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Whitepaper
June 20, 2019

Your insight into the federal election

Stay on top of the federal election coverage

During an election, the volume of media coverage on political promises and topical debates increases. This can have a positive or negative impact on your organisation.

With our comprehensive federal election briefing, you can monitor and track relevant media data to gain insight into the federal election.

Understand your organisation, your competitors, your industry and the important topics. Understand the media data that shapes each campaign day.

From policy, campaign and program announcements to funding commitments and latest polling figures we can ensure you’re kept up to date.

Download your sample below or get in touch with us to today!

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With the NZ local elections fast approaching, candidates have begun their 2019 campaign through building a social media presence and engaging with their followers. This year’s election is looking to be more interesting than usual as we delve into the effects of social media throughout an election campaign.

October 12, 2019 marks when the local authority elections will take place for city and district councils, regional council and district health boards. As the local authority election turnout has been declining in many areas of New Zealand since the 1980s, the Electoral Commission will be running an enrolment campaign #Vote2019NZ to lift nationwide voter turnout (to greater than 50 per cent) as well as increase people’s engagement with their local council.

With social media now at the forefront of election campaigns and political information being readily available through social networking sites, it has been questioned if:

1. It’s important for candidates to have a social media presence

2. If having a social media strategy matters

3. Whether the usage of social media can be an indicator for predicting election outcomes

Political Environment And Social Media

Social media operates 24/7 and response time expectations are demanding, especially throughout the duration of an election where it’s crucial to monitor what is being said, by whom as well as understanding the sentiment that goes with it.

It is suggested there is a statistically significant relationship between the size of online social networks, voting behaviours and election results. With the recent disparity between political polls internationally and in New Zealand, it has raised questions about the accuracy of polling surveys and whether they should be paid attention at all.

Nowadays, government bodies and agencies view social media engagement as a ‘no choice’ situation and the power of social media allows these government bodies to give responses in real-time. Although Facebook and Twitter are increasingly being used by political parties and candidates in their electoral campaigns, candidates are recommended to start their campaign strategy early to ensure they establish a strong social presence that can be maintained for the duration of the campaign. Having this set up will assist with building rapport and trust with their followers.

Is a high level of online interest and engagement indicative of wider electoral support?

Online social media environments present new challenges and profoundly different experiences. As there is an increasing emphasis on social media being a powerful online marketing channel, it can be much more complex than what is seen on the surface. Each social media channel has their own algorithm, determining how frequent and vast any content gets shared. Most channels design their algorithm in a way to reward extremism to entice the user to stay on the platform and potentially influence the user opinion of a particular topic.  Due to the vast amounts of content and media items available throughout an election campaign, it is important to stay across these conversations as well as monitor media bias with social media monitoring.

Polling And Social Media

It has been said public opinion could be better analysed from social media rather than just opinion polls. Considered to be outdated, opinion polls are conducted by large, successful organisations who are predominantly interested in protecting their reputations, and anxiously anticipate their electoral predictions to resemble their estimates. The head of Strategy at a top Kiwi research firm has acknowledged social media is a more valid way to assess voter habits than the polling surveys conducted by research companies.[1] This is due to the sentiment being measured off observations of conversations across social media which can be significantly different than provided in polling surveys. So, if politicians are consistently looking to appeal to the masses and win points in polls, they run the risk of losing the interest of the key constituents they need to appeal to in order to win their campaign.

Is There A Better Way?

With polling and betting markets missing the mark with several elections, experts are progressively turning to social media to judge voter sentiment on a larger scale. Our Mediaportal can provide coverage of key New Zealand media coverage related to the election campaign and can help determine breaking news and voter sentiment. Being across this data can be beneficial as it has been seen in the recent Australian Federal election, where an unexpected victory from the Coalition contradicted weeks of almost identical opinion polls predicting a Labor win.  Other notable examples of pollsters getting their predictions wrong include Brexit – where opinion polls showed majority of voters in favour of remaining a member of the European Union, and the victory of Donald Trump where the national polling average was in favour of Hillary Clinton by 3.1 per cent[2], Trumps active social media engagement resulted in his election victory.

