2015-16 Federal Budget – From a glass half empty to a glass half full

May 12, 2015 by  
Filed under News

Parker & Partners

12 May 2015

It’s often said that a week is a long time in politics. Multiply that by 52 and it may help to explain the seismic shift between last year’s critical and austere Budget and tonight’s Budget, which is being celebrated by the Government as responsible, fair and saddled with incentives to stimulate growth.

With a raft of sweeteners, the Government hopes to reset its credibility rating with the Australian public. The previous language of “crisis of debt and deficit” has gone, even though the deficit is now projected to increase from $29.8 billion to $35.1 billion in the next financial year. As it currently stands, Australia will need to wait until 2018-19 to see the budget return to surplus.

Far from grim, the Treasurer has labelled this the “have a go budget” as the Government sets out an agenda to stimulate spending and show a greater compassion and fairness, particularly to those who feel they who were unfairly targeted last time around.

The big winners tonight are Australia’s small businesses who will receive a very generous package of tax sweeteners totalling $5.5 billion – the biggest spending package announced in the Budget. A tax cut of 1.5 per cent for small business owners, a tax discount of 5 per cent for small, unincorporated businesses and an immediate 100 per cent deduction for new equipment purchases worth up to $20,000 has wowed the small business sector and is expected to positively drive employment and boost economic activity.

Welfare reforms remain front and centre, including the much-discussed child care reforms. The new scheme will see an extra $3.5 billion spent on a means-tested payment system, which will see families earning $65,000 or less receiving 85 per cent of their fees subsidised. For families earning $170,000 or more, that subsidy will reduce to 50 per cent. Don’t go running out to Centrelink tomorrow; full access to the new Child Care Subsidy won’t come into effect until 2017.

The Government has reversed its hard-line and hugely unpopular position on welfare, announcing tonight that young unemployed people will no longer have to wait six months for the dole, instead the wait will be just four weeks for people under 25. While the measure will cost the government $1.8 billion and contradicts last year’s ‘lifters versus leaners’ theme, it will win back vital points for care and compassion – and members of the cross benchers.

To spend a dollar in the health portfolio, it seems you need to find one. That’s the key message from this year’s Budget, which lacked the big bang as a result of the Government holding back the expected savings measures on pharmaceuticals. While the measures may not get the electorate talking like last year’s introduction of a GP co-payment, and gain little media attention, the cuts are harsh and will be felt by those across the health sector. Rationalising and streamlining are once again the words of the moment.

Overall, the Government has gone to extraordinary lengths to make this Budget a vote winner. Government spending will be more than $430 billion in the next year on government services, sitting at 26.3 per cent of GDP. This is believed to be the largest spend by percentage in 20 years.

With this big spend strategy, the Government has ensured the Senate has fewer excuses to block the key measures as it did with last year’s Budget. But the dramatic reversal in the Government’s position still has the potential to leave voters confused and wary still after so many ‘backflips’ on core policies.

Furthermore, it will fuel speculation the Government has prepared this Budget full of sweeteners for a potential early election later this year. If the Senate continues to block the Government’s program – including the higher education reforms, which are already factored into the 2015 Budget papers – the Government might just have the trigger to go to the polls earlier than expected.

Headline Budget Measures

1. Big tax breaks for small businesses – A reduction in the tax rate (30 per cent to 28.5 per cent) for businesses with an annual turnover of under $2 million, 5 per cent tax cut for unincorporated businesses, immediate tax deductions for all assets under $20,000 and the streamlining of registration for all businesses.

2. Tougher test for the aged pension – Reducing the threshold for assets (excluding the family home) to claim a part pension and faster withdrawal once threshold is exceeded ($2.4 billion in savings over five years)

3. Beefing up national security – New funding for intelligence measures, IT capabilities and assistance to the telecommunications industry to implement metadata retention ($1.2 billion over five years).

4. Simplifying child care – Boosting access to child care through the replacing of current benefits with a single benefit based on family income ($3.5 million over five years).

5. Tackling multinational tax avoidance – Introduction of new targeted anti-avoidance law aimed at multinationals that artificially avoid having a taxable presence in Australia (no figures provided).

During 2015-16:

Deficit – $35.1 billion

GDP – 2.75 per cent

Unemployment – 6.5 per cent

Pulse appoints new Director

April 13, 2015 by  
Filed under News

Jacqui AbbottSydney, April 13, 2015: Pulse Communications has announced the appointment of Jacqui Abbott as Director. Jacqui brings 12 years of PR and social media experience and arrives from Virgin Australia, where she was senior public affairs manager.

