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Write a report on Federal Government's decision to withdraw welfare benefits for conscientious objectors for vaccination.
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Public Relations Management has become increasingly important in the context of modern organizational communications. With the rise of social media and internet, as well as globalization, it has become very important for large and medium organizations to ensure that the real reason, for which their organization is working, or their organizational aims and objectives, is adequately communicated to the intended audience and public. Thus communicating the mission message as well as providing regular status updates about the organization to the audiences form a part of modern Public Relations Strategy. This helps the organization to stay in touch with the ground zero of the organization's interface with its customers, stakeholders and intended audiences. In the case of a government organisation run on taxpayers' money that is intended to deliver services to the citizens, the requirement for effective channelling of Public Relations is even more acute because it is important to keep the stakeholders (citizens/taxpayers) constantly informed regarding how the public funds are being spent and utilised and what effect it is having on the ground. This report will examine how the recent decision of the Federal Cabinet to scrap the provision of 'conscientious objection' to vaccination of children by parents as a requirement for accessing full welfare benefits will be presented to the public in order to send the right message, maximise the positive impact and minimise the negative impact (Wills & Helen, 2012).
Public Relations (PR) is the way associations, organizations and people correspond with general society and media. A PR expert corresponds with the intended interest group straightforwardly or in a roundabout way through media with the intent to create and maintain a positive perception and makes a solid association with the majority of people. Samples incorporate press discharges, pamphlets, open appearances, and so on and also utilization of the internet. Reputation is more compelling than publicizing, for a few reasons. In the first place, exposure is much savvier than promoting. Regardless of the possibility that it is not free, just costs are by and large telephone calls and mailings to the media. Second, exposure has more prominent life span than promoting (Broom. & G. M., 2013). A newspaper article or a press release about a business will be recollected far more than an advertisement. Attention likewise achieves a far more extensive gathering of people than promoting for the most part does. At times, the story may even be gotten by the national media, spreading the word about your business everywhere throughout the nation. At long last, and most critical, attention has more noteworthy validity with the general population than does promote. Readers would feel that if a media outside of the organizations, such as a magazine, daily paper or radio journalist is including your organization; it must be doing something beneficial (Bernays, 2013).
The current context involves some sensitive issues as conscientious objection to vaccination of children has been seen to be a very emotionally challenging and controversial issue in Australian society and in debates and narratives surrounding Australian politics. While the Liberal Government has taken as its mandate the liberalization of several of the country's mandatory laws and initiatives, the issue of involuntary vaccination of children is a particularly sensitive one. Vaccination is widely considered to be very beneficial in bringing down the number of cases of children with non-treatable life-threatening or disability-inducing diseases such as Polio. Australia was thought to make a great stride of progress in public health when polio was completely eradicated in the country in the early 1980s. This was possible at the time because of a comprehensive and universal healthcare program that focused on compulsory vaccination for all children despite the objections of a section of parents on a wide range of issues ranging from the religious to the libertarian. It was thought at the time that this obligation should be enforced on parents since if the child was not vaccinated for the reasons of conscience or belief on the part of parents, and if the child developed the disease later on in life which could have been prevented with due vaccination, then basically the parents were costing the public exchequer or taxpayer's money the treatment costs which could have been totally avoidable. Similarly, vaccination has also brought down many other diseases which were once rampant in parts of Australia such as diphtheria, malaria, tuberculosis, and cholera. Thus has resulted in an overall improvement in the public health statistics, reduction in infant mortality, and an overall enhancement in the quality and standard of living in the country (Gillies, 2003). Thus, any PR approach to the current strategy of the government will have to keep in mind that childhood vaccination as a system of health care remains extremely popular and has the support of the vast majority of Australian citizens. Thus, it would have to be communicated to the populace that universal and compulsory childhood vaccination is a positive initiative for Australia, one that will ensure her continued good performance in public health, increase the working life of the labour force, and decrease the pressure on public services such as Medicare and the health budget, and an overall positive for Australia. Parents who wish to withhold their consent to their children being automatically immunized against future disease will have to realize the potential implications and repercussions of their actions. Their child may be much more susceptible to common diseases than normally vaccinated individuals, and thus would be a pressure on the healthcare system. While the healthcare system would continue to be free and tax funded for them, they might have to forego some other social welfare benefits, tax benefits and payouts in lieu of their publicly funded comprehensive health care from the cradle to the grave which is ensured by Australia's citizens and taxpayers (Khadra, 2013). This would be in the cause of fairness, justice and equity, long-held principles of Australian public policy. The Government further hopes that this might serve as a deterrent for at least a section of the conscientious objectors to vaccination, as almost 22,000 families in Australia have been listed as voluntarily opting out of the vaccination system. The intended law is expected to save almost $ 50 million from the public exchequer, which can be invested back into the regular health care system and Medicare, and to improve the existing healthcare system. Furthermore, it might also cause an easing of pressure on the public health system in terms of workload and availability of beds and appointments. This benefit would be immeasurable in terms of improvement to the quality of healthcare service in the country (Palmer & Short, 2000).