In the 2017 NZ election, Jacinda Ardern’s age, gender and keen use of social media livened up the election campaign where there has been a long run of politicians considered dull or out of touch with young and female voters. [3] Starting with a strong social media following, Jacindamania was ignited. Adding to this, Jacinda’s confident and mediagenic personality has set her up to be a leader younger voters can relate to and has resulted in her being the most watched New Zealand politician on Twitter during her electoral campaign.[4] She continues to have a strong social presence following as she directly connects with her audience, proving the power of social media.

The Power Of Social Media

The benefits of any social network – real or digital – come from the quality of relationships with members of the network rather than the volume of members within it. As younger generations reach voting ages and social media becomes even more universal, it will be necessary for democratic institutions and practices to revisit and restyle their political communications to tie in with the interests and discourse of contemporary young culture. By analysing the election campaign coverage from multiple angles such as share of voice, media bias, candidate promises and the effectiveness of a campaign strategy it will provide the necessary information required for organisations to make informed decisions about the proposed policies and understand what’s driving the agenda across Councils.


If you would like to keep up to date for the duration of the local election campaign, our daily curated briefing can ensure you’re across all campaign announcements, policy updates and share of voice. If you would like to learn more about the services we can offer, get in touch with our team to discuss your needs.


[1] https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=12238919

[2] https://indianexpress.com/article/world/world-news/hillary-clinton-leading-donald-trump-by-3-1-percentage-points-polls-average-3731849/

[3] https://www.forbes.com/sites/ralphjennings/2017/09/20/how-one-womans-likes-tweets-and-vibes-threaten-the-ruling-rightists-of-new-zealand/#46694557ca94

[4] https://www.forbes.com/sites/ralphjennings/2017/09/20/how-one-womans-likes-tweets-and-vibes-threaten-the-ruling-rightists-of-new-zealand/#46694557ca94

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Blog
Social Media: The Newest Political Battlefield

With the NZ local elections fast approaching, candidates have begun their 2019 campaign through building a social media presence and engaging with their followers. This year’s election is looking to be more interesting than usual as we delve into the effects of social media throughout an election campaign.

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When it comes to reputation management, understanding your audience perception puts you a step ahead. Learning your audiences frustrations and what drives them, provides insight into how to positively engage with them. As a PR or comms professional, knowing which audience segment impacts or influences your brand reputation is key, especially when sharing messaging.

Reputation is important at the best of times, yet throughout the pandemic, pharmaceutical companies gained the media spotlight whilst their reputation was under scrutiny. As a result, they had to act swiftly and develop new vaccines for immediate and long term use on a global scale.

How do audiences perceive the pharmaceutical industry?

Since the pandemic, we've learned companies are expected to lead. Large companies that failed to take significant actions lost reputation. Those that acted on the opportunities presented to them, flourished. To build or maintain a positive reputation, companies needed to become agile and evolve their operations. 

By using media monitoring and audience intelligence tools, brand reputation and audience perception can be tracked and managed by monitoring traditional and social data, news and industry-specific artificial intelligence (AI). 

Audience perception comes from customer experience, functionality and reputation across mainstream and social media conversations. With social media being an unfiltered platform, it can be hard for brands to control their narrative. However, when you know what your audience is saying about your brand, you can better understand the influential voices and outlets leading the conversations. Monitoring traditional and social media allows you to:

The change in audience sentiment

As an industry that’s responsible for the research, development, production and distribution of medications around the world, having a positive reputation is invaluable.

Pharmaceutical companies frequently use social media to communicate health concerns, new advancements and potential outbreaks. Furthermore, they have been in the spotlight for the past 24 months, helping a society navigate through COVID-19 and out of lockdowns.

The pandemic led to a rapid change in public sentiments over a short span of time. People expressed sentiments of joy and gratitude toward good health, yet sadness and anger at the loss of life and stay at home orders. 

It’s important to understand audience perception toward health-related content, and how your audience perceives the news you share or is shared about you. As the world turned to pharmaceutical companies for vaccines, heightened media coverage meant the public were listening, watching and paying more attention than ever before. This gave those companies the opportunity to redefine what they stand for.

