AGL welcomes everyone…

Australian energy company AGL invites everyone…to suffer.

AGL is Australia’s biggest polluter but has also won awards for diversity inclusion, indicating that it welcomes everyone to suffer from the effects of climate change.

The company was recently awarded Gold Employer status for LGBTQ+ inclusion at the AWEI Awards, while simultaneously earning the title of Australia’s biggest domestic contributor to climate change by Greenpeace. Greenpeace argues that AGL emitted 42.2 million tonnes of carbon emissions in 2019-2020. Greenpeace data confirms that the energy company creates,

“…24.6% of electricity sector emissions and 8% of Australia’s total emissions, which primarily comes from the coal burned at the energy giant’s three coal-burning power stations: Liddell, Bayswater, and Loy Yang A. AGL’s own data confirms that 85% of energy generated by the gentailer comes from burning coal.”

At the same time, AGL boasts publicly that:

“This is the third year we have been awarded Gold Employer status, and the fifth year that we have participated in the AWEI. Our employee-driven LGBTQ+ network, AGL Shine, was created in 2014. The network focuses on providing a safe and inclusive environment for all our employees – while also advocating internally and externally for gender inclusion beyond the heteronormative binary.”

Creating a safe space for LGBTQIA+ people in encouraging, but let’s not beat around the bush. How hard is it to be inclusive in 2022?

Encouraging diversity essentially means treating everyone equally.

How hard is that?

Even if AGL does genuinely support LGBTQIA+ people in the workplace, what exactly does this entail?

It involves affirming the Darlington Statement which articulates the human rights demands of people with intersex variations. A statement written by someone else.

Does it involve paying a diversity trainer or consultant to conduct training sessions on diversity with employees, or hosting social days to celebrate diversity?

Does it involve allowing all staff to choose their own pronouns, and updating HR documents, or posting the rainbow motif on all social media platforms?

It might even include sponsoring a float in Mardi Gras, targeted employment or other active steps. They might even make a difference to the lives of employees.

Remember, however, that government schools throughout Australia are just as inclusive as AGL, but they don’t win awards. They also do so with a fraction of the money available to AGL. They do it with underpaid, overworked, undervalued teachers.

Did AGL win an award because it operates within the resource sector, and is the resource sector full of bigots?

Either way, winning an award for diversity inclusion does not change the fact that AGL is still Australia’s biggest polluter. It does not change the fact that:

Lesbians will suffer from climate change

Gay people will suffer from climate change

Bisexual people will suffer from climate change

Trans people will suffer from climate change

Queer people will suffer from climate change

Intersexed people will suffer from climate change

Asexual people will suffer from climate change

That’s not all.

Males will suffer from climate change

Females will suffer from climate change

Men will suffer from climate change

Women will suffer from climate change

Non binary people will suffer from climate change

Gender neutral/Androgynous people will suffer from climate change

Gender fluid people will suffer from climate change

Agender people will suffer from climate change

Cisgender people will suffer from climate change

Demigender people will suffer from climate change

Gender questioning people will suffer from climate change

Genderqueer people will suffer from climate change

Intergender people will suffer from climate change

Multi-gender, bigender and trigender people will suffer from climate change

Pangender will suffer from climate change

Bois, Tomboys will suffer from climate change

Butch/masc people will suffer from climate change

Femme people will suffer from climate change

Gender noncomforming will suffer from climate change

To the LGBTQIA+ community, don’t be fooled by AGL’s slick marketing campaign. You will suffer the effects of climate change.

To the LGBTQIA+ community, don’t let AGL exploit you to distract Australians from their climate destruction.

Owning the rainbow.

When you see a rainbow, what do you think of?

Rain and sunshine. Refraction of light. A pot of gold or the full spectrum of colour?

Or do you think of the LGBTQI+ community?

Many people throughout the world probably think of the LGBTQI+ community, and this is the genius of owning the rainbow. The LGBTQI+ community has appropriated this great and beloved natural wonder as its own symbol to express everything that their community represents.

The rainbow permeated the successful social media campaign which eventually legalised same-sex marriage in Australia. The campaign asked the public to do everything from contacting their local politician, to wearing rainbow coloured laces for a day, to hanging a rainbow flag out their window to show support for the cause. The campaign worked, and it was successful it could almost be taught to future activists as an example of how to harness social media for a social cause – and it was all underwritten by the rainbow motif.

