CONTACT Air Land & Sea magazine Issue 64…read it right here…





If you prefer to download the .pdf version, you can find that HERE.
PLEASE – FOR BEST RESULTS – save it to your hard drive, then open it from there before exploring.


Issue 64 – 16 years. Now with 12,000 email subscribers, 30,000 unique web-site visitors a month and on track for 4million page views this year – CONTACT is notching up the milestones. And with years of experience, you’d think this would get easier. Wouldn’t you?

Well it isn’t. It’s actually getting harder and harder ‘to do their job for them’.

CONTACT is essentially a recruiting tool – friendly media that makes it easier for Defence to push good, favourable stories out to an eager audience, where potential new recruits might be persuaded to sign on the dotted line in the name of service to their country.

So many times I’ve heard from blokes who say things like,  “Your magazine pushed me that last little bit” – “If it wasn’t for your magazine I might never have  joined up” – “When the going gets tough, I remember what you said in that article and remember why I joined in the first place”.

And they’re just some of the few who actually write to me. I’m sure there are many more, influenced by CONTACT, who haven’t yet told me their stories. And, of course, I’d love to hear you all.

But, my point here is that CONTACT talks to a growing number of potential recruits – and a growing number of Joe Publics – all of whom are (or should be) important for Defence to keep on side.

But, Defence isn’t talking to CONTACT. Defence isn’t trying to talk to the CONTACT audience. Hell, Defence isn’t even talking among themselves any more, in the PR sphere.

While ministers and senior leaders spruik about ‘One ADF’, the branches of the ADF are running further and further apart in telling their own stories.

Classic examples recently were the appointments of the first female Warrant Officers of the Air Force and Navy. The first, which CONTACT missed, was only published on the Defence web site, while the second was emailed directly to CONTACT (and every other media outlet in the country) as a press release from the Minister’s office. The first of these two appointments was actually the more newsworthy – being the first female WO of Service ever – but the second got the greater coverage, simply because there was no co-ordinated PR messaging across the services, and one team got a better result than the other.

Another example of the services’ failure to communicate is actually very frustrating to me. Some of you will remember that I was invited to meet the Deputy Chief of Army in January this year, to hear how he and his new PR team were very keen to be proactive in communicating with the media, and especially with media like CONTACT. 

“How can we help you to help us?” I was asked. And when I told them, DCA directed his PR staff to make it happen.

Almost a year later, I still have had zero input from Army HQ!

CONTACT is esentially one man’s ‘hobby’. I sit here day after day, scouring the Internet for stories; and translating press releases dripping with PR spin and political bovine excrement into plain English. I sit here 7 days a week (or take it with me on laptop and/or smatphone when I do go out/away), trying to do their job for them. And it’s hard. And getting harder and harder.

One might even be inclined to give up. Not on CONTACT, of course – but on the increasingly useless Defence PR machine – and say, “Hey, audience. Let me hear your stories instead. Good or bad, positive or negative, pro or anti Defence. I want to hear your stories – because Defence isn’t talking to me any more”.

Submit your stories here, or write to



Brian Hartigan
Managing Editor


Please tell all your friends and colleagues





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Posted by Brian Hartigan

Managing Editor Contact Publishing Pty Ltd PO Box 3091 Minnamurra NSW 2533 AUSTRALIA

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