One of the jobs of the public affairs team is to coordinate the AVA’s response to other peoples’ agendas that make it into the public debate. This might be some high profile media story, something important happening in a parliament (like new legislation), or some growing threat or discussion in the public domain that may directly affect the veterinary profession.
The last two weeks has been full of all these types of issues and more!
Naturally, the big media story nationally is the Four Corners coverage of live baiting in greyhound racing, and that has been high on our agenda. Here are just a few of the other issues we’ve also been working on in the last two weeks.
- Higher education reforms that are back on the Senate agenda
- Clarifying some media coverage in relation to our position on live export
- Absorbing a new federal animal protection bill and seeking member feedback
- Monitoring and responding to social media criticism of the AVA’s approach to the Hendra vaccine
- Notifying members of credit card fraud
Managing an issue basically amounts to monitoring large amounts of information, consulting with lots of people, keeping SIG committees, the Board and members informed (and happy), and coordinating decision-making about what the AVA should do next. This doesn’t sound all that tricky, but in reality bears a remarkable resemblance to herding cats. In a thunderstorm. While giving a lecture on sixteenth century polyphony!
In my seven years at the AVA, it has often happened that our big issues come in a bunch and keep us running and thinking fast for a period of time. Everything else goes on hold while we monitor mainstream and social media, listen to members, communicate with members, write speaking points, issue media releases and talk a lot on the phone. One of the things that really helps us is to know what our members are thinking, so thank you to all those who email, call, post on our discussion forums and comment in our various social media channels. We can’t represent you if we don’t know what you think!
National Public Affairs Manager
Source: The Australian Veterinary Association