Jacqui’s role at Virgin Australia saw her oversee consumer and corporate public relations activities, internal communications and headed up the airline’s social media division. Prior to joining Virgin Australia, Jacqui held the position of corporate affairs manager at Optus, Australia’s second largest telecommunications provider. She also previously held senior client management positions at Hausmann Communications in Australia, and Shine Communications and Ketchum in the UK. Jacqui is leading key client accounts including Netflix.

The appointment complements the existing leadership team of Amanda Shannahan Moore, Brian Giesen, Rachel Byrne and Fred Chesher in supporting Richard Brett (Group Managing Director) as the agency continues to implement its new vision and strategic direction; Brave Ideas that Make Brands Famous.

This direction is built on three core values; Bold Insights, Brave Ideas and Brilliant Impact. Armed with this new vision, the team at Pulse has won a raft of new clients in the last year, including eBay, Netflix, Havaianas and Conga Foods.

Pulse’s Managing Director, Richard Brett, said: “2014 was an incredibly successful year for Pulse. We saw significant growth and a doubling of staff numbers, and with the addition of Jacqui to our senior leadership team, we believe that the agency is in a very strong place to continue to grow into 2015.”

Pulse Communications is part of Ogilvy PR Australia, a joint venture between WPP and STW, Australasia’s leading marketing content and communications group.


About Ogilvy Public Relations:

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 http://www.ogilvypr.com.au or follow us on Twitter at @ogilvypraus.

About Pulse Communications:
Pulse Communications delivers creative brand communications campaigns centred around a simple philosophy: Bold Ideas that Make Brands Famous. It’s a vision based on three core values – bold insight, brave ideas and brilliant impact. With 50 highly passionate people in Sydney and Melbourne, the agency works to deliver outstanding results for clients including Ford, Microsoft, Coca Cola, Netflix, eBay, Havaianas, Mars, Activision, Conga Foods, Nestle and Kimberley Clark.

The agency’s unique approach to strategy, content and measurement, together with a people-centric culture, ensures Pulse delivers award-winning campaigns, brought to life by the best people in the industry.

Recently the agency has been shortlisted or won the following: Shortlisted CommsCon Agency of the Year 2015, Shortlisted CommsCon PR-Led Activation 2015, Named Best Product STW Dashboard Awards 2015P, Shortlisted Campaign’s Agency of the Year 2014, Shortlisted MCV Agency of the Year 2014, Shortlisted CommsCon Event Activation of the Year 2014.

For more information, visit our website at www.pulsecom.com.au, take a look at our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter.

For more information contact:

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

Ogilvy PR Australia Appoints Head of Digital

April 8, 2015 by  
Filed under News

Craig Page squareSydney, April 8, 2015: Ogilvy PR Australia, Australia’s largest public relations and public affairs consultancy, has appointed Craig Page to the newly created position of Head of Digital. He joins from Havas Worldwide, Sydney, where he was Digital Strategy Director.

Bringing traditional, creative, digital and social experience to the new role, Page has an enviable track record integrating social, digital and technology to form the heart of communication campaigns.

He has worked for world-class creative agencies both in Australia and overseas including M&C Saatchi (Sydney and London) supporting brands including Optus, SONY, EBay and Virgin Mobile, and as in-house leading Digital Strategy with Foxtel.

Ogilvy PR’s Chief Executive Officer, Kieran Moore said the appointment of a Head of Digital reflected the investment the agency is making to digital, social and content.

“We’re thrilled to have someone of Craig’s calibre spearhead our established team of digital experts,” she said.  “We are responding to briefs that require fully-integrated, digital business thinking; Craig is central to our strategy to deliver this.

“Craig has top notch skills in creative, strategy and execution which we know will immediately add value to our business, and his broad category experience is a fantastic fit with our existing client partnerships. His progressive approach to innovation aligns perfectly with our future business plans.”

Page said the decision to take his diverse skills to Ogilvy PR was made after seeing the integrated work the agency has been producing.

“Ogilvy PR is an outstanding agency with highly talented digital experts, producing brilliant, integrated campaigns. The chance to join this team and help develop increasingly powerful, next-level work was a prospect I couldn’t refuse,” he said.

Moore continued: “With almost 20 people now dedicated to social, and a dedicated content team, the creation of this new role means that the agency will be able to offer more integrated digital, social and content response to briefs.”

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 http://www.ogilvypr.com.au or follow us on Twitter at @ogilvypraus.

For more information contact: Rebecca Tilly, STW PR, Ph: +61 410 501 043

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 http://www.ogilvypr.com.au 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 www.myob.com.au.

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 http://www.ogilvypr.com.au 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.

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