How did this happen?

US artist Gilbert Baker popularised the rainbow flag as a symbol for the gay community as far back as 1978. The San Francisco artist was apparently urged to create a symbol of gay pride by Harvey Milk, one of the first openly gay elected officials in the United States.

The different colours in the rainbow flag are associated with diversity and all have distinct meanings for people within the LGBTQI+ community. While the flag itself may have evolved since 1978, it is still a famous symbol of the LGBTQI+ community and a was a stroke of marketing genius on behalf of Baker.

Interestingly, the rainbow flag was also utilised to unite people during the Reformation, as far back as 1525. It was also suggested as a symbol of the Armenian Republic movement, the Cooperative movement, the Peace movement, Indigenous rights in the Andes, Basque nationalism, Jewish Autonomous Oblast and the Patriots of Russia political party. But how many people throughout the world would associate the rainbow flag with any of these movements? And how many of those people would automatically think of the LGBTQI+ movement?

It is a stroke of marketing genius. So much so that every time many people see a rainbow, they will consciously or subconsciously associate it with the LGBTQI+ community, just as people associate a yellow M with a certain fast-food restaurant. Better still, rainbows cost nothing and are thus free advertising.

Every time a local council paints a rainbow on a public staircase, people will think LGBTQI+

Every time a local council flies rainbow flags, people will think LGBTQI+

Every time the sun shines after rain, people will think LGBTQI+

Image: Mateus Campos Felipe

Direct Marketing.

Why is there a clown on a bus?

The clown is working. Earning his daily bread. Putting food on the table. He is a mobile busker of sorts. He is taking his product straight to his audience. Advertisers would call it direct marketing, and the passengers on the bus are a captive audience.

The clown performed his 3 piece set for the passengers before we set off for our intended destination, and asked for ‘propinas’, or tips, in return for the few moments of entertainment. He livened up a very boring and monotonous aspect of travel and distracted his audience from the chaotic, smelly, noisy and ugly bus terminal in which they sat.

The clown is just one of the many salespeople who ply their trade on inter-city buses throughout Latin America in an attempt to earn a living in a region in which employment is precarious.

Comida y bebidas

Salespeople will board buses at terminals and offer their products or services to passengers who can choose to make a small payment. Some people will sell staples such as food and drink at a standard price and will rush up and down the crowded aisles trying to entice every passenger in to making a purchase before scurrying on to the next bus and the next one.

Some vendors might stay on the bus. Their sales require more time. They might be said to invest more with their audience. Thus, they will remain on the bus as it pulls out of the terminal and continue their journey until the bus stops at the pick up point on the outskirts of town. At this point, they will thank the driver, alight, and connect with another bus heading back to the terminal and attempt to market their products directly to a new audience.

A Blessing

Other salespeople are not selling a specific product. They instead offer items to passengers. Many of them will place in the hands of each passenger a card with a blessing, a positive affirmation or a religious image imprinted upon it. Once they have given every passenger a blessing, they will walk back down the aisle and collect the cards from those who don’t wish to keep them, or accept money from those who wish to hold on to the blessing.

How much do they earn?

It depends. They usually earn a few coins per card. It might also depend on whether the food and beverage vendor is also prowling the aisle at the same time – it can get quite crowded.

Capitalists call this competition. The free market.

The Pen Salesman

The best sales pitch I ever encountered during my many bus journeys was the pen salesman in Guatemala. He gave the most impressive spiel about pens that I have ever heard. He awarded his pens a value more precious than gold and more vital than water.

What did he say?

I can’t repeat his pitch here. It would be a breach of copyright. At least, I hope he has copyright on his pitch. He should.

Did I need a pen?

No

Did I already have a pen?

Yes

Did I want a pen?

No

Did I buy a pen?

Yes

Advertising gurus will tell you that the best marketing convinces people that they need something that they don’t actually need. I didn’t need a pen, but I bought a handful because the salesman convinced me that I needed a pen.

Not just any pen.

Not just one pen.

I needed a handful of his pens.

Australian Students to Study Nothing but Marketing.

