Tag Archives: Tony Abbott

Where politicians went wrong in 2016!

What lessons can politicians (or aspiring ones) take from the 2016 Australian election schmozzle? As someone who helps organisations get their message across in the media, I’ve put together 10 points that leaders should take note of. Those wanting any ghost of a chance in 2019  should ignore these points at their peril.
  1. Don’t say something you don’t believe in. Us voters see through it even if your media advisors don’t. Malcolm had to alter his stance on many things to appease the party yet he never believed any of it. Taking responsibility for the dismal campaign performance was his latest piece of rubbish. He knows it wasn’t completely his fault yet is taking the rap. It’s like he’s drugged.
  2. Never look at the camera in a TV interview. Scott Morrpoliticiansfluroison take note. It makes us think you’re lying.  Are you?
  3. Don’t wear a hi-vis fluro vest. Sorry but we’re over it. Why you need to wear a hi-vis vest when you’re in the car park is a mystery to us all. Will cars fall? Take responsibility for your own wardrobe. Don’t listen to the media advisors.
  4. Don’t have lots of people behind you nodding at everything you say. It looks stupid and like something from a Monty Python film. Be strong on your own.nodders
  5. Don’t talk about the economy all the time. It’s boring. As a matter of fact, don’t talk about it at all. Talk about human stuff; stuff like kids education, aging, Aboriginal recognition, jobs for young people and voluntary euthanasia.
  6. Don’t mention immigration. We instantly turn off. DO talk about safe suburbs, the crime rate and the great communities that people from different cultures create. Acknowledge there’s a problem in some areas of the country. Be real about it and know you can’t please everyone all of the time.
  7. Say “I don’t know”. This would be sooooo refreshing. It’s OK to say this as we’ll all then think you’re normal. Are you?
  8. Don’t hang around with other politicians. That’s right – you can’t trust them and their very presence next to you could bring you down. Get a group of besties who are normal people who wear normal clothes (no hi-vis) and actually drive a car. You might like it!
  9. Don’t be perfect. There is a shift to REAL people making REAL mistakes but trying their butts off. Swear occasionally and do the shopping.
  10. Ignore your media advisors and PR people. You can’t trust them coceand they all take too much marching powder. Their world is of big data and big image. Your world is of real people with real human nature who can shift with the wind.  No big data here – just be the mammal you are.

Hopefully these 10 points will help. If you want to ignore them, that’s OK. You’ll just continue to get what you’ve already got.


Phil Dye is an educator at the University of NSW, a media trainer for social causes or not for profit and a social commentator. He has written three books and made more than 300 mistakes.


BREAKING NEWS. Abbott makes George Bush a Saint!

This is a work of fiction. Please don’t email me with factual errors 🙂

These are glory days in Australia. First Tony Abbot awards a Knighthood to old Prince Philip. Phil would have been chuffed for a few minutes – or maybe not. Where is Australia again?

Next, the Socceroos win the Asian Cup. Now I strongly believe this would not have happened if Tony hadn’t done the Knighthood thing. Everyone wants to be knighted now and our boys would like nothing better than a horse, a sword and a good old-fashioned feast.

Now I have it on good authority from my mates in Canberra that Tony is going a step further this week. A big step. A master-plan. In order to take media attention off the Liberals’  drubbing in the Queensland elections, Tony has decided to make George W Bush (the junior one) a Saint. Yes, you heard correctly. St George of Dallas.

George W Bush being told about his Beatification
George W Bush being told about his Beatification

Now some traditionalists may think Beatification is not the role of the Australian Prime Minister and I see their point. Yet for too long this job has been held by those at the top of the Holy Roman Catholic Church and for too long they’ve been sitting on their hands waiting for the next miracle – which to be honest, may be a fair way off.

Always the progressive Catholic, Tony  Abbott has had enough and I can’t blame him. The bestowing of Sainthood should be a job for all folk, not just those in red robes. By Beatifying George W Bush, Tony has taken Sainthood out of the hands of the Cardinals and in his trademark subtle way,  given us all permission to bestow Knight-hoods, Saint-hoods and royal titles to whoever we please. Power to the people! A master-plan indeed. All hail Tony!

