6 April, 2021

To regulate or not to regulate …

Two incidents from last month illustrate how complicated government regulation can be. The first was an Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) report on the comments made by NT Cattlemen’s Association’s outgoing president, Mr. Christ Nott. In what was a grim warning […]
2 March, 2021

And the winner is…

A great challenge for a professional officer is to make writing as clear as possible. It’s not just a practical need; for government, it’s a duty to communicate effectively with the public. Today, we publish the result of research that […]
2 March, 2021

Blackwhite – March 2021

  We know that we harp on about it, but … The former president of the United States is not a decent or trustworthy man. A sensible person would hear what he says or read what he writes and believe […]
3 February, 2021

Blackwhite – February 2021

For this edition, we couldn’t quite decide which one of the following deserved the top spot for blackwhite!   1. Recently, Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China, delivered a passionate speech at the World Economic Forum. The […]
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 […]
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 […]
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