Key People

Stephen Newnham

One of the new breed of political party directors, Stephen Newnham has played a pivotal role in key
ALP election successes at a state and federal level for close to two decades.

As State Secretary of the Victorian branch of the ALP, Stephen masterminded Steve Bracks’ landslide
election win in 2006 during which he was the party’s campaign director and strategist.

Stephen also co-ordinated Labor’s victorious 2007 federal election campaign in Victoria. It saw Victoria
achieve the highest proportion of ALP seats in any mainland state.

Stephen’s uncompromising, clear-headed style is characterised by a determination to achieve success,
sometimes through the use of unorthodox and innovative campaign ideas not previously seen in Australian elections.

Methods developed during Stephen’s four-year tenure as state director include successful trials of the
first market-based and intuitive polling used in Australian politics.

His unflappable results-driven philosophy paid dividends for the Labor Party in a string of watershed
by-elections including the Albert Park and Williamstown wins in 2007 and the Kororoit win in 2008.

During his 17-year association with the Labor Party, Stephen has worked as a senior adviser to the
current Treasurer, John Lenders, and as an adviser to the then Treasurer and Minister for Regional
Development and now Premier John Brumby.

While working for John Brumby, Stephen was responsible for regional development, decentralisation
and other treasury special projects. They included the establishment of the Regional Infrastructure
Development Fund, public sector relocations and the deregulation of the export barley market.

During Stephen’s time with John Lenders he was responsible for insurance, superannuation, property
and procurement. He played a leading role in the trail-blazing public liability insurance reforms
implemented in Victoria during 2004.

Stephen has extensive contacts with senior ALP figures across the political spectrum at both a state
and federal level. He has also developed strong bonds with key figures in the Victorian business community.

Unusually for a Labor operative, Stephen’s formative years were spent on a cattle farm in Gippsland and
his understanding of regional Australia has contributed to the Victorian ALP’s achievement of holding a
high number of regional seats.

Stephen’s background, political experience and innovative polling techniques give him a rare
combination that can deliver both pin-point analysis and ways to achieve effective results.

Rick Brown

In the front-line of Australia’s top political strategists, Rick Brown has a reputation across the
political divide for being a first-rate analyst, thinker and communicator.

He is a proven tactician and organiser and over three decades has been the behind-the-scenes
architect of many highly successful and effective campaigns and strategies.

A lawyer by training, Rick Brown’s early career was spent in Papua New Guinea’s Department of
Foreign Affairs and Trade. He also worked in the Australian trade union movement for a decade
as an official and advocate.

Rick was national secretary of the Council for the National Interest, an organisation established
by a group of eminent Australians including Sir Arvi Parbo, Peter Henderson, Sir Charles Court,
Dame Leonie Kramer, Laurie Short and Bob Santamaria to raise awareness of long-term challenges
facing Australia. He was also the founding editor of the specialist quarterly journal Australia and World Affairs.

Rick was a member of the RMIT Council for 13 years and a director of the university’s commercial
company during a period of great expansion and successfully led the opposition to a federal- and
state-government sponsored amalgamation with two other institutions.

In 1999 Rick became Victorian director of the “No Republic” campaign; he personally devised the
“Vote No to the Politicians’ Republic” slogan, and played a lead national role in the ultimate defeat
of the referendum.

Subsequently Rick worked as an adviser to Russell Savage, one of the three Independent MPs who held sway during the first term of the Bracks Government.

During this period, he helped influence key decisions such as the structure of Victoria’s Legislative
Council and instigate landmark pieces of legislation, including terminal gate pricing.

Rick played a pivotal role in devising and implementing the timber campaign in the 2004 federal
election which culminated in the celebrated Launceston rally.

In recent years Rick worked as an adviser to Senator Nick Minchin and as a senior adviser to Kevin Andrews.

Rick is actively involved in the affairs of the Anglican Church of Melbourne, and has served on
committees responsible for identifying and short-listing candidates for position of Archbishop
of Melbourne when it has become vacant.

line