Hindrance or Help? A Model for the Involvement of Politicians in Communicating with Publics During Disasters.

August 2015 (VOL. 33, NO. 2)

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Australia has experienced a number of significant natural disasters during the past few years with politicians increasingly involved in the provision of information to publics before, during and after disasters. Drawing on data from interviews with senior executives of Australian emergency management agencies we explore how these organisations manage the involvement of political actors in the public communication of disasters. We also investigate how emergency agencies manage their relationships with their political leaders in the recovery phase. We identify that improvements can be made to the ways politicians communicate with publics about disasters and we outline a preliminary best practice model for the involvement of politicians in delivering disaster warnings and information in the lead up to and during a disaster, and in the recovery process.