Party in the Liberal lobby
IN the almost eight months since the Liberals won power in South Australia, the lobbyist scene has yet to fully adjust to the power shift.
Former senior state Liberal adviser Andrew Coombe got out of the blocks early, opening Coalition-aligned Barton Deakin’s Adelaide arm in the March election’s aftermath. Premier Steven Marshall and Treasurer Rob Lucas attended Coombe’s launch party.
Given the lion’s share of Adelaide lobbyists’ work is focused on state government and attendant bureaucracy, relatively few firms have switched tack to the new reality.
Seizing on this market gap with chutzpah akin to his former boss, Adam Howard, pictured, later this month will launch his GCAdvisory business with a party at Thomson Geer lawyers with some extraordinary star power.
It will be hosted by Thomson Geer chief executive partner Adrian Tembel, with Marshall, Defence Minister Christopher Pyne and federal Trade, Tourism and Investment Minister Simon Bir- mingham honour.
As Howard says in his invitation, he spent 15 years in federal government and opposition, overwhelmingly with Pyne and finishing in July as his chief of staff.
His choice of venue is canny. As we reported last month, Pyne cut his teeth at Thomsons and working there now are the successful wives of Opposition Leader Peter Malinauskas ( Annabel West) and Speaker Vincent Tarzia ( Charissa Duffy).
The party might rival the as the guests of 2015 launch, hosted by Annabel Crabb, of the now-defunct lobbyist pairing of former Labor minister Patrick Conlon and “The Godfather” Don Farrell, now Labor’s deputy Senate Leader.
Adelaide-based lobbyists have relatively scant federal opportunities but, if Labor wins as expected, there might be some opportunities.
Frontrunners would be Mike Rann’s former chief of staff Stephen Halliday, Hawker Britton’s SA agent, and former Hawke/Keating minister Nick Bolkus.