Government and governance | Australia, Asia, East Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, The Pacific, The World

16 November 2020

On this Democracy Sausage, we discuss how policymakers get their messages right (and so badly wrong) with government media and communications experts Fiona Benson and Jannette Cotterell, plus pod regular Marija Taflaga.

How can governments build public trust at a time when following public health directions is literally a matter of life and death? With COVID-19 vaccinations showing promising signs, how can governments convince citizens that it’s safe and beneficial in the midst of a vocal anti-vaccine movement? And how has the changing media and social media landscape impacted the way governments communicate with their constituents? On this special episode of Democracy Sausage presented as part of the GovComms Festival, we discuss the dark art of government communications with former ministerial press secretary Fiona Benson, government relations consultant Jannette Cotterell, and regular podleague Dr Marija Taflaga. Listen here:

Jannette Cotterell is a Managing Director of Executive Counsel Australia, a government relations and media consultancy. Prior to entering strategic communications and lobbying, she was a television producer with the Nine network, BBC Television in London, and Seven Network in Australia.

Fiona Benson is founder of FJ Partners Strategic Advisory. She is a former press secretary to two federal cabinet ministers, and specialises in devising innovative stakeholder engagement, media, and communications strategies.

Marija Taflaga is Director of ANU Centre for the Study of Australian Politics and a lecturer in the ANU School of Politics and International Relations. Her major research is on political parties and particularly the Liberal Party of Australia.

Martyn Pearce is a presenter for Policy Forum Pod and the Editor of Policy Forum.

Policy Forum Pod is available on AcastApple PodcastsSpotifyStitcherSubscribe on Android or wherever you get your podcasts. We’d love to hear your feedback for this podcast series! Send in your questions, comments, or suggestions for future episodes to You can also Tweet us @APPSPolicyForum or join us on the Facebook group.

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