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Harbour Bridge closes as a result of a bold communication effort

Harbour Bridge closes as a result of a bold communication effort

Sydney commuters were thrown into chaos this morning when the Sydney Harbour Bridge closed due to a protester. The 38-year-old ex-military man climbed to the top of Australia’s iconic bridge in bold and highly disruptive attempt to protest against the Department of Community Services. He unfurled painted banners that read “Plz help my kids” and “Kids first“. He was arrested hours later and now media and politicians are in a frenzy over the¬†bridge’s security.

This protest, while lasting only a couple of hours, gained thick national coverage due to the closure and security scare. His message was not one just of a personal custody battle, but more one of a cry out to the government for a shake up in support for broken families.

But in this bold stab at communicating this very real message, was a protest on the country’s busiest bridge at peak hour the best way to communicate to society and the government? No doubt he pissed off hundreds of commuters and made the morning unnecessarily stressful for transport authorities. He will cop the wrath of the court system this afternoon … but will his protest be all in vein? Will it affect his custody battle? Or will it be a positive drop in the ocean for change in community services?

That’s the thing with risky protests, your message could sink or it could get wings. I tend to think if you’re pissing off the people who one day you’d want support from, it’s probably not the best idea. However, in the bigger picture, he’s spread nationwide attention to his message and has certainly gained much more attention than a Letter to the Editor. Perhaps he’s also given a voice to broken families who share his cries.

Whatever message you’re communicating – personally or professionally – ensure your method supports your outcome. It may get results, but will it be the results you’re after?

What are your thoughts on traffic-stopping protests? Does it get the message across in the right light, or does it just piss people off?

Yours in communicating for results,


Belinda Vesey-Brown About the author
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