Also onboard: ad man Geoff Denman who worked with the late Neil Lawrence, the famed communications guru behind the Kevin 07 campaign.

The push will be launched by an alliance of the biggest players in the sector, including BaptistCare, Anglicare, Aged & Community Services Australia and the Aged Care Guild.

Leading Age Services Australia chief executive Sean Rooney wouldn’t be drawn on campaign plans, but did tell CBD that the royal commission and COVID-19 showed there was a “disconnect” between community expectations and the current system. “The industry is exploring how best to get that message across to parliamentarians from both sides of politics for the benefit of current and future older Australians.” Minister, consider that a shot across the bow.

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton waits on the sidelines as Premier Daniel Andrews (out of shot) addresses a press conference last week.Credit:Joe Armao

Brett Sutton needs you

You’ve hung off his every word at press conferences, monitored his beard growth, checked out when he rocked a Michael Hutchence look aged 22 while on a gap year in Zanzibar and you might have even bought the bedspread printed with motifs of our Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton. Now, CBD is delighted to announce, you can go and work for the CHOttie himself.

Yes, Sutton needs another media adviser to join his team. And judging by specs on the job ad, Hoban Recruitment, which is handling the appointment process, is likely to be deluged with interest. The gig was only advertised on Monday and applications close on Wednesday.

Brett Sutton in Zanzibar in 1991.

The successful applicant is expected to liaise with the office of Health Minister Jenny Mikakos. Yes, every job has its downside.

The role is only for three months, on a contract/temp gig, and an up-to-date knowledge of COVID-19 is essential.

And the job is paid hourly, up to $100 per hour, plus superannuation.

The advertisement states: “Do not miss this rare and extraordinary role.” Given Sutton’s cult-like status, it seems to be a job ad claim that, for once, is pretty close to the truth.

PR pivot scrap

It seemed like a good idea at the time. With the Melbourne PR industry on its knees, agency Romano Beck, run by Melbourne public relations queen Judy Romano and Gareth Beck decided to pivot to education, offering a 12-week “back to basics” course via RBU Education, designed to give practical knowledge to PR university graduates. Oh, and it costs $1495.

Romano is something of a legend, helping to create Flemington Racecourse’s famous birdcage enclosure. The agency also has a lot tied up in events such as the Melbourne Cup and Australian Open, which don’t look like being golden PR opportunities this time around.

But, in what could be considered a bad PR move, the course is attracting criticism from the PR industry itself.

Dr Katharina Wolf, an associate professor of PR at Curtin University in Perth and chair of the national education committee at the PR Institute of Australia, told CBD that topics such as engaging influencers, using social media and organising events were best learnt on the job.

“You don’t need to go to university for that. It’s basically preying on student insecurities,” she told CBD.

Romano and Beck said RBU Education was launched amid heavy COVID-related job losses and would give students a competitive edge.

“The content was developed by Romano Beck with knowledge acquired from a 40-year combined career and quickly launched to keep our people employed and to help others gain employment.”

Markson storm

Agent Max Markson.Credit:Illustration: John Shakespeare

Celebrity agent Max Markson has been caught out by his own publicity storm, copping a $26,640 fine from the health regulator for spruiking a “quantum physics” based medical device that allegedly stops COVID-19 dead in its tracks.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) issued the fine to the celebrity agent’s company Markson Sparks for the alleged unlawful advertising of the medical device.

“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the TGA is determined to stamp out advertising which makes unlawful claims about the cure or prevention of COVID-19,” said John Skerritt, the deputy secretary of the federal Department of Health.

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“Advertising targeting vulnerable groups, including seniors, is of particular concern to the TGA during these challenging times.”

The Age recently revealed the TGA was investigating Markson’s latest money making venture.

“There’s an expression that if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s probably a duck. If you read what coronavirus is all about, [this device] does all the things that something would need to do to fix the coronavirus,” Markson told this masthead last week.

Markson told CBD on Tuesday his company and client Bionicair.com.au were “totally innocent of the alleged charges” and he pointed out that the device is registered with the TGA as a safe medical device.

He also said he wasn’t aware of the fine until contacted by CBD.

Markson’s $1995 medical device sounds like a bargain compared to the $14,990 Biocharger that got celebrity chef Pete Evans pinged by the TGA for $25,000 in April.

“There’s a massive market for conspiracy theories and serious money, even if only one per cent of people believe them,” Markson told the Daily Mail this week about Evans’ rebel appeal.

No kidding.

Samantha Hutchinson is away.

Trump Biden 2020

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Stephen Brook is CBD columnist for The Age. He is a former features editor and media editor at The Australian, where he wrote the Media Diary column and hosted the Behind The Media podcast. He spent six years in London working for The Guardian.

Colin Kruger is a business reporter. He joined the Sydney Morning Herald in 1999 as its technology editor. Other roles have included the Herald’s deputy business editor and online business editor.

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