Party in the Lib­eral lobby

The Advertiser - - NEWS -

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.

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