PR Report founder Glen Frost looks to launch new industry body catering to lobbyists



Creator of The PR Report, Glen Frost, is looking to launch a membership body catering to lobbyists and government relations professionals, Mumbrella can reveal.

Frost told Mumbrella he would aim to launch a Government Relations Forum on the back of today’s Government Relations Summit, held in Canberra, which has produced a report claiming 70 per cent of practitioners in the space are planning a public affairs advocacy campaign ahead of the looming federal election.

A new membership “forum” catering to the government relations industry would likely compete with public relations industry body the Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA), with Frost saying he hopes the two can “co-exist”.

“There are some elements of what PRIA does that would cover off government relations but I think there is a growing need for a specialist government relations association, given the unique nature of what we do,” Frost told Mumbrella.

Screen Shot 2015-06-18 at 10.53.56 amGovernment Relations Summit has polled more than 200 practitioners in the industry and warned that many clients were preparing campaigns ahead of a potential federal poll.

“A massive 70 per cent of practitioners are planning a campaign for the Federal election,” said Frost. “This will create intense competition for media time space.

“Federal elections overwhelm the media cycle as the media focus is on the election issues, fights and personalities 24×7 and non-related advertising and PR campaigns get ignored – the industry needs to be mindful of this.”

Their report, which is an event created by Frost, also warned Australian ad agencies and public relations professionals that relevant stakeholders should prepare for a Double Dissolution election, potentially as early as this year.

The survey also polled practitioners on the state of the government relations space with more than 45 per cent reporting that their budgets have been cut in the last year. Only 15 per cent said their budgets had increased.

Other findings included that more than 40 per cent of lobbyists reported they had experienced an increase in regulation in the past few years, as the Abbott government and state governments moved to tighten rules around access and disclosure of meetings. Only 18 per cent of lobbyists reported that they had not experienced an increase in regulation with the remainder saying regulation was “about the same”.

On the question of the launch of a new government relations body Frost said: “What we’re trying to do is eventually turn it into a forum. I’m very interested in turning the Summit and the survey into the Government Relations Forum which will be like an industry association for practitioners.”

Asked whether the new forum would compete with industry body PRIA in the government relations space Frost was reluctant to be drawn. “I hope we can coexist,” he said.

“The issue is that public relations is a broad church and there are a large number of government relations practitioners who feel that they are one of many on that congregation.

“The desire among the government relations practitioners is that they would very much like their own association.”

Isabella Lipinski, PRIA ACT President responded to Frost’s remarks by noting: “PRIA has a terrific presence in ACT and we have a Council member speaking at the Government Relations Summit today, with a few also attending the awards dinner this evening.”

PRIA also noted the Government Relations Summit can be counted for PRIA continuing professional development points.

“PRIA has worked closely with special interest groups in both lobbying and government, representing our many government, corporate and consultancy members. During the past year alone, PRIA has made three official policy submissions on lobbying regulations and political donations, building on decades of policy work in this area. PRIA liaises closely with Australian Professional Government Relations Association, and we remain keen to work with other special interest groups in this area,” said Lipinski.

Frost said around 65 practitioners had attended today’s Government Relations Summit event in Canberra.

The move by Frost comes after he last year sold industry newsletter The PR Report to the journalists union, the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance.

Nic Christensen 

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