How to #Newsjack the Federal Budget

by Angus Jones

The Albanese government is handing down its third federal budget tonight. With the national media agenda firmly focused on the outcome, it’s a good opportunity for pro-active profile-raising commentary.

It’s not just ministers and reporters who will be directing the news agenda over the next few days either, there are plenty of opportunities for heads of organisations, business leaders, founders, and CEOs to share their industry views.

Prepare your message

To get heard in all the noise surrounding the budget, journalists will be looking for high profile, new or unusual opinions. Coming in with ‘me too’ or ‘I agree’ probably won’t be enough to cut through. 

Instead, you might want to consider how the key topics covered in the budget relate to your organisation or industry. If certain groups have been left out, it’s a great time to be critical and share another point of view. 

Opportunities abound

Labor has said the primary focus of their budget will be on fighting inflation and the rising cost of living, but that doesn’t mean commentary on other topics won’t be covered. 

From health care and disability support to housing, energy and education, journalists will be looking for different opinions across dozens of other impacted industries.

Not all opinions are destined to run in the big papers, but most media outlets will be covering the budget in some way or another. Radio programs, podcasts, online outlets as well as trade media may reach a smaller audience, but they can often be a very relevant one. 

Nuts and bolts

It’s helpful to understand the way journalists tackle budget coverage. With the budget hand down happening this evening, the big-ticket items will be covered immediately throughout the evening (on the TV news, radio and online media).

Tomorrow’s paper will have more detailed analysis of the main budget winners, with even more unpacking of key points coming out over the coming days. 

By the end of the week the budget won’t be leading the news bulletins anymore, so it’s important to move quickly.

Strategic impact

One organisation we work with, was last year successfully incorporated in the $14.9 million injection to equip businesses with the skills and capabilities to boost and diversify international trade ties, another had launched a major health review, with their campaign culminating in Federal Budget support. 

As part of a multi-billion-dollar housing and homelessness package, the Albanese government has promised an extra $1bn towards crisis accommodation for women and children leaving domestic violence. An addiction treatment centre we are working with, is questioning what money has been set aside for drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs, which can often be a trigger for DV.

$500m has been slated for drought relief funding for farmers. Our client, a meat delivery service direct from farmers, is talking about the impact on the ground for helping farmer’s land become more drought resilient.

For those that may not have landed their funding, it’s OK to criticise the government, just be mindful of long-term organisational goals, as well as possible repercussions. 

Once you land your interviews, think about who your audience is – who you’re speaking to. This will help determine how much detail you should go into or how much industry knowledge they will already have. 

Article contributed by Oryana Angel who s a former newspaper journalist and Founding Director of 

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