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Budget: a public relations case study

The 2015-16 Federal Budget is due to be handed down on Tuesday, 12 May 2015. The media and public scrutiny of measures released on Budget night is intense. It is perhaps one of the most hotly anticipated and closely watched events on the political calendar aside from an election.

Messaging used by all sides of politics, the media and public and private organisations will play a key role in how the Budget is perceived by the Australian people. This makes it a great case study of what businesses can do well, and what can go horribly wrong, when announcing significant changes - especially tough changes which may impact on clients and customers.

Therefore, Talkforce Media will be watching from 7.30 pm on Tuesday evening, how the Budget is handled by all the key players and we recommend you tune in to. Following an event like the Budget can help you understand how word choice, tone, body language and commitment to keeping in the public eye, can influence an audience's reaction to key messages.

Last year the Treasurer delivered a Budget speech designed to generate support for a Budget that would help deliver a surplus, but not without some individual pain. His speech included the following opening statement:

"Our future depends on what we as a nation do today.

For our children, for our seniors, for individuals, for families, for our disabled and for our frail, for all of us, the Government's solemn duty is to build a stronger Australia.

This Budget will help build a more prosperous nation.

Every generation before us has contributed to the quality of life that we enjoy today.

Prosperity isn't a matter of luck.

Prosperity is not a gift. It needs to be earned.

So now it is our turn to contribute.

Now it is our turn to build."

While these words would have likely struck a chord with the Budget night audience, other messaging proved more effective in coming days. This messaging focused on the fairness of the Budget and how it would impact on groups and individuals in the community.

So be glued to your television, radio, newspapers and social media channels on Tuesday and the days following and assess the messages delivered with a view to what you can learn - both good and bad - to either use or avoid next time you have to deliver a public statement.

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