You are on page 1of 10

Ministerial Briefing Notes Harmony Day 2013

Assignment 1: Background Brief COMM 2067 Tutor: Rebecca Somerfield Tutorial: Wednesday, 10.40am 12.00pm, MC1-01 By Simone Ball Student ID: 110064655 Submission Date: 3rd April, 2013 Word Count: 1107 (excluding appendices)

COMM 2067 - Assignment 1: Background Brief By Simone Ball ID: 110064655

Introduction Local Events Potential Media Potential Issues and Resolutions Bibliography Appendix 1: Questions and Answers Appendix 2: Media Release Appendix 3: Radio Experience Analysis Page 3 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 9 Page 10


COMM 2067 - Assignment 1: Background Brief By Simone Ball ID: 110064655

Harmony Day is an initiative started by the Federal Government, and managed by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship. Harmony Day is a national day of cultural recognition, celebrated annually on March 21. The theme for Harmony Day 2013 is Many Stories, One Australia, and the underlying message of the day is that regardless of cultural background, every individual has the right to belong in Australia. Its focus is on interaction, reflection, empathy and respect across all of the many different cultures that make up Australia.

Local Events:
There are a range of major and minor events occurring around the country in celebration of Harmony Day. In South Australia specifically, many local councils are running community events, such as the following two. Renmark Paringa Council Documentary Screening Date: 21st March, 2013 Background: Involves a free screening of a documentary called the 11Eleven Project a short film about what people from over 170 countries were doing on the 11th of November, 2011. The film uses various mediums including film, photography, music and text. The council is also organising a multicultural supper for the wider community after the screening. City of Marion Culture Exhibition Date: 21st March, 2013 Background: The City of Marion is running an event at the Living Kaurna Cultural Centre called Many Cultures, One Earth. The event will incorporate entertainment, market stalls, art, cultural activities and cultural food and beverages as well as plenty of activities for families. Entry is free and the event is open to everyone.


COMM 2067 - Assignment 1: Background Brief By Simone Ball ID: 110064655

Potential Media:
The media focus for Harmony Day will be on radio stations, specifically talkback radio with a more local focus. Talkback allows people to engage more with the subject matter, which is crucial given the current negatively-skewed media coverage on immigration, visas, asylum seekers and general cultural acceptance in Australia. Radio allows for the opportunity to be questioned about such issues and give a strong, concise and correct response. Station: Program: Host: Explanation: ABC 891 Mornings 9am to 11am Ian Henschke ABC 891 Mornings has a history of focusing on current affairs both in Australia and around the world, with a focus on current news and political events. The program also has a strong emphasis on local news, with much of their program contributed to by members of the wider Adelaide community, including well-populated country areas. The opinionated, news-based program is a great platform for the minister to launch both Harmony Day as a whole, and to focus on Harmony Day in Australia. It is also virtually guaranteed that host Ian Henschke will question the governments current immigration policies allowing an opportunity to clarify some of the medias comments in relation to the issues of visas and seeking asylum. FIVEaa Adelaide News Hour on FIVEaa 7pm to 8pm Andrew Reimer FIVEaa is one of Adelaides most popular radio stations, and the news hour is a program perfectly suited to the purposes of Harmony Day publicity. The show has a strong focus on politics in all levels of government, as well as a great background in community interest stories. The program, which is also open to talkback callers, would be ideal to both address current media stories around immigration and cultural acceptance, while still promoting the events and general agenda of Harmony Day. Mix 102.3 Adelaide Adelaides Fun Breakfast with Jodie, Mark and Snowy Jodie Oddy, Mark Aiston and Jason Snowy Carter As the current leading breakfast program on radio in Adelaide, with 15.5% of listeners tuning in as per Nielsens first radio listening poll of 2013 (Nielsen, 2013), Mix 102.3 allows for an opportunity to introduce the concept of Harmony Day to a wide audience in South Australia. With strong audiences numbers in the 25 39 and 40 54 age brackets, there is a potential to reach many families and professionals two key publics that the Harmony Day message is trying to reach. This program is far less likely to address the related political issues in detail, which means the interview can remain very positive and focus on the events and advantages of Harmony Day.

