this debate.


Ogilvy PR Melbourne and Howorth honoured at CommsCon 2015

March 19, 2015 by  
Filed under News

The Mercer team

The Mercer team

The CommsCon awards recognise excellence in the fields of PR and communications. This year, Ogilvy Public Relations was shortlisted for five awards.

Ogilvy PR Melbourne and Howorth were announced the winner of the B2B campaign, Mercer: Expectations vs Reality of Retirement in Australia at last night CommsCon awards for PR and communications professionals.

B2B campaign:  Mercer: Expectations vs Reality of Retirement in Australia. Launching a game changer – Mercer with Ogilvy PR (comprising Howorth and Ogilvy PR Melbourne)

PR-led event or activation of the year:  eBay: Christmas Shoppable Windows – Pulse Communications

PR Leader of the year:  Richard Brett – Pulse Communications

Large PR agency of the year: Pulse Communications

Best use of research / insights:  Kronos: Australia’s Dilemma – Live to work or work to live? – Ogilvy PR

The work was judged over a two-stage process by a panel of around 30 jurors from PR agencies, internal communications leaders and independent consultants.

Read the full list on winners here.

Howorth team 2



MYOB appoints Ogilvy Public Relations as its Australian agency of record

March 4, 2015 by  
Filed under News

MYOB logoOgilvy Public Relations will be responsible for the development and execution of communications strategies to support the continuing growth of MYOB.

The account team has been created drawing on expertise from Ogilvy PR’s business to business, corporate, technology, media and social media specialists.

Caroline Ruddick, GM Group Marketing, MYOB, said: “MYOB is experiencing record growth and recently achieved a milestone of more than half a million regular paying clients, of which more than 116,000 are cloud subscribers. With a suite of exciting products that make business life easier for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, we have a great story to tell. We have enlisted the help of Ogilvy Public Relations to help us tell our story.

“The team impressed us with their ideas, their knowledge and their passion for our business and have already hit the ground running. We are entering an exciting time in our business and look forward to a great partnership with Ogilvy PR to ensure we deliver outstanding results together.”

Working closely with MYOB’s in-house communications team, Ogilvy Public Relation’s remit includes strategy and campaign implementation comprising corporate affairs, business to business and brand communications.

Susan Redden Makatoa, Ogilvy PR’s Group Managing Director – Corporate, said: “MYOB is a fantastic brand and business and we’re thrilled to be working with them. MYOB plays an important role in the Australian SME landscape and is experiencing tremendous growth. They have just announced some impressive growth numbers and we’re looking forward to what promises to be an exciting year.”

Ogilvy PR Australia is a joint venture between WPP and STW Group, Australia’s leading marketing

content and communications group.



Ogilvy PR Australia is the country’s largest PR and public affairs agency with offices in Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne. It is 51% owned by WPP and 49% owned by STW. For more information, visit our website at or follow us on Twitter at @ogilvypraus.


Established in 1991, MYOB is Australia’s leading accounting software provider. It makes life easier for approx. 1.2 million businesses across Australia and New Zealand by simplifying accounting, payroll, tax, CRM, websites, job costing, practice management, inventory and more. MYOB provides ongoing client support via many channels including a network of over 40,000 accountants, bookkeepers and other consultants. It is committed to ongoing innovation, particularly in cloud computing solutions, and spends more than AU$35 million annually on research and development. For more information, visit

For more information please contact:


Sandra Renowden

0403 823 218

Caroline Ruddick


0431 250 860

Ogilvy PR shortlisted for 2015 CommsCon Awards

February 26, 2015 by  
Filed under News

The shortlists have been announced for this year’s CommsCon Awards for PR and communications professionals.

Ogilvy Public Relations has been shortlisted for five awards which include Howorth, Pulse Communications and Ogilvy PR Melbourne.

B2B campaign:  Mercer: Expectations vs Reality of Retirement in Australia. Launching a game changer – Mercer with Ogilvy PR (comprising Howorth and Ogilvy PR Melbourne)

PR-led event or activation of the year:  eBay: Christmas Shoppable Windows – Pulse Communications

PR Leader of the year:  Richard Brett – Pulse Communications

Large PR agency of the year: Pulse Communications

Best use of research / insights:  Kronos: Australia’s Dilemma – Live to work or work to live? – Ogilvy PR

Congratulations to all of the teams and Richard Brett and we wish them the best of luck at the awards dinner on Wednesday 18th March.

You can view the full list of awards here.

Nino Tesoriero joins Ogilvy Public Relations Australia

February 25, 2015 by  
Filed under News

Sydney, February 25, 2015: Ogilvy PR Australia, Australia’s largest public relations and public affairs consultancy, has appointed Nino Tesoriero to the position of Director, Ogilvy Corporate.

Nino brings a wealth of experience to the role, having advised political, corporate and community leaders on strategic communications and issues management for more than 15 years.

