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.

Vale Nelson Mandela: Freedom Fighter and Healer

One of my most valued possessions is a photograph of a gently smiling Nelson Mandela holding my baby son. It was at Parliament House in Sydney in 1990. Mandela had only recently been released after 27 years in prison and this was his first visit to Australia. Sydneysiders had come out in their tens of thousands to line the streets and hopefully catch a glimpse of the man whose personality and courage was transforming a nation from institutionalised racism to a [...]

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NZ Labour Party Membership Increases by 25% with Rank and File Election of Leader

By Guest Blogger Tim Barnett, New Zealand Labour's General Secretary

On 22 August 2013 I was in Melbourne, a guest of the ALP observing the recent election, when New Zealand Labour's Chief Whip emailed me that our Party leader David Shearer was about to resign. That triggered for the first time a new process in our Party that had been put in place almost a year ago. In New Zealand's multi-party electoral environment some smaller [...]

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A Leadership Ballot for Labor Leader is Critically Important if the Party is to Grow

It is critically important to the future of the Australian Labor Party that there is a rank and file vote for the next Leader. If the Party is to grow it must broaden its base. The best way of doing that is to give branch members a say in who their next Parliamentary Leader will be.

The reforms that Kevin Rudd introduced in July this year create two electoral colleges within the Labor Party to elect the Parliamentary Leader. 50% of the vote will come from [...]

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Julia Gillard: bureaucratic language plus polly-slogans ends in a failure to connect

My blog back in February about the dearth of great political speeches in Australia struck a chord with former ABC correspondent, David Hardaker. David began his professional career as a speechwriter in NSW and then Canberra in the early 80s before crossing into journalism.  He has penned a guest blog  in which he analyses the style of PM, Julia Gillard, and zeroes in on [...]

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Rudd is the Libs' sum of all fears

This article originally appeared in today's Daily Telegraph.

In recent days there has been a discernible rise in aggressive anti-Rudd rhetoric by those most concerned about a return to the Labor leadership by the former prime minister.

This is despite the fact that Kevin Rudd has made it clear there will be no [...]

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Men and Women of Australia: The Decline of Great Speech Making

The first time I voted in an election was 1974. Gough Whitlam was about to be re-elected just 18 months after his historic 1972 victory. Like most of my friends, I was keen to see Labor returned and was caught up in a suitably watered down Australian version of a personality cult as we pulled behind the  Whitlam Government. When I heard that he was going to address a midweek evening rally on Brisbane's north side, I had no hesitation in heading off to see the helmsman speak.

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To Win, Labor Must Make Good Use of Its Best Weapon: Tony Abbott

This op-ed originally appeared in today's Daily Telegraph.

Australia's longest ever election campaign has kicked off and frankly, day two could not have been worse for Julia Gillard. The arrest of Central Coast MP, Craig Thomson, has only gone to reinforce Labor's bad image in NSW where the ICAC inquiry into Eddie Obeid and his family dominates daily news bulletins. The added problem for federal Labor is that the election will be won and lost in NSW - particularly [...]

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Gillard Announces Election Date for 14 September. Much Ado About Nothing?

Julia Gillard's early announcement of the election date - 14 September - is unprecedented in Australia. Because of this fact it has excited huge media interest. It certainly took me by surprise because the biggest tactical advantage incumbents have in elections is in not disclosing the date until the last minute. Now the Opposition can plan every aspect of its campaign right down to the political advertising placements in 7 months time. Usually oppositions are forced to plan for various [...]

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Cameron Plays the Howard Card

As soon as I heard that British Prime Minister, David Cameron, had made a speech proposing a referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union, I was reminded of John Howard’s 2001 campaign against Labor where he adopted a hard line on refugees at a time when his Government was floundering in the polls. Howard’s attack started with his decision to turn back the “Tampa”, a ship which had rescued refugees from waters to our north. Howard’s actions were in direct response to [...]

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We the People: the Citizen President's Inauguration Speech

President Barack Obama's second inauguration speech left me in no doubt of his commitment to egalitarianism. His references to immigrants, women, gays and collective responsibility to achieve access for all to health care and education spelled out a vision he will strive to realise in the coming four years. It’s a vision he will struggle to achieve in the face of ongoing trenchant opposition from the ideologues who still hold sway in the Republican Party.

His speech was [...]

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