Hawker Britton is an Australian government relations management consulting firm specialising in public affairs, government lobbying and corporate campaigns. The firm is closely aligned with the Australian Labor Party., and has been directly involved with many federal, state and territory ALP campaigns since 1997.
Hawker Britton is majority owned by the STW Group, the ASX listed parent company of more than 70 diversified marketing firms in Australia, New Zealand and south east Asia.
Simon Banks is the company’s Federal Director. Banks worked for three Federal Labor Leaders, including Kevin Rudd. He managed the Kevin07 campaign, part of Labor’s successful 2007 Federal election strategy. The Power Index ranked Banks the third most influential among all lobbyists in Canberra in November 2011.
The firm's website shows it employs many former Labor Party staffers, MPs and campaign professionals.
History and Campaigning
Hawker Britton was established in 1997 by Bruce Hawker and David Britton. Before starting the company, Bruce Hawker was Chief of Staff to New South Wales Premier Bob Carr, and Britton was Carr's senior media advisor.
Since then, Bruce Hawker and Hawker Britton have served as election campaign strategists in more than 29 Australian, Federal, State and Territory elections. He has been described as a stalwart of Labor campaigning. South Australian Premier Mike Rann described Hawker as “the greatest political strategist in Australia”.
Following the hung parliament that resulted after the 2010 Australian federal election campaign Bruce Hawker and Simon Banks were involved in the negotiations with Independents Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor which led to a cross-parliamentary agreement on parliamentary reform and which subsequently secured the Labor Government a second term.
Hawker Britton's founders, Bruce Hawker and David Britton, have now both left the company. David Britton left in 2005 to join the Fred Hollows Foundation as its communications director. Bruce Hawker left in December 2010 to set up a new campaign-focused venture, the Campaigns and Communications Group.
Hawker Britton Alumni
- The Hon. David Bradbury MP, is the Federal Member for Lindsay and the former Assistant Treasurer.
- Zoe Bettison MP, is the Member for Ramsay in the South Australian Parliament.
- Sam Dastyari is the General Secretary of the Australian Labor Party (NSW Branch).
- Eamonn Fitzpatrick was the Senior Press Secretary to former Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
- Sean Kelly worked as the Senior Press Secretary to former Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
- Tim Soutphommasane Australian progressive intellectual, Oxford Scholar, former adviser to Bob Carr and writer, worked for Hawker Britton after graduating from the University of Sydney. The British political magazine New Statesman labelled Soutphommasane the British Opposition leader, Ed Miliband’s, “new guru” [Note] in August 2012.
- Robert Furolo MP, is the Member for Canterbury in the NSW parliament and a former Shadow Minister in the NSW Opposition.
- Annette Hurley served a term as an ALP Senator for South Australia (and was Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the SA Parliament prior to joining Hawker Britton).
- The Hon. Walter Secord MLC, became chief of communications to Kevin Rudd in opposition, a chief of staff in the Rudd Government and a chief of staff to a NSW Treasurer and Premier Kristina Keneally. He is a member of the NSW Legislative Council and a Shadow Minister in the NSW Opposition.
- Graeme Wedderburn became chief of staff to a NSW Premiers Bob Carr and Nathan Rees and chief of staff again to Carr as Foreign Minister.
- Damian Kassabgi became deputy chief of staff to a Federal Minister and a senior adviser to former Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
- Stephen Dawson became a chief of staff to a WA Government minister and was elected to the Legislative Council in the Western Australian parliament in 2013 on the No.1 position on the ALP ticket for the Mining and Pastoral region.
- Guy Ragen was a policy adviser to former Climate Change, Industry and Innovation Minister, Greg Combet.
- "Background Briefing: Peddling influence and money". 18 May 2008. Radio National. http://www.abc.net.au/rn/backgroundbriefing/stories/2008/2243267.htm.