He was a trusted adviser to a former Australian Prime Minister and managed media and stakeholder campaigns across the Ministry whilst in the PM’s office. He was also a senior media adviser to a former Deputy Premier of New South Wales.

Prior to joining Ogilvy PR, Nino delivered business critical strategies and campaigns  to CEOs and leadership teams from peak Australian companies, multinational corporations and government departments on crisis management, political engagement, media issues and community projects.

He began his career as a journalist and gained a national profile as a respected workplace relations and senior political reporter with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Nino also has international experience, having directed large-scale education campaigns as a marketing head in the United Kingdom.

Ogilvy PR’s Group Managing Director –  Corporate, Susan Redden Makatoa, said Nino is a welcome senior addition to a growing practice:  “We’re working with complex challenges with multiple stakeholders, so we need smart thinking and excellent implementation capability.

“With his experience and influential contacts across the business, media, education, technology and community sectors, Nino is well placed to deliver excellent counsel and in depth quality thinking for Ogilvy PR’s clients.”

Ogilvy PR Australia is a joint venture between WPP and STW Group, Australia’s leading marketing

content and communications group.


Ogilvy PR Australia is the country’s largest PR and public affairs agency with offices in Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne.  It is 51% owned by WPP and 49% owned by STW.  For more information, visit our website at or follow us on Twitter at @ogilvypraus.

For more information contact:

Rebecca Tilly, STW PR ph: +61 410 501 043



Corporate Affairs Roundtable Lunch – Managing Your Brand

December 18, 2014 by  
Filed under News

L-R Susan Redden Makatoa, Kieran Moore, The Hon. Patricia Forsythe and Peter Taylor

Ogilvy Public Relations again partnered with the Sydney Business Chamber to hear from Carnival’s Vice President of Corporate & Government Affairs, Peter Taylor, as he shared the journey from brand protection to brand promotion as part of the much discussed Corporate Affairs round table series.

More than 40 selected Corporate Affairs leaders and CEO’s joined the lunch, in a week where Sydney was suffering incredible heartache. Peter spoke about his role, the increased demand and repeat customers of the cruise industry, as well as creating a brand where customers and staff ‘feel the love’.

Peter was entertaining, informative, and hit a great balance of personal insight and corporate know-how. He could use real life examples to show how Carnival had benefited from proper brand engagement, and a drive for customer satisfaction.

Ogilvy Public Relations have been long time supporters of the Sydney Business Chamber, and welcome the opportunity to provide the business community with similarly engaging speakers to open the conversation and bring greater focus on the Corporate Affairs function.

The Parker & Partners’ guide to MYEFO 2014

December 16, 2014 by  
Filed under News

It’s hard to argue with the numbers in the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) released by Treasurer Joe Hockey and Minister for Finance Mathius Cormann yesterday afternoon.

  • A deficit of $40.4 billion in 2014-15, over $10 billion more than the $29.8 billion deficit forecast just seven months ago in the Budget.
  • The first surplus not expected until 2019-20.
  • Unemployment to stay at 6.5% for some time, only dropping to 5.75% in 2017-18.
  • Economic growth of 2.5 per cent in 2014-15 and then increase to near trend in 2015-16.
  • Huge falls in commodity prices, which have led to the biggest drop in the terms of trade since records began in 1959, leading to company tax estimates dropping by $2.3 billion in 2014-15 and a further $14.4 billion over the forward estimates.
  • Weaker wage and employment growth will hit income tax receipts by $2.3 billion in 2014-15 and $8.6 billion over the next four years.
  • Delays in the Senate passing Budget measures will cost the budget $10.6 billion over four years.

All up they’re pretty depressing figures – depressing for the economy and, it must be said, for the Government’s chances of being around for a second term, let alone the third term which would enable it to usher in the first projected surplus in 2019-20.

After hanging their electoral appeal on the supposed economic mismanagement of the two previous Labor Governments, the rapid economic deterioration is likely to be worn by the current government. There is no doubt the Treasurer can legitimately point to the unexpected erosion in iron ore prices and other global measures as reasons behind the poor performance but the government’s call for understanding is diminished by the memory of their strident rejection of similar calls by former Treasurer Wayne Swan.

The high unemployment rate – when it hit 6% in February it was the first time since 2003 that it had a number with a 6 in front of it – will prove another hurdle for the Government, especially as it is forecast to continue to remain stubbornly high up to and including the expected time of the next election.

Unemployment causes economic, social and political problems – especially amongst the lower socio-economic groups which are normally disproportionately disadvantaged. It is this group – tagged John Howard’s battlers – which has been responsible for much of the Coalition’s success in recent elections.

As the MYEFO showed, the Treasurer’s problems have been exacerbated by the continued rejection of elements of the May Budget – by both the Senate and the voting public.

The highly unpredictable Senate is a political problem but one gets the feeling that the government has still to come to terms with the reasons behind the electorate’s rejection. History shows that voters will accept harsh Budgets if the measures are explain and the pain is shared. Voters judged this Budget to be unfair.