Australian trust in pharmaceutical companies versus global country average. Source: Ipsos and Statista

The role of social media

Historically, the sector had been tarnished by bad publicity. However, the Ipsos Global Trustworthiness Monitor 2021 report revealed pharmaceutical companies are now seen as more trustworthy than they were three years ago. 62% of Australians say they trust pharmaceuticals, in comparison to a global country average of 31%.

Social media intelligence plays an important role in how audiences discover, research and share information about a brand or product. Pharmaceutical companies need to continue their connection with their audiences, through storytelling. With this, they can influence a positive narrative and maintain the positive shift in reputation.

During the pandemic, Pfizer dominated social media. On Twitter, Pfizer was the most mentioned company compared to other competitors during the same period. Conversations about the actual brand were not as popular as vaccines, yet social media buzz was inline with Pfizer's consequential milestones and notable events during the pandemic.

Audience perception on twitter

With company mentions of this calibre, there’s no denying the number of conversations involving pharmaceutical companies. Audiences are talking in an unfiltered manner. Whether it's about their credibility, reputation, or the effectiveness of treatments, there’s no escaping the global conversations about the pharmaceutical industry.


Companies cannot afford to ignore conversations that could influence their reputation. Rather than treating it as something beyond their control, using reputation management tools within a media intelligence platform can assist in rolling out a more effective and efficient comms strategies on both traditional and social media.

The power of audience perception

A recent study on Eczema & Atopic Dermatitis by our sister company, Pulsar, shows a topic that is considered an intensely private conversation, has since moved online. An analysis was performed on the relationship between influential figures and wider audiences.

The below chart shows what the engagement metrics look like for the 19 most-engaged with accounts describable as either dermatologist, esthetician, medical doctor, nurse or pharmacist. 

From this chart it tells us dermatologists hold authority in this conversation with three of the highest engagement tallies originating from dermatology accounts. This suggests their audience trust their expertise and are favourably perceived.

Comparing the mentions and engagements of the top 19 influencers, by engagement, in the atopic dermatitis and eczema conversation. Sept 2020- Oct 2022. Source: Pulsar TRAC.

Audience perception on twitter
Audiences engaging in the conversation around both eczema/atopic dermatitis and medicalised skincare on Twitter, set against the more general eczema/atopic dermatitis conversation over the same period. Sept 2020 – Oct 2022. Source: Pulsar TRAC.

The above chart shows a comparison analysis on audiences engaging in conversations around both eczema/atopic dermatitis and medicalised skincare on Twitter. This is set against the more general eczema/atopic dermatitis conversation over the same period (Sept 2020 - Oct 2022).

Healthcare professionals remain a significant presence. Viewing the two audiences alongside each other:

  • Young black communities cohere into the single largest community.
  • LGBTQ+ communities emerge as a far greater presence in the wider conversation. 

From this study, we can see there is a seamless loop between conversation analysis and audience segmentation. This allows for a dynamic view of how each community talks about a topic differently. 

3 pillars to consider when repairing brand reputation

1. Be active and engaged on your social networks to help control the conversations. Turning the mythology around can be difficult, but with a compelling or positive evergreen story, it can change the perception audiences have about your company.

2. Monitor what is being said. Negative news gets more attention. This creates unwanted negative conversations and commentary. Tracking analytics, such as media mentions, share of voice and media outlets with a media intelligence solution allows you to keep a vigilant eye on the type of media coverage you’re receiving. When repairing a negative reputation, at least 35% of the company’s share of voice should involve company representatives.

3. Create a recovery roadmap to deliver on business improvements. Be transparent and authentic when it comes to communicating to customers and stakeholders. This will help with rebuilding trust and repairing your reputation. 

When a company needs to repair their reputation there is a need to use sources of traditional and social media. These will form the pillars of their repair strategy. These pillars can support a comms strategy with real-time data, identifying what's working and what isn’t.

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Blog
Reputation Management: How Important is Audience Perception?

Reputation management is crucial for any brand. With unfiltered social media, it is critical to understand your audience perception.

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Image of falling stock prices in a crisis on a blue background

In today's fast-paced world, audience intelligence is critical to crisis management. By understanding who your audience is and what they want, you can more effectively manage a crisis. 