For example,  on the weekend I made my good friend and old teaching buddy Mark Smith a Prince.

The Wrap-overs sold millions
The Wrap-overs sold millions

Mark was the inventor of a headset worn by tennis fans attending Maria Sharapova matches. In reality, it was just a set of industrial earmuffs made into the shape of small tennis rackets. He called the headset the ‘Maria Shav-wrap-over and sold millions to those tired of her grunting and wanting to save their hearing. I also gave him 16,000 hectares of prime land at Jervis Bay. Well done Prince Mark. All rise.

On a roll, I then bestowed the title ‘Earl of the Garter’ on the famous Japanese inventor Yoshika Naramatsu for his invention of the ‘Toilet Roll Hat (pictured).

Toilet Roll Hat - Brilliant!
Toilet Roll Hat – Brilliant!

This simple invention has revolutionized treatment of the common cold. Well done Yoshika Naramatsu – Earl of the Garter. All rise.

We should all now follow in Tony’s footsteps and award those we admire the awards they deserve. We need not know them and indeed they could be dead. They may even be fictional. They may not even be human. They could even be a politician. I’m seriously thinking of Beatifying  both Tim Cahill and Cadel Evans. They’ve done more to unify this country than any member of parliament.

In a couple of years, we’ll all be asked to think hard and bestow the award of ‘Prime Minister’ once again. Let’s hope we think a little harder this time.



Behind Abbott and Gillard: a job for us all

At the fresh young age of 55, I’ve finally decided what I want to do when I grow up. Now this revelation didn’t stem from a career counselor and it didn’t take a psychometric test to work out. I just know I’d be good at it. The understanding came from watching TV, and specifically the Australian election interviews on the nightly news.

Over the past year, I’ve been more and more aware that when a prominent person…let’s call them the ‘talent’, is interviewed on an issue of national importance, there’s often a gaggle of serious-looking types standing behind them and nodding whenever the ‘talent’ says something definite. I don’t know what this profession is called; yet for the sake of this article I’ll call them ‘Nodders’.

Now what attracts me to this profession is that it’s obviously well paid and has a definite purpose. It must be well paid because they are all dressed fairly nicely. Mind you, they may be naked from the waste down as I only ever see the top half.

The purpose of the profession is clear. The professional Nodder is there to give support to the ‘talent’ and stop any other scallywag trying to get into the frame behind them to make bunny ears or silly faces. Their mere physical presence ensures no would-be TV star (or ‘Chaser’ personality) ruins the interview. Simple.

The professional Nodder must also ensure they don’t in some way dominate the image and detract from the talent. This is very important. People with big noses for example, or those with facial scarring shouldn’t apply. Nor should people who are overly attractive.

They must be disciplined enough not to look straight into the camera, but fix on a spot just behind the talent’s earlobe. This denotes serious interest and full concentration, ensuring they don’t disastrously nod in the wrong places. Thankfully new workplace practice makes it simple to sack an inattentive Nodder.

Yet the Nodder’s role is more complex than that. There’s an area of study called Neuro-Linguistic Programming that basically looks at certain persuasion techniques and how to maximise their effectiveness. One technique, and one we’ve all subconsciously used at some time in our lives, is to nod positively when our desired option is being discussed, and shake our heads in disagreement when any other option is being considered. It’s like a sales person nodding positively when we try on a new suit or dress. The positive affirmations give us good feelings towards the clothes, especially when we are sitting on the fence and unsure of our decision.

The same theory works with the professional Nodder. If we are a little undecided about a point say, Tony Abbott is making, the enthusiasm of the professional Nodder may well tip us over the edge! And why stop at one Nodder when you can have a team? A few days ago the same Tony Abbott was interviewed with seven, yes, seven Nodders all bobbing in agreement with some very valid points that he was making. I didn’t think they were valid at the time, but with so many well-dressed folks behind him in agreement, I changed my mind.

Most political aspirants have enlisted the help of Nodders. Julia Gillard had five in an interview last week and even Bob Brown from the Greens had one. Joe Hockey can’t seem to find any, so I’m going to apply to him first.

As we gear up to elections on both a state and federal front, be prepared to see the professional Nodder more and more on our TV screens. I’m getting a team together now. Interested?