The Australian government’s attempt to de-clutter the school curriculum will see Australian school students study nothing but marketing from 2021.

The move comes at the behest of the current Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, and has won support from coalition members from every Australian state and territory.

“Marketing is all one needs to know in order to succeed in this country,” announced a press release from federal Minister for Education Dan Tehan.

“Look at the prime minster. He rose to the highest office in the land through nothing but public relations spin, and was only inserted into the role when our party re-branded itself after the Turnbull era.”

“Such is his reliance upon marketing spin that he earned the nickname ‘Scotty from Marketing’. Of course, he prefers his official nickname, ScoMo. In fact, assigning nicknames is one of the first modules students study under this exciting new curriculum, before they delve into ‘The Art of the Slogan’.”

State and territory governments traditionally set the specific curriculum for their jurisdiction in Australia, but the massive overhaul will see the introduction of a national curriculum. Conservative ministers believe the new curriculum will de-clutter and simplify teaching programs and allow teachers to get ‘back to basics’.

The Back to Basics call is made before every major election and allows politicians to pretend they will improve students literacy, numeracy and thinking skills through the explicit teaching of times tables, spelling, punctuation and grammar. This time, politicians can promise to instil in young Australians the one life skill through which the Liberal National Party survives.

As a result of the changes, students will no longer study traditional subjects such as Maths, English Literature, Physics, Geography and Biology.

“The current government has proven that accurate scientific knowledge is simply redundant in the modern age,” explained Tehan, before outlining more details.

“Humanities subjects such as History will be wiped from the curriculum, because this subject breeds bleeding heart, black armband lefties who insist on re-writing history.”

“Environmental education will certainly be scrapped, because our current policies will ensure Australia has no natural environment to study in 20 years time.”

Students will be provided with world-leading instruction on public relations and will learn to devise and use slogans such as:

“Less activism, more marketing”

“Spin to win”

“Rort your Sport”

“Manage the mainstream media”

“Dictator Dan”

“Murdoch and Me”

“Deny and Deflect”

“Bogans love Slogans”

Some elements of the old curriculum will surface in the new marketing curriculum, however. Creative writing is necessary for the creation of slogans, press releases, policy announcements and speech writing, while artists are needed to create the ‘look’ and ‘sound’ of any re-branding exercise.

“Mathematical knowledge helps us to doctor figures which highlight the failures of our party, and to blame any economic failure on Labor.”

“Sport and physical education subjects will remain, because politicians gain enormous public relations benefits from pretending to support sporting teams. Furthermore, the promotion of militarism cannot continue at its current pace without fit, healthy young Australians to join the defence force.”

Furthermore, every school in the country will study Christianity, regardless of whether students or families adhere to a different faith or no faith at all.

“We’re sure the students will love the rock music during church services,” affirmed Tehan.

Image: Element5Digital

Scott Morrison: The Kardashian of International Politics.

Kardashian

Scott Morrison is the Kardashian of international politics. He is not a leader. He is nothing but marketing.

Re-branding

Scott Morrison is a Liberal National Party re-branding exercise. He is not a genuine leader. Morrison became leader of the Liberal National Party (LNP)  after he challenged the former leader, and former PM, Malcolm Turnbull. Turnbull was regarded as aloof, wealthy, overly sophisticated and arrogant, especially by the new supporter base of the LNP, tradesmen and construction workers. Insiders also believe that Turnbull was too outspoken in favour of action on climate change and that this did not align with the opinion of the true leaders of the LNP, mining magnates and media moguls. From his inception, Morrison has never been a leader, he himself is a marketing exercise, in the same way that every Kardashian (and partner) is themselves nothing but marketing.

Nickname

Scott Morrison and his PR team refer to the Prime Minister as ScoMo. The carefully-cultivated nickname fits neatly into the Australian tradition of awarding everyone a nickname, and creates an image of Morrison as an approachable and friendly person to whom everyone can relate. So successful has this deliberate marketing strategy been that even the watered-down mainstream Australian media commonly refer to the PM as ScoMo.

