Becky Rowe writes:
I’ve been in Australia for a few days for a client project and one of things I have noticed (aside from the jetlag and great weather) is the constant reference across all kinds of public communications to ‘us’, ‘we’, ‘together’, ‘you’, and ‘community’.
New building projects mention ‘helping our communities grow stronger’, while ‘no alcohol’ signs on the beaches explain why it is beneficial to everyone if you don’t drink your beers on the beach. The taxi rank at the airport had a large sign which communicated clearly and simply what you could ask of your taxi driver, and what he could expect of you (you are entitled to ask your driver to turn on or off the radio or aircon, and to take a different route, but you aren’t allowed to be drink or eat in the cab).
The prevalence of these signs, the explicit wording, and clear reference to shared responsibilities, all communicated in a friendly and understandable way, somehow surprised me. In some ways I found them a bit patronising, but I also found it refreshing to have ‘the rules’ of ‘good citizenship’ made clear.
Knowing the rationale behind an apparently bureacratic or even irrational rule can make all the difference to compliance. I think the UK has something to learn from the Australians about how to behave – and how to get people to behave.