The constantly changing landscape of the internet and social media can make it difficult to stay ahead of the curve. Additionally, the vast amount of data available can be overwhelming and make it difficult to identify the most important information.

Getting a hold of the narrative in the media is crucial. It's inevitable that at some point, your brand will receive negative press. Whether it's a simple misunderstanding or a full-blown crisis, bad press can have a serious impact on your brand's progress. 

Surviving a crisis: Optus & BeReal

Crisis management bar graph of Optus data breach mentions in the media
More than 100,00 mentions of Optus in the media since the data breach announcement.

On 21 September, there was a data breach of telecommunications company Optus where many of its customers’ information were compromised. In response, the company adopted a cautious and controlled approach in delivering its external communications. 

However, the approach allowed the media as well as social media to swirl negative narratives about the company’s “inaction”. In the three weeks after the announcement that its databases had been hacked, there were more than 123,000 mentions of the company in the media. 

In this instance, addressing a crisis quickly to minimize the impact on your business is critical. Seeing a spike in media coverage becomes a good barometer of how negative sentiment can escalate against your brand. 

In another example, rising social media app BeReal suffered a shutdown in September. The app focuses on users being authentic in their posts by prompting them to post pictures of themselves at random times of the day. With almost 15 million downloads of its app in September alone, the shutdown caused a stutter in its communications approach.

Image of BeReal tweet on shutdown
Source: Twitter

With a single tweet acknowledging the shutdown of its service, users were left puzzled as to what had happened. Media queries were left unanswered. This silence by the social media platform led to high-profile news sites such as Yahoo and TechCrunch covering the shutdown. 

This is a highly risky communication approach in an extremely competitive market of social media platforms. Social media giant TikTok rolled out its version of BeReal while Instagram has begun testing the function. 

Image of tweet on BeReal shutdown and crisis management
Source: Twitter

The lack of transparency during a crisis such as a shutdown can lead to negative publicity and a loss of trust in the company. If users are not given clear information about why an app is shutting down, they may feel ‘lost’ and ultimately lose them as users

7 things to consider for your crisis management strategy

While it's impossible to completely avoid negative press, there are steps you can take to manage it and protect your brand's reputation.

1. Acknowledge the crisis & remain transparent

In the hyper-speed age of information-sharing and social media, it's more crucial than ever to be open and honest with your audience. 

When something goes wrong, don't try to hide it - own up to it and let people know what you're doing to fix the problem. 

Being open and transparent will help build trust with your audience and show that you are committed to making things right.

2. If it happens in your industry, it's your crisis

When a crisis strikes your competitor, there is no time to revel in their troubles. On another day, the crisis could happen to your brand and the scrutiny would be as intense as it was for your competitors. 

Take notes of what is happening in the media and quickly facilitate actions to counter any possible scrutiny that might come your way. These actions must be part of your crisis management plan.

3. Anticipate and monitor the crisis

In the high-speed world of audience intelligence, crisis management is essential to protecting your brand. Rapid response and proactive communication are key to mitigating the damage of a negative event. 

By monitoring the conversations online and identifying potential risks, you can take steps to prevent a crisis before it happens. If a crisis does occur, having a plan in place will help you quickly contain the situation and protect your organisation's reputation.

Make sure you have a media monitoring function so that you can monitor the escalating spread of news. Additionally, a social media intelligence platform can identify topical discussions your audience are engaged in.

4. Don't argue, trivialise or act defensively

Crisis management is the process by which an organisation deals with a major disruptive event. It's critical to remember that in a crisis, your audience is seeking reassurance and guidance on the issues.

Therefore, it's essential that you don't argue, trivialise or act defensively. Instead, you need to be calm, informative and decisive in your actions. This will help to instill confidence in your audience and allay the media pressure to give you space to address the crisis.

5. Keep it short and sweet

The message you send out must be brief and informative in order to effectively manage the crisis. Getting involved in a large-scale debate is not advisable because it distracts your focus from finding solutions. 

A brand crisis can be a very difficult situation to navigate. Your audience is interested in what you are going to do next and what will happen to them. It's important to keep your audience updated on what is happening and what you are doing to resolve the issue.

6. Address your most important audience

In the event of a crisis, it's essential to quickly identify your key audiences and address their concerns. For a fast-moving consumer goods or a services organisation, the customer comes first because they are the primary audience of interest. 