Beer and football

Extending the image of a regular Aussie bloke is Morrison’s appearance at rugby league games. Enjoying a beer at many of the home games of the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks enables Morrison to pretend that he cares about the people of his electorate in the Sutherland Shire. Ironically, Morrison did not grow up in The Shire, but in another region of Sydney, and has only lived in The Shire since winning pre-selection for the safe Liberal seat after a dirty tricks campaign against his main opponent. Shire residents, however, don’t seem to know or care about his pre-selection tactics – they have fallen for the PR spin.

scomocraiggreenhill

Slogans

Morrison does not formulate policies – he formulates slogans. A study of his announcements and press releases reveals an archive of empty slogans designed to impress unthinking Australians and to provide headlines and media snippets aimed at people with short attention spans.

How good is…

“How good is…” has become a universal catch phrase for Morrison, ever since he opened his federal election victory speech with “How good is Australia” The slogan is not actually a question, it is posed as an affirmative statement.

Interestingly, the phrase How good/ How good is seems to have crept into everyday lexicon, even in TV advertisements or football commentary. Again, Morrison has mastered the art of marketing to his demographic, uneducated and unthinking Australians.

Meet and beat

This is Australia’s environmental policy. Apparently, the minister who carried a lump of coal into Parliament question time before he became PM believes Australia will meet and beat its Paris climate targets with a simple slogan, instead of constructive action.

Quiet Australians

Quiet Australians are what Morrison would like all Australians to be. They don’t debate policies, don’t call him and his party to account, and they accept his actions and his marketing spin. This is another slogan Morrison coined in order to subdue everyday Australians.

There’s not much difference between a Quiet Australian and a Belieber.

Survive and thrive, leaners and lifters and back in black are more empty slogans which found their way into news articles throughout the country during Morrison’s reign, especially in the Murdoch press.

Have a go to get a go

What does this mean?

What does it matter?

Morrison’s slogans don’t need to mean anything or provide any substance. They are short, easily-digested phrases which impress small-minded people – and they are working.

Patriotism

Team Australia is another of Morrison’s slogans and it promoted overt patriotism and described the members of his political party, who all started wearing Australian flag lapels. Patriotism, like Morrison’s leadership, is an idea, a notion without substance. Morrison’s ascendancy has also coincided with a rise in Australian patriotism which intelligent people can see is exclusive and not inclusive of anyone who is not Caucasian, Christian, heterosexual and born in Australia. Ironically, the most salient recent manifestation of this exclusive racism was the Cronulla riot, a massive brawl between Caucasian patriots and Australians of middle-eastern descent. The riots took place on Cronulla beach, in the heart of Morrison’s electorate. Appeals to patriotism replace sensible policy in Morrison’s government.

Exclusive patriotism and a desire to appeal to bigoted Australians created another famous slogan of the LNP. Stop the Boats encapsulated Australia’s immigration policies, which drew widespread international condemnation for contravening basic human rights laws.

The backlash

Some Australians see through the spin. They know Morrison is the Kardashian of international politics. Unfortunately, they are a minority, or at least their measured voices are drowned out by the ignorant loudmouths who dominate social discourse in Australia.

Scotty from Marketing is a nickname which gained traction in response to Morrison’s reliance upon PR.

The Liar from The Shire emerged in response to his dishonesty and that of his party, incorporating the name of his electorate which is known as ‘The Shire’

SlowMo is sometimes used to counteract the name ScoMo.

Popularity

Yes, Scott Morrison is popular, just as the Kardashians are popular. People in Australia and the rest of the world are so gullible, impressionable and stupid that they fall for the marketing of the Kardashians, and they watch their TV shows, buy their branded products and in some cases genuinely admire the famous family. Conversely, many Australians have fallen for Scotty’s marketing spin and believe that Morrison is actually an approachable, down to earth, friendly everyday person. During the recent COVID-19 crisis, his public approval rating has actually risen. The marketing is working.

Dumb and dumber

Did Morrison contribute to the dumbing down of Australia society, or did his rise simply coincide with this era in Australian history? Did the Kardashians contribute to the dumbing down of society, or simply profit from it?

Ultimately, the only real difference between Scott Morrison and Kim Kardashian is that Morrison did not rise to fame courtesy of a sex tape – and thank goodness for that.

Image – Morrison – Craig Greenhill

Image – Kim Kardashian – Instagram/Kanye West