Government relations and lobbying firm Barton Deakin (BD) celebrates its 10th anniversary this month.
Barton Deakin was created as a Coalition-aligned firm in 2009 and its team consists of former Ministers and Members of Parliament, Chiefs of Staff, Senior Policy Advisors, Senior Bureaucrats, Press Secretaries and party officials.
The firm was launched when the three most significant political divisions in Australia had Labor Governments. It was a calculated risk taken by STW at the time as most of Barton Deakin’s competitors did not launch until after the Coalition won elections. The early teams under founding Managing Director, Peter Collins, and Federal Director Grahame Morris, guided by STW Government Affairs veteran Justin Di Lollo, laid strong foundations for Barton Deakin to grab a “head start” after the Coalition snapped up Victoria, New South Wales, the Commonwealth and Queensland in rapid succession.
As the company rapidly expanded, Coalition veteran staffer Matthew Hingerty joined BD in August 2012 as its CEO.
According to Matthew Hingerty: “Those early years were not easy. It was in the thick of a number of inquiries and lobbyists didn’t have the best of reputations.
“Barton Deakin had plenty of detractors, but we stuck doggedly to our strategic plans, pipeline development and profile building. Success built success and Barton Deakin became the ‘go to’ organisation for senior Coalition figures seeking a career in lobbying,” he said.
The highlight for the Barton Deakin business came shortly before the 2014 South Australia Election, when Conservative Governments were in place in Australia, New Zealand and all Australian States expect South Australia and the ACT. Barton Deakin had hired a Director for South Australia – but the Liberals unexpectedly lost that election and rapidly lost Victoria, the Northern Territory, Queensland, West Australia and New Zealand.
While this was tough on Barton Deakin, it is where the Government and Public Relations model fostered by WPP AUNZ really shone. Hawker Britton stepped up and took the baton over from Barton Deakin where Labor had been elected. The client community embraced Barton Deakin’s relationship with Hawker Britton, , understanding they could get the best of all worlds – partisan lobbying by senior consultants in any given jurisdiction, under the one contract, no matter which political party was in power.
As the corporate world became more sensitive to corporate governance, the fact that Barton Deakin (and Hawker Britton) is extremely careful about its statutory obligations and is a signatory to the corporate governance ethics of WPP AUNZ, gave the most careful clients comfort that they could trust their lobbyists.
In June 2019, Matt Hingerty stepped down and handed the CEO reigns to Andrew Humpherson, a former NSW MP of 15 years.
According to Andrew Humpherson, CEO of Barton Deakin, “The Coalition Federal and NSW election wins this year has given the business a boost and the belief that it is in yet another expansive stage.
“It’s great to be part of an organisation that has been so successful and respected in both government, NGO and corporate circles. We know that we make a real difference,” he said.