Bruce Hawker is a leading campaign manager with 30 years experience advising leaders in business and politics. As MD of Campaigns & Communications, Bruce manages crises and plans and executes communications campaigns.

America and Australia: So Similar Yet So Different

Over the last few weeks I have had the opportunity to look at America and Americans up close.  An election which focused the attention of a nation for months was run and won. But within days all eyes were turned to two issues about which we had heard surprisingly little in the campaign - the "fiscal cliff" and the Middle East. The President allowed himself an evening of celebration and it was back to work. It seems that honeymoons are for the marriage - not the renewal of the vows.
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The Presidential Campaign Part 4: Polls, PACs and the People

In late 2010 I visited Washington to assess the likely impact on American political campaigning of a US Supreme Court decision known as "Citizens United". This decision paved the way for unrestricted fundraising by "independent" activists who set up Political Action Committees (PACs), Super PACs and other vehicles designed to get around US tax laws. Back then, every Democrat and union campaigner I spoke to was filled with dread. There was no way they could compete with the Republicans, [...]

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US election offers lessons aplenty for Libs and Labor

This op-ed originally appeared in today's Australian.

How much can Australian political campaigners learn from the recent US presidential election for their own media strategies, before next year's federal poll?

There is quite a lot. For years the major parties in Australia have been taking their [...]

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The Presidential Campaign Part 3: Political Discourse in the Times of Lincoln and Obama

Last week the new Steven Spielberg film, "Lincoln", opened in New York - just days after the re-election of the United States' first African-American President.

For anyone interested in the great, the awe inspiring and the terrible moments in American history, this film is essential viewing. And while I don't want to overstate the parallels, it also has a disturbingly contemporary feel  as it explores a rancorous Congress and a divided nation.

Spielberg's [...]

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Abbott Continues His Slide

I've been saying for quite a while that Tony Abbott is looking less and less likely to be Opposition Leader at the next election.

This week's Newspoll has his disapproval rating reaching an all time high of 63%. That's a higher dissatisfaction rating than Howard (59%) experienced just before he was dumped for Peacock, Hewson (58%) when replaced by Downer, Nelson (48%) when removed for Turnbull and Turnbull (50%) when Abbott knocked him over.

Everything we see [...]

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Lessons From the Presidential Campaign Part 2: Who Voted and What Does it Mean for the Republican Party?

Barack Obama won a second term by identifying those  groups who were "gettable" and then by going after their vote in a systematic way (I described this process in my last blog). But who were these "gettables" and why did they turn their backs on the [...]

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Lessons From the Presidential Campaign. Part One: So That's What You Get for $6 Billion

I've been in the States since just before election day trying to get a feel for the American political mood and how it was reflected in the election results.

I'm also interested in seeing what, if any, lessons there are for Australian politicians coming out of this remarkable campaign.

Over the next few days I will look at various aspects of the campaign and try to draw some tentative conclusions as to what all this means for Australian politics.

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Tony Abbott has that Sinking Feeling

The federal Opposition is on the slide and there is one standout reason – Tony Abbott.  It doesn’t matter what poll you read, the consistent message is that the electorate has tired of Abbott’s approach and worries about his views on important questions.

In a nutshell, the electorate is turned off by the impression that many of his beliefs just don't sit comfortably in the 21st century. There is nothing particularly new about this – Tony Abbott’s attitudes to a [...]

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Hurricane Sandy and the Role of Government

Hurricane Sandy hasn't just served to show the unimaginable force of nature, it has highlighted a fundamental philosophical difference between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.

In the United States national disaster relief is co-ordinated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). This means that FEMA has a critical role to play in the post-Sandy recovery.

Now a potentially major political problem is emerging for Romney in the last days of the Presidential [...]

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