Blog

3 February, 2021

Policy, misinformation and damned lies

When it comes to COVID-19 the Australian Academy of Science said the willingness of individual Australians to follow public health directions, and of governments to listen to experts and allow science to guide policy has created a pandemic success story. […]
3 February, 2021

Do the basics brilliantly

Last month Agora spoke to Peter Morris, one of Ethos CRS lead facilitators, ahead of the workshop The essentials of project management. Drawing on his decades-long experience of working in the public sector and the Australian Army, he shed light […]
25 January, 2021

You can eat an apple but not an Apple

When important messages were carved on stone, no one knew – or cared – about capital letters. All letters were what we now call capital letters. Lower case letters developed later and the effect was to give a distinct meaning. […]
2 December, 2020

When you write, make every word count

There’s an old rule of public speaking: ‘Make sure you stop talking before your audience stops listening.’ Same with writing. You have your readers’ attention for only a limited time. You need to make your point before they tune out. […]
1 December, 2020

Nine or 9? The answer may shock you.

Despite being one of the more straightforward changes, the new Australian Government Style Manual’s advice on numerals proved one of the most controversial. The manual suggests using numerals for 2 and above, leaving one and zero holding on to their […]
1 December, 2020

All I want for 2021 is …

If we’ve learnt anything in 2020, it’s this: Facts matter. If we ignore facts, then we invite serious trouble. Proper procedures matter. If we ignore proper process, then we impose tangible costs on the community. Integrity matters. If we abandon […]
1 December, 2020

You are not Marco Polo

All organisations develop their own dialect – a verbal or linguistic shorthand that is readily understood. The problem comes when words or phrases are overused and we lose precision and accuracy in what we say. In December 2020, we present […]
1 December, 2020

Our top tips for 2020

If 2020 has taught us anything it’s that we need to communicate well during a crisis. So here are tips from the United States Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, which we published back in May. These are still the […]
1 December, 2020

Transfer of power in a democracy

In a democracy, with great power comes great responsibility. And sometimes, a bare minimum display of decorum is all what we ask for … Over the years where each passing president has shared their thoughts and wisdom with their successors. […]
1 December, 2020

In 2020, some people inspired us

The truth is 2020 has been a pretty average year. So we’d like to recognise those who’ve done amazing work and made Australia a better place. One First place goes to the people of Victoria. Stoic, resilient and courageous in […]
1 December, 2020

Blackwhite – December

The Government of China is displeased with Australia for 14 specific reasons. We reprint these as an example of incoherent government-speak. Sometimes, however hard you try, black just cannot appear as white. Apparently Australia has erred by: banning Huawei 5G […]
1 December, 2020

This is Julia …

In one of our workshops, ‘Working effectively at APS 3–4’, a participant was reflecting on what integrity means in the modern public service. Inspiration came from our senior facilitator, Dr Julia Cornwell McKean, who was running this workshop. The things […]
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