An Extraordinary Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting

When the Australian government hosted the Commonwealth Heads of Government (CHOGM) meeting in Perth in October 2011, it brought together the largest gathering of world leaders in our history.HRH Queen Elizabeth II and 3000 delegates were expected to attend the CHOGM series of meetings, along with 1000 members of the world’s media.

For the Western Australian government CHOGM was a great opportunity to impress an influential, global audience; for the people of Perth CHOGM was seen as a massive disruption.

A combined communications strategy by state government departments sought creative ways to reach inaccessible delegates of an international conference where the Premier had no official role, and involve the people of Perth in an event to which they weren’t invited.

While parallel events were planned alongside CHOGM for the local community and delegates, a major community event with HRH Queen Elizabeth II was bound to remain unannounced until weeks before.

From early reporting that focused on the inconvenience, how the city would be locked down with ‘troops on the streets’, CHOGM became the ‘number one hit of 2011’. It ended with vision of more than 100,000 people barbequing with royalty on the Perth foreshore beamed around the world.

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