Station: Program: Host: Explanation:

Station: Program: Host: Explanation:


COMM 2067 - Assignment 1: Background Brief By Simone Ball ID: 110064655

Potential Issues and Resolutions:

The Asylum Seeker Debate Background: The Asylum Seeker Debate is a consistent headline story for major media outlets around Australia. The Federal Labor Governments decision to return to offshore processing for boat people arriving on Australian shores in August of 2012 has met opposition from many different groups questions are being asked about the humanity of the use of and conditions in detention centres, both onshore and offshore. The latest media focus is on the notion that despite the reintroduction of offshore processing being hailed as the solution to the high numbers of boats arriving in Australia, the numbers of boat arrivals continues to soar, and many social commentators and human rights organisations are calling for further discussion of solutions. Recommended Response: Currently, the governments position is that offshore processing is one piece of the puzzle that is border protection. As of April 2013, the Government has committed to working with the Indonesian government and other member countries of the anti-smuggling organisation known as the Bali Process to continue the fight against people smuggling. It is important to focus responses to any questions about the validity of detention back to what detention centres are designed for at their core the ability to maintain the integrity of migration in Australia, and ensure that people arriving to Australia are properly assessed and granted the correct and required visas. 457 Visas Background: In recent weeks and months, there has been a renewed media and community focus on the use of 457 visas in Australia, and the abuse of these visas in some cases, to the detriment of Australian citizens and workers. 457 visas are designed to be temporary visas that encourage skilled workers to be sponsored by Australian businesses in order to fill gaps within a businesss skill requirements. Despite the strict regulations on 457 visas, there has been a large increase in the permits given over past three years, and recently cases have come to light where people have outstayed their visa, which has caused the media to pay further attention to the issues. Recommended Response: The government are currently working on tightening the legislation related to the 457 scheme, including a crackdown on workers who have overstayed their visa, and a renewed focus on ensuring that businesses follow the defined rules of sponsoring individual 457 visas. Emphasis needs to remain on the fact that 457 visas are not contributing to Australian unemployment levels as they are specific to high-level trained skills, and are a necessity in the current industrial climate.


COMM 2067 - Assignment 1: Background Brief By Simone Ball ID: 110064655

ABC 891 Adelaide, 2013; Mornings, accessed 27 March 2013. <> Margaret Gees Media Guide, 2013; FIVEaa Adelaide, accessed 27 March 2013. <> FiveAA Adelaide, 2013; Andrew Reimer, accessed 27 March 2013. <> Commercial Radio Australia Ltd, 2013; Nielsen Poll Survey 1, 2013, accessed 3 March 2013. <> Department of Immigration and Citizenship, 2013; Managing Australias Borders, accessed 3 April 2013. <> Bali Process, 2013; About the Bali Process, accessed 3 April 2013 <> Hazara Asylum Seekers, 2013; Australia seeks new regional partners to help process asylum seekers, accessed 3 April 2013. <> Amnesty International, 2012; Our campaign for refugees and asylum seekers, accessed 26 March 2013. <> Power, P, 2013; Its time to rock the boat on offshore processing, accessed 3 April 2013. <> Hugo, G, 2013; Explainer: 457 Visas in Australia, accessed 3 April 2013. <> Tingle, L, 2013; Parliamentary fight looms over 457 visas, accessed 3 April 2013. < YwM> Harmony Day, 2013; About Harmony Day, accessed 6 March 2013, <> Harmony Day, 2013; Harmony Day Events, accessed 6 March 2013, <>


COMM 2067 - Assignment 1: Background Brief By Simone Ball ID: 110064655

Appendix 1: Questions and Answers for Radio Interview:

What is Harmony Day? Harmony Day is a national day of cultural recognition, celebrated annually on March 21. The theme for Harmony Day 2013 is Many Stories, One Australia, and the underlying message of the day is that regardless of background, everyone has the right to belong in Australia. Why is Harmony Day recognised? It allows Australians to educate and be educated on the many important issues surrounding multiculturalism and acceptance in Australia. Its about recognition, interaction, reflection, empathy, respect and responsibility, and appreciating that culture is constantly growing and changing. How is it celebrated around Australia? Harmony Day is mainly celebrated through events especially at schools, organisations and community centres around the nation. Celebrations of multiculturalism through food, art and music are the most common given the opportunities for interaction provided by those mediums. People also register their events on the Harmony Day website, if youre looking to get involved in something in your local area the site is Is the Harmony Day message focused to any particular group? There is a focus on education in younger generations of Australia but, of course, anyone is welcome to get involved. The educational opportunities provided by an event like Harmony Day are really just an added bonus. There are a lot of corporate supporters of Harmony Day what activities are they undertaking to support the initiative? Many sporting associations, including the AFL, NRL, the Football Federation of Australia, Netball Australia, Cricket Australia and the Australian Sports Commission are proud supporters of Harmony Day, and regularly using their standing as governors of sport to encourage multiculturalism from the grassroots levels of sport right up to the elite. Organisations such as Guides Australia and Scouts Australia are also proud partners of the Harmony Day initiative, and many Guide and Scout groups around Australia do work in their community to encourage a culturally diverse and inclusive society. What activities have parliamentarians been doing to support Harmony Day? Parliamentarians have always been rather good at getting involved in Harmony Day because its such a good message at its foundation. This year, and in the two years prior to this, the annual Pollies versus Professionals soccer match was held outside Parliament House with various politicians and SBS football personalities taking each other on in a friendly match to celebrate Harmony Day.