It also depends on what type of crisis it's. If there is a workplace safety and security matter, it's better to address your employees first and reassure them on resolving the crisis. 

Ultimately, it's best to identify key audiences and have various sources of information to implement this preemptive approach. From discovering communities in social media narratives to stakeholders of your business, keeping the flows of communication open is a priority.

7. Keep authorities and the media on your side

In the event of a crisis, it's essential to effectively communicate with the authorities and the media. Provide updates to the media and work with authorities to ensure that they are kept informed of the situation. By having a good relationship with them, the crisis is managed effectively and the negative impact on your business is minimised.

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Blog
Crisis management with audience intelligence

Crisis management is crucial for any brand. In today’s social media-driven world, a brand crisis can quickly spiral out of control.

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Next week’s Federal Budget has many Australians wondering how they will be affected. 

The government has strongly advocated for building a more resilient economy than their predecessors, yet in recent months, the economy is suffering due to a rapid rise in inflation. This has pushed up interest rates and is squeezing the cost of living with both consumers and businesses feeling the pressure. 

Following groceries, the leading financial stressors for Australians are petrol, rent, mortgage payments and energy bills. And just to make ends meet, Aussies are making more considered purchases, seeking higher paying employment or working multiple jobs. Australians are already anxious about inflation with growing concern there’s no end in sight. 

Will the government restore their trust in Australians and keep their pre Federal Budget promises?

Cost of living crisis

Latest data from CHOICE’s Consumer Pulse survey, revealed that cost of living pressures are a major concern, with 90% of Australians seeing an increase in their household bills and expenses over the past year. 

Inflation pressures are intensifying and the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) continues to drive up interest rates - their highest level in 7 years. The government has promised a long-term and sustainable approach to cost of living support in the form of a relief package. 

Concerned about their mortgage payments, up to a third of mortgage holders could struggle to keep up with future repayments, with younger generations particularly concerned about surging interest rates. 

Using Isentia data, during an eight week period from early August to early October 2022, 18% of Australia’s front pages featured cost of living stories. Even in a time of large local and international news such as the war on Ukraine and the Optus security breach, the cost of living crisis was still making front page news.

According to Pulsar data, anxieties around the cost of living, peaked following the RBA's interest rate announcements on 4 September and 4 October. For the sixth consecutive month, Australians have had to tighten an already lean household budget.

Apprehensions around security increased on 24 September as a result of the Optus security breach and again on 10 October when the government announced changes to the country's defence projects.  Also on 10 October, cost of living concerns spiked after growing speculation surrounding the Stage 3 tax cuts being recalibrated. Australians also felt a heightened sense of unease after the announcement of a future surge in energy costs, following a recent  35% rise.

Topics causing anxiety this Federal Budget
Anxieties surrounding topics mentioned by the government. Source: Pulsar

Childcare fees are at their highest in 8 years, with child care subsidies failing to keep out of pocket costs to a minimum. On 16 September, conversation around child care spiked, as Treasurer Jim Chalmers promised to reduce the cost of childcare, yet pledged to keep spending restrained in light of budgetary constraints. 

As part of the cost of living relief package, this reduction won't come into play until mid 2023. Can Australian families wait this long?

Problematic climate conditions such as excessive rain and floods are leading to localised food price increases and diminished food quality. Even in the same area, poorer households are faring far worse than affluent counterparts. Across the board, there has been  a surge in the cost of fruit and vegetable prices (7.3%) and meat, seafood and bread rising by 6.3%

On top of these climate issues, labour shortages in both warehousing and transportation have resulted in added disruption to the supply chain. Freight costs are on the rise, putting intense pressure on importers and exporters. 

Are Aussie consumers looking at a continued supply chain that is more disruptive than the 2020 toilet paper shortage? The rise in the cost of living weighs on households' spending, and Australians are seeking alternate ways to make extra cash.

The thrifty shopper

As the cost of living rises, many Australians are seeking alternate ways to make or save cash; trimming budgets where they can; cancelling home entertainment subscriptions, and reducing insurance coverage for lower fees to name a few. Purchases at all levels are becoming more involved and highly considered, with discounts heavily sought after.

