Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

Julia Gilllard's sleepover in western Sydney is a case of PR minders asleep at the wheel.

The Gillard sleepover at Rooty Hill RSL has been deemed an epic PR failure and a clear case of her minders not understanding the real world where they are hoping to win votes.

So much so that her Scotsman “spin doctor” is being offered a crash course in “PR, Australian style”.

Coming so soon after the election announcement (with her false promise of days for governing and days for campaigning) this is a stunt that plays Australians for fools – both media and voters – and everyone can see right through it. And this from a PM who insists the campaign hasn’t even started yet.

“Desperate publicity stunts are the worst kind of PR, and the worst kind of image for a PM with credibility issues, trying to get re-elected from a near impossible position,” says Gary Martin, a former journalist who is the publisher of The Little Red Book of PR Wisdom (

“I am going to give a copy of this new book to John McTernan, her PR import from the United Kingdom on a temporary 457 visa, in the hope that he can speed-read it and work his way out of the hole he has dug for his boss. From what I’ve seen, there’s plenty he can pick up on.”


Strangely enough, some stunts may advantage Opposition leaders (driving trucks around) but a PM should only consider a sleepout during the official “CEO Sleepout on the Streets” winter season (while making significant announcements about the homeless) … or at least wait until the real election campaign is underway.

From a PR point of view, this sort of “spin” is just cheap undergraduate stuff, not befitting the Prime Minister. Her minders, and the government, would be far better doing up a single page, media-released “contract” with the Australian people about what’s been achieved and what will clearly happen in the next three years. A way forward, in plain English, something that is overdue in politics. It’s time alright – for The REAL New Deal we can all “get”.

And if they genuinely want a change of fortune, go big picture. Run hard on a plebiscite for a republic in the next term and see where that takes them. Or argue for a referendum on fixed-term Federal elections, like the States have, if Ms Gillard is now so keen on providing the “certainty” that she invoked in calling the poll seven months in advance.

“Don’t go down to street level with cheesy PR stunts, paint a big picture like Paul Keating did, because the countdown is on. Gillard can’t afford these publicity stunts, and she can’t be 50 Shades of Political Grey when it comes to offering something different to the other mob,” Martin said.

“Get real, go hard, go big, or go back to Old Blighty … or this government is Ashes.”

CONTACT: To arrange an interview with Gary Martin, the Deep Line Books publisher, or Brian Johnson, author of The Little Red Book of PR Wisdom, or to order a copy of the book, call 0416-054 531, (02) 8006 5595, or email: [email protected]

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Gary Martin

P: 02 8006 5595
M: 0416 054 531


Camp-out at Rooty Hill




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