Top10 biggest Australian PR disasters of 2012

The results are in for the awards that no self-respecting media or politician wants bestowed upon them. Disaster is a dirty word, especially if you are in the public sphere, and this year’s list has some absolute doozies.

For the Australian Labor Party, this is the exposure they could well do without, having secured top position on the annual list of PR disasters awarded by PR watchdog and blogsite Resulting from research and data-crunching by, the ALP has secured three top five placings on the list of the most talked about PR nightmares of 2012, a year rife with political PR glitches.

Unfortunately the rhetoric and ‘broken promise’ surrounding Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s Carbon Tax backflip sealed the top position for the ALP, which was incredibly seen to be more of a gaffe than the revenue-destroying comments made by Sydney broadcaster Alan Jones about the Prime Minister’s late father.

From radio station 2Day FM’s royal tragedy, to Yumi Stynes’ and George Negus’ crass comments about Victoria Cross recipient Corporal Roberts-Smith, this list aims to name and shame. Here are Australia’s Top10 PR disasters of 2012:

10. Red Cross

The Red Cross apologised after a blundering employee caused fury by posting a comment on Facebook that said “all gays engage in risky behaviour” and everyone with tattoos gets “infected by dirty needles.”

9. Nick D’Arcy

A photo posted on Facebook of Kenrick Monk and Nick D’Arcy posing with automatic pistols and shotguns sparked outrage less than two months out from the 2012 London Olympic Games.

8. Craig Thomson

Mr Thomson vigorously denied allegations and reports of allegedly spending hundreds of thousands of HSU funds on prostitutes, restaurant meals, hotels, air travel for his wife and other personal items including cash advances.

7. The Circle

Network Ten’s The Circle issued an apology after public and corporate backlash over comments made by presenter Yumi Stynes about a photo of Victoria Cross recipient Corporal Ben Roberts-Smith. Stynes stated “he’s going to dive down to the bottom of the pool to see if his brain is there.”

6. Peter Slipper

Slipper was ultimately removed as house speaker amid claims from former staffer James Ashby of sexual harassment. Despite the dismissal by the Federal Court of the James Ashby case against Slipper, he now faces charges on three counts involving alleged fraudulent conduct.

5. Tent embassy riots

One of the PM’s staff lost his job after admitting he informed protesters of Opposition Leader Tony Abbott’s whereabouts at a 2012 Australia Day function, amid claims that Abbott had called for the Aboriginal tent embassy to be torn down.

4. AWU slush fund

Julia Gillard’s credibility was affected amid reports she assisted former boyfriend and union colleague Bruce Wilson in the theft and misuse of significant funds.

3. 2Day FM

Presenters Mel Greig and Michael Christian’s on-air antics preceded the suicide of British nurse Jacintha Saldanha, who took her own life after being tricked into forwarding a prank phone call from the pair posing as Prince Charles and the Queen.

2. Alan Jones

During a speech at the 2012 Liberal Club President’s Dinner, the Sydney broadcaster said that Julia Gillard’s father ”died of shame” because of the ”lies” she told. Although Mr Jones later apologised to the PM, a number of his breakfast radio program sponsors pulled their advertisements from 2GB after a major social media campaign.

1. Carbon tax

Arguably Julia Gillard’s most unpopular decision since her time as Prime Minister. This legislation caused a nation-wide uproar talked about in traditional media, online forums and Twitter.


  • Great to have your insight into PR, most of the 10 most disasterous PR didnt include one of the latest with the judge of the Slipper case throwing out the case and adding it looked like a conspiracy set up to bring down the government. The government have made some dusasterous PR blunders, most listed above, where is this one?