Opinion

The lessons for unions from Obama’s 2012 campaign

I had the great fortune to work for the Obama for America campaign for two and a half months in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. I believe there are many elements of his campaign that unions could learn from. Of course, the organising model that Obama adopted was based on Marshall Ganz and Saul Alinsky. Nevertheless,…

Retention is key

Working as I currently do at a non-profit organisation as a development and marketing manager (and being on the boards of community organisations), I am struck by the strong parallels between the challenges faced by the NGO sector and by unions. One of my responsibilities is fundraising, achieved principally through philanthropic grants and individual donors….

Asylum seeker debate in 2012

At my first meeting with Department officials as Minister for Immigration, I asked who was detained at the immigration detention centre on Nauru and at what stage were their claims for asylum. I was told there were eight Burmese and 81 Sri Lankans there. Virtually all of this group had already been assessed as refugees…

Plain packaging just a bump for Big Tobacco

Another remarkable achievement can be added to the many of this Commonwealth Labor Government: the successful introduction of plain packaging for cigarettes. This is an important first step, and shows that Australia leads the world on reducing the terrible harm that tobacco products do to people and communities. However, let’s be under no illusions that…

Unions and the Age of Big Data

Big Data is all the rage at the moment. Leaders in every sector — business, government, non-profit, and unions — need to start thinking about the challenges of how to manage and constructively use all the data that their operations captures. According to IBM, Every day, we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data — so…

How to make your message stick [infographic]

Back in March 2011, I wrote a short book review for Made to Stick, by Dan and Chip Heath. The book was about effective communication — how to get your ideas to break through the white-noise that surrounds most us through over-saturation of advertising messages. The book included a lot of stories (case studies) of…