When is a tea towel just a tea towel?

Last week I attended the Public Relations Institute of Australia National Conference in Fremantle, Western Australia. As my manager not only suggested it but paid for it, plus I live locally, it seemed like a good idea and there were some great speakers, keynote and otherwise.

During the two days of the conference I was brought up to speed on the ethics of photojournalism in the 8 years since leaving univeristy, was left teary-eyed watching a three-minute DVD of the Sorry speech and celebration in February (then wide-eyed as the DIA head of comms explained she had 10 days to pull this extraordinary national event together), plus I tried to come to grips with whether I really need to give a shit about how Gen Y does business, and I watched women who should know better fawn all over former Blair spin doctor and HG Nelson lookalike Alistair Campbell.

However, the most memorable moment of the conference came for all the wrong reasons.

In a presentation to 400 of his peers, one of the high profile speakers talked of a trip to Beijing before the Olympics where, among other things, he had to assess the terrorism threat. His assessment was that terrorism was not going to be an issue; after all, “we didn’t see any tea towels while we were there.”

Just in case the Director, Media and Communications for the Australian Olympic Committee is reading this, THIS is a tea towel.

[Updated 24 April 2017 to fix broken tea towel link.]

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