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National Affairs Editor for The Courier Mail Renee Viellaris yesterday gave clients and friends of the SAS Group clear insights into the world where politics, journalism and business meet in our regular online conversation series.

Veillaris, leaving journalism at the end of the week for a freshly created position with the Australian Federal Police, did not mince words about why politicians often fail to connect.

She also provided sage advice for businesses and individuals wanting to have a role in public policy about where to go and who to speak to.

Our guests learnt that well before the pandemic, voters didn’t want to hear all about the dire consequences of Armageddon if we did not adopt their policies. Politicians, she said, were too quick to hit the “Scary Button’’ to sell their message.

Amid a brisk round of questions, Viellaris spoke candidly about the challenges facing journalism and what changes that will bring to the way journalists cover their rounds, calling on the type of insight she brings to regular appearances on the ABC’s Insiders.

She may be about to leave the industry, but Veillaris was staunchly proud of The Courier-Mail’s strong connection with its readership. The newspaper’s ability to predict Federal Labor’s own “Armageddon’’ at the last election was proof of that.

“Too many politicians and journalists think they should be telling people what they think they should be hearing and are not listening to what people are actually saying,’’ she said. “Being an effective politician means asking the right questions and listening to the answers.’’

If you’re not doing that, she said, you’re losing votes.

Journalism and politics will be the poorer on Saturday when Renee hangs up her pen and we wish her every success in the future.


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