The Inside Word

Team of Rivals

I tend to do people’s heads in. It’s mostly unintentional, but sometimes for fun. I’m an Anglican priest and have been politically active since I was a kid. I grew up in the bush but have become urbanised with a ridiculous coffee order. I am a graduate of journalism, political science, theology, and the Australian Institute of Company Directors. I love piano concertos and AC/DC.

While a walking contradiction in terms of cultural expectations, this makes me a perfect fit as LNP-aligned, working alongside ALP-aligned colleagues in the nation’s first non-partisan public affairs agency, The SAS Group. Long before Pyne was doing yoga on LinkedIn, the SAS Group drew together a diverse group of experienced, talented, and passionate political and media professionals with the express purpose of achieving great outcomes for clients.

I’m often asked how we all get along in the office. The answer: “well, because we’re all grown-ups”. Well, most of us are grown-ups.

We humans feel safe and in control when we can put things in boxes, but life doesn’t work in straight lines. Business must be agile, or it goes broke. Government must be responsive, or it gets turfed out of office. Change is the only constant and in recent decades that change has been rapid and existential. The best response is one open to creative tension and genuine diversity.

In her excellent book, Team of Rivals, U.S. Presidential Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin recounts the remarkable capacity of Abraham Lincoln to draw together a cabinet composed of an otherwise unlikely group of humans.

As civil war tore his nation apart, President Lincoln formed a cabinet of Democrats and Republicans and Independents, southerners and northerners – including all his major rivals for the Republican Presidential nomination.

For 15 years, the great strength of The SAS Group has been our team of rivals. A mix of red and blue folk in the room is actually fantastic for client representation. Our capacity to refine an argument for diverse audiences, identify the most appropriate policy response in complex situations, and work alongside a wide range of clients, politicians, journalists, and public servants is second to none because our work is informed by different voices and experiences.

Your world is nuanced. Our SAS Group team of rivals reflects that and stands ready to navigate those waters with you.

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