20 Jun 2012

Operation AWARE was a series of coordinated public awareness activities between the 5 -15 April 2012 using our Local Action Groups (LAGs) around Australia, supported with radio, TV and print media exposure, print media advertising and simultaneous viral distribution of campaign material through social media.

Its primary aim, to increase public awareness and support for the Fair Go Campaigns objectives by appealing directly to the Australian people in selected major population centres and indirectly media awareness and interest, was achieved.  Its secondary purpose, to further demonstrate our resolve and our capacity for well-coordinated Campaign action to Government ministers and Federal politicians of all political parties, was also achieved.

Our public awareness campaign is continuous with social media videos, media print articles and radio interviews. Operation AWARE built on those activities in a more concentrated way to deliver maximum impact at a time of heightened public interest in military affairs – pre ANZAC Day.

The Operation was in keeping with ADSOs Fair Go Campaign strategy which includes:

  • taking the campaign directly to the Australian people by increasing awareness through all forms of media, through flyers and through community meetings;
  • conducting public activities around significant calendar days/events; and
  • creating effective Local Action Group (LAGs) activities involving our supporters at the grass roots Federal electorate level, especially in the marginal seats.

The Operations launch date was brought forward to 2 April 2012 to take advantage of an opportunity for the 4BC radio interview with Peter Criss.
The following day, The Honourable Thing video (Youtube), developed by Ray Martin (our Townsville Herbert Local Action Group leader), was sent to all Federal Parliamentarians ahead of a public (viral) release a few days later. Viral launch of the ANZAC (Veteran theme) flyer followed, with distribution through the ADSO and other ESO networks.

Activities during the Operation:

Approximately 12000 flyers were physically distributed in major population centres around Australia, in specific electorates of the Treasurer Wayne Swan (Lilley), Prime Minister Julia Gillard (Lalor), State Senators and several marginal MPs, in some shopping malls, RSL sub-branches, sporting and community clubs and in residential letter boxes

Local Action Groups (LAGs) and other Fair Go supporters wrote many supportive letters to editors of major daily and regional/local newspapers and more than 20 letters were published.

A total of 11 articles/OPED pieces were published, mostly in local/regional papers, although the Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian published good articles.

Op AWARE display ads appeared in two regional press publications, the Northern Services Courier Townsville (full page flyer) and City West Magazine Ipswich (quarter page flyer).

A well-timed initiative by Bert Hoebee and Peter Criss to seek assistance from Gina Rinehart resulted in TV coverage with Channel 10 interviews: Peter Criss on the Breakfast Show on two occasions and a follow-up interview on the same program with Senator Ronaldson (Lib). Channel 10 Evening News  also covered the issue on one occasion.

Major General Jim Molan appeared on the Channel 9 Sunday Program on two occasions where he promoted the indexation issue, and Barney Ward was interviewed on NBN Evening News.

Following on from the Gina Rinehart initiative, a Statement of Support for fair indexation with the names of 40 Australians, including many prominent figures from the corporate sector and three ex-Service Chiefs, was distributed. This triggered further good media coverage.

Radio coverage of Op AWARE comprised:

  • 4BC Brisbane: Two Greg Carey interviews with Peter Criss, an interview with Tony Abbott, an interview with Senator Ronaldson, and a further raising of the issue by Greg Carey on ANZAC Day;
  • 2UE Sydney: A Jason Morrison interview with Peter Criss (hyperlink);
  • ABC AM: An interview with Peter Criss (hyperlink);
  • 3AW Melbourne News: Comments by Peter Criss on the indexation issue;
  • 6PR Perth: A Howard Sattler interview with Peter Criss (hyperlink)which also included live on air comments from Labor Government Minister Gary Gray;
  • 2SM Sydney & Regional Networks (NSW and Southern QLD): A lengthy 25 minute interview of Peter Criss by John Carroll (hyperlink)

All interviews were immediately followed with supportive talk-back calls, and where possible, many supportive BLOG comments were added to radio station web pages. 

Over a three week period the Operation generated:

• In excess of 9000 hits on The Honourable Thing Youtube Video;

• Major viral distribution of the Op Flyer nationally using email networks and facebook and social media outlets.

• Physical distribution of 12000+ flyers and public display of more than 90 posters/flyers in selected major population centres;

• More than 30 print media articles/letters etc;

• 10 major Radio events;

• Seven national and regional TV events.

TV and radio coverage was critical to the operations success. Much of the other media attention flowed from those initial TV and radio interviews. In almost all cases, electronic media coverage resulted from personal contacts and relationships that had been either directly or indirectly developed over a period of time. So supporters if you have media contacts then please share them with us.


There can be no doubt that Operation AWARE achieved its stated aims of significantly increasing public awareness and sending a loud and clear message to all Parliamentarians that ADSO is capable of conducting nationally coordinated action plans and will STAND FAST in its resolve to achieve its objective.

Our experience has provided many valuable lessons for future application. 


The Operations success owes much to the incredible hard work and commitment of our dedicated group of outstanding supporters who more than pulled their weight when needed most. Among this group we pay special tribute to all STAG leaders, individual LAGS and other independent supporters who willingly volunteered their support in response to our call for help. We acknowledge the special contribution of Jim Molan, Ray Martin, and the untiring efforts of Bert Hoebee, Peter Thornton, Alf Jaugietis. Finally, a special thanks to Peter Criss for his brilliant job in selling our Campaigns message across all forms of media, but particularly radio and TV and his ready willingness to do whatever we asked of him, at times, under trying circumstances.

Ray Gibson, Leader – Operation AWARE