As Millennials and Gen Z shoppers are gaining more buying power, their passion for sustainable commerce is stronger than ever. Selling personal items to make extra cash has been on the rise with retail e-commerce platforms such as Facebook Marketplace and ‘Recommerce’ platforms like AirRobe, are booming. Not only are Australians becoming more financially savvy, they are conscious of the need to ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’ - a criteria these platforms adopt.

Following the money

There’s no doubt that inflation is changing salary expectations. And for those in industries where movement and remote working is possible, many Australians are following the money.

Data from the Reserve Bank of Australia, shows organisations have reported higher rates of employees leaving to achieve higher pay packets as a way to provide temporary relief for  the rise in cost of living. Interestingly, this higher voluntary turnover was especially concentrated in professional services. 

In response to labour shortages, organisations are implementing a range of non-base wage strategies - e.g bonuses, flexible work practices, more internal training and hiring staff with less experience, as opposed to increasing base wages.

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figures also show Australians are taking on multiple jobs, as full-time work forces employees to juggle several roles to make ends meet. Although multiple job holding is more common in low-paid industries, a record high of 900,000 people held multiple jobs in the June quarter of 2022. 

This is an increase of 4.3 per cent from the previous quarter and is a reflection of wages growth stagnating and nominal wages barely keeping up with consumer prices. The result; people needing to work more hours to make ends meet. 

Using data insights from Pulsar, wages is one of the ‘most anticipated’ topics in this year’s Budget. The Wage Price Index (WPI) rose 0.7 per cent in the June quarter and 2.6 per cent over the year, which represented a substantial fall in real wages given inflation rose 6.1 per cent last quarter. 

Social media conversation around wages is evolving with other indicators suggesting wages are still climbing alongside extreme uncertainty surrounding global growth and rampant inflation. 

Will Australians see more dollars in their pocket after the Budget is handed down?

The "most anticipated" topics in this year's Federal Budget.
The "most anticipated" topics in this year's Federal Budget. This is a visual representation of the conversation frequency of topics over time. Source: Pulsar

Australians taking action

With Australians taking a greater interest in living a sustainable lifestyle, the government and organisations are prompted to influence the lever of positive change and create actionable outcomes.

Despite a great deal of politicians pledging change, governments are often swayed by the media and public opinion which can derail policies wanting to address complex, longer-term challenges. Millennials and Gen Zs have long pushed to see societal and economic change. 

Results from the 10th Annual Deloitte Global 2022 Gen Z and Millennial Survey shows they are increasingly becoming more politically involved. These influential cohorts are progressively showing interest in political issues, and turning to social media to discuss their opinions. Moreover, they are consciously making calculated career decisions and spending their money with organisations who share the same values.

The top keywords used by key communities discussing the Federal Budget online and social media.
The top keywords used by key communities discussing the Federal Budget online. Source: Pulsar

Social engagement shows left wing millennials are showing concern over the budget and economic issues, with Treasurer, Jim Chalmers gaining the most chatter. Similarly, baby boomers are equally vocal, using the same keywords as millennials but they also seek strong leadership and a strong economy.

For younger demographics, their interactions or relationships with organisations is dependent on the organisation's treatment of the environment, their policies on data privacy and their position on social and political issues. 

For governments, tackling environmental, economic and social issues and their impact requires a huge transformation across all sectors. Market forces alone will not solve the problem, and the onus is on governments to take a lead to meet the sustainability challenge. 

The October Federal Budget is an opportunity for the government to show they are the lever of change by creating actionable outcomes and a positive impact. Australians are concerned for the welfare of the country and previous governments have fallen short. 

The government promises to back clean energy and build new renewable infrastructure across the country, will they succeed or disappoint?

The Federal Budget can be an overwhelming time, with an abundance of promises and policies, it can be hard to stay on top of the latest news. We have a comprehensive range of political news services available to help you navigate the political media coverage at this October Federal Budget. Want to learn what’s being said at this Federal Budget?

Click here to start navigating the announcements that may impact your organisation.

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How concerned are Australians about the Federal Budget?

The upcoming October Federal Budget has many Australians wondering how they will be affected. 

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