Bespoke Approach is an Australian corporate advisory firm and registered political lobbyist. It has provided services to major international resources, energy, technology, transportation, food and beverage companies. The firm has offices in Adelaide, South Australia and Melbourne, Victoria.
The firm was established in 2008 by England-born lobbyist Ian Smith in partnership with former Federal politicians Alexander Downer, Nick Bolkus, and Andrew Butcher, a former spokesperson for Rupert Murdoch. Smith had identified that Downer and Bolkus each possessed experience and qualities that he regarded "highly saleable and highly beneficial to companies."
Bespoke Approach has lobbied on behalf of major corporations in Australia including Woodside Energy, Petrochina, Huawei Technologies, Xstrata and Fosters. The company is allied with the Albright Stonebridge Group in the USA, which provides them with additional contacts overseas. Successful lobbying efforts by Bespoke Approach have resulted in Xstrata benefiting from the Gillard government's reduced mining tax and receiving environmental approval for its Wandoan coal project, while PetroChina received government approval for a $3.5 billion joint takeover of Australia's biggest coal seam gas developer, Arrow Energy. Other clients have included Devine Homes, Genworth Financial, Genesee & Wyoming Australia and CSR.
Smith has been described as the driving force behind the company. He has said of effective political lobbying:
"Working with the public service – not even the most senior ranks of the public service – can secure a really successful outcome... effective lobbying should happen away from the glare of politics."
Former South Australian premier John Olsen works as a Special Advisor to Bespoke Approach, and former South Australian Treasurer, Kevin Foley has also worked with the firm following his retirement from parliament in 2011.
As of November 2015, Bespoke Approach is a registered lobbying organisation federally, and in states of Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and Tasmania.
Bespoke Approach is also directly associated with Bespoke Territory, a firm represented by Ian Smith, Hon Paul Henderson and Mike Burgess AM. Its members have previously worked on major projects in Australia's north including the Ichthys LNG project, Darwin Correctional Precinct, Darwin Marine Supply Base and various indigenous housing and infrastructure programs. As of November 2015 their client list includes aquaculture company, Seafarms Group Ltd.
Cancer research and treatment clients
Bespoke Approach’s commercial client list includes some of the preeminent conventional cancer research and treatment facilities in Australia, specifically: the Australian Association of Medical Research Institutes (AAMRI), the membership of which includes (inter alia) the Garvan Institute of Medical Research/Kinghorn Cancer Centre, the Children's, Olivia-Newton John, and Peter MacCallum cancer research institutes; and GenesisCare, which claims to be Australia’s largest provider of radiological oncotology services for the treatment of cancer.
As of 11 November 2015, Bespoke Approach's clients include:
- ACE Insurance Ltd
- Arrium Limited
- Asciano Ltd
- Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes (AAMRI)
- Australian Education City Pty Ltd
- BAE Systems Australia
- Coles Supermarkets Australia Pty Ltd
- Costa Group Holdings Limited
- Genesee & Wyoming Australia Pty Ltd
- Great Southern Rail
- Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. L.P.
- Lend Lease
- Medibank Private Ltd
- Powercor Pty Ltd
- Santos Ltd
- Scepter Partners
- Victoria International Container Terminal Limited
- Common Ground Adelaide
- Evergrande Real Estate Group
- Financial Planning Association of Australia
- Hansen Yuncken / Leighton Contractors Joint Venture
- The Trustee for Julian Burton Burns Trust
- The Trustee for The PricewaterhouseCoopers Services Trust
- Toll Holdings
- Woodside Petroleum
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