Key measures

Savings are the order of the day with foreign aid and the public service once again feeling the brunt of the Government’s commitment to return the budget to surplus. Although, the Government resisted the urge to sneakily include measures under the cover of Christmas ignorance as some have done in recent years. The key measures include:

  • $3.7 billion in savings over four years through cuts to the foreign aid budget;
  • $500 in savings over four years through the axing or consolidation of 175 government agencies; and
  • $373 million in savings over four years by increasing the application charge for visas within the Permanent Family Migration stream.

The Government has used MYEFO to signal a shakeup to child care and paid parental leave in 2015. This comes as forecasts to social security payments such as the child care rebate and payment blow out by $2.4 billion over the next four years.

Where to now for the Federal Government…149 sleeps from the Budget

The Government has commenced the journey ahead for the next Federal Budget with meetings of the Expenditure Review Committee (ERC) – chaired by the Prime Minster – well underway to identify spending priorities and importantly key savings on offer across portfolios.

The Government seemed to change its tone today on spending, with the Minister for Finance suggesting that the Government won’t chase “chase down” losses to revenue through cuts to spending.

The Government appears to believe it’s getting its spending back under control. Savings remain the order of the day though and are crucial to Ministers successfully getting any new expenditure through the ERC and Cabinet. With an increasingly bare cupboard of policy cuts that won’t hurt members of the community, the Government’s ears will be open to any savings measures on offer.

In the meantime, the Government will return to the table to negotiate the remaining 25% of budget measures, including significant structural saves, from the 2014-15 budget. Failure to do so will make the job ahead of it even harder.

Australia wins Ogilvy PR Professional Achievement Awards

November 21, 2014 by  
Filed under News

Ogilvy PR Australia received some great news overnight that we won an award at the Ogilvy PR Professional Achievement Awards.

The PAA’s are Ogilvy PR’s worldwide internal awards where we share and celebrate the best work from across the globe.

Ogilvy PR Australia has won Public Affairs category for our entry titled “Ogilvy PR Australia joins up with Microsoft to ignite an innovation movement”.

Microsoft and Ogilvy PR partnered to create a compelling thought leadership program on innovation that would be unique and actionable, to help Australia improve its innovation potential.

First, a position was developed that was based on research and analysis of policy trends of global leaders. This found that whilst Australia generally has the right conditions in place to innovate, it happens in pockets and silos. Joined-Up Innovation (JUI) is Microsoft’s approach to addressing this problem by improving connections within our innovation ecosystem to create a better environment for all Australians to innovate.

The JUI vision was tested by designing and convening a roundtable discussion with hand-picked Australian innovation experts, who also developed a set of recommendations for accelerating innovation in Australia.  The first phase of the Joined-Up innovation campaign was then rolled out internally and externally via a public relations campaign that is still generating conversations today.

This campaign also was awarded a 2014 Gold Asia Pac Sabre Award.

More on Joined-Up Innovation here.

We are continuing to work on the program with launch elements planned across the next 18 months.  A very big congratulations to the Microsoft team on this well-deserved win.


Pulse Communications shortlisted for Campaign Asia-Pacific Agency of the Year Award 2014

November 20, 2014 by  
Filed under News

For 21 years, Campaign Asia-Pacific’s Agency of the Year is Asia-Pacific’s most prestigious awards, recognising inspired leadership, management excellence, outstanding business performance and overall achievements in the region’s advertising and communications industry.

Pulse Communications has been shortlisted for the Australia/New Zealand PR Agency of the Year.

Good luck to the team with the winners announced on the 10th December.

Read the full shortlist here.


Ogilvy PR and Canon in full focus at PRIA State Awards for Excellence

October 31, 2014 by  
Filed under Featured, News

Ogilvy Public Relations and Canon have been acknowledged for some outstanding work by the Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA).

At yesterday’s glittering PRIA NSW State Awards for Excellence ceremony in Sydney, Canon with Ogilvy PR picked up a ‘NSW Highly Commended’ in the Consumer Marketing category for its Canon Shine communications campaign.

“I am so proud of the work done by the Ogilvy Canon team, who all worked tirelessly on this campaign in collaboration with Andrew Giles at Canon. It’s an incredible honour to be acknowledged alongside some truly excellent campaigns,” said Kieran Moore, CEO, Ogilvy PR Australia.

Canon Shine was centred on elevating the power of images to do more in a world that is saturated with meaningless photos.

“It is an honour to be acknowledged by the industry among so many strong campaigns,” said Andrew Giles, head of Communications and PR at Canon. “We recognised from day one the special opportunity that we had with Canon Shine for Public Relations to spark conversation and influence opinion on truly large scale. The team executed with excellence to make it happen, and this is the icing on the cake.”

Read the full list of winners here.

The strength & beauty of women, Lisa Wilkinson



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