COMM 2067 - Assignment 1: Background Brief By Simone Ball ID: 110064655 Whats happening in the local South Australian area for Harmony Day? There are loads of events in schools and organisations around the state, including several fantastic events at local community centres for example, the City of Marion are setting up a festival of sorts within the Cultural Centre, including stalls, roving entertainment and plenty of opportunity to expand cultural awareness. Also, in regional South Australia, the Renmark Paringa council are screening a documentary involving participants from 179 different countries called the 11Eleven Project. How do people get involved? Create an event within a community, register it online, or even taking some time within your day to reflect on the positives of life in a multicultural society the possibilities are endless. In relation to the message of Harmony Day, of acceptance and multiculturalism, there has been a recent media focus on Australias recent issues with 457 visas do you believe the two can be connected? The issues of multiculturalism and the occasional case of immigration fraud are, in my mind, completely separate there is a difference between celebrating the wonderful collection of cultures that make up Australia, and the issues surrounding a minimal amount of 457 visas on the whole, the scheme has worked incredibly well, and the government is currently working on legislation to reaffirm the laws surrounding the issue and management of 457 visas from the perspectives of both individuals and businesses. Once again, parliamentary focus remains on the arrival of illegal boats to Australian shores, with much of Question Time in Parliament being dominated by the asylum seeker debate, and Labors policy of offshore processing do you believe that Harmony Day is being overshadowed by this issue? Labors decision to pursue offshore processing as a valid and safe form of asylum seeker management is a separate issue that yes, still garners much attention and it will continue to do so in the lead up to the Federal Election, along with many points of contention between the two major parties. It is important to remember that the use of offshore processing is ultimately about discouraging people smuggling and protecting Australias borders, and we are working in many different avenues to achieve both of those objectives. Harmony Day will not be overshadowed because its a separate idea, one that deserves to be celebrated by the nation.


COMM 2067 - Assignment 1: Background Brief By Simone Ball ID: 110064655

Appendix 2: Media Release


MARCH 14, 2013

Harmony Day 2013 kicks off with events around the country
The Department of Immigration and Citizenship, and the Australian Federal Government have today announced some of the community events being held around the nation to celebrate Harmony Day 2013. Held annually on March 21, this years Harmony Day celebrations are following the theme of Many Stories, One Australia, and its aim is to encourage Australians of all ages and backgrounds to share stories of their differences in order to encourage widespread cultural understanding and respect. Labor Government Senator and Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Senator Kate Lundy, calls the initiative a crucial day in the Australias community calendar. Its a day in which we can truly allow ourselves to explore what it is that makes Australia so fantastic the melting pot of nationalities and histories that create incredible and unique communities across Australia Ms Lundy said at todays parliamentary launch. This years focus on stories and sharing sets a renewed focus on education and understanding in Australias younger generations, with many of the currently registered events being held at schools and child care centres around the nation. It is heartening to see the way in which schools around the nation continue to embrace the Harmony Day initiative Said Ms Lundy. Peter Garrett, Minister for Education, has also praised the initiatives educative aims, saying today that cultural diversity is something that deserves consistent educational recognition, and this is just one government initiative that encourages further culture-based learning. There are many community events available around the nation as well, held by local councils, churches and community groups alike. Some of the many ideas being implemented for the day market stalls, multicultural dining experiences, artistic displays and even sporting events are all being organised around the country as a part of the celebrations. For further information about the initiative, or to find a local event to get involved in, head to Contact Details: Press Contact: Simone Ball Phone: 13 18 81


COMM 2067 - Assignment 1: Background Brief By Simone Ball ID: 110064655

Appendix 3: Radio Experience Analysis

The chance to be in the radio studio on campus at Magill and be subjected to questions on a topic was not something I had been involved in previously, at any level. I found the experience to be enjoyable and interesting a great insight into what may be expected of a spokesperson for a department or organisation, and how important it is for a PR practitioner to know about how radio works. As someone with an interest in pursuing government-focused public relations, I also found it really useful to be questioned and put on the spot, especially in relation to current affairs and issues this really allowed me to see another aspect of politics and help me to understand it further. As for my personal performance in the radio exercise, I was comfortable with my overall interview. I did stumble a few times, especially when it came to unexpected, more specific questions than those I had written, but I felt that overall I handled it well and I enjoyed the experience immensely.

10 | P a g e