Massaging the Media: Australia Day and the Emergence of Public Relations

University of Queensland
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Media International Australia incorporating Culture & Policy, 2012, 144 (August), pp. 27 - 36
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The status of Australia Day has long generated mixed responses - from patriotic flag-waving, to apathy, to outright hostility. Proponents of 26 January consequently have engaged in various public relations activities in order to promote Australia Day and to establish its credentials as the national day. From the early nineteenth century through to the present, local media outlets have had a dynamic relationship with Australia Day. Yet while they have been active proponents of Australia Day, their support was not unconditional. The emergence of various bodies with the specific aim of promoting Australia Day would alter this relationship, with the media becoming a potential adversary. As such, media relations assumed a more central function in the promotion of Australia Day. By charting the growth and development of media relations that have accompanied Australia Day celebrations, this study not only documents the evolution of media relations practice, but also reveals the extended history of public relations in Australia and its presence in everyday Australian life.
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