Our people

The strength of GRA’s offering emanates from the experience and standing of its people, with backgrounds in both government and the private sector.  The firm has an overtly bipartisan and collaborative culture that is focused on providing clients with strategic insight and high standards of professional service. 

 

Hon. John Dawkins AO Co-Chair ~ Government Relations Australia

Hon. John Dawkins AO Co-Chair

John’s extensive contribution to Australian public life and policy development over three decades equips him with unique insight and perspective in assisting GRA’s clients across a range of industry sectors.  


John served for 18 years in the House of Representatives for the Australian Labor Party and from 1983 to 1994, was a member of the governments of both Bob Hawke and Paul Keating as Finance Minister, Trade Minister, Employment, Education and Training Minister, and finally, Treasurer.


John left politics in 1994 to pursue a career in business and since that time, a number of Australian and overseas businesses have sought his advice on strategic issues, especially relating to trade and investment.  John is frequently asked to advise international agencies and has previously provided counsel to the World Bank and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).  John also holds board appointments with several public and private organisations, including Integrated Legal Holdings Ltd (chair), the National Skills Standards Council (chair), the Australian Qualifications Framework Council (chair), and the Institute for International Trade (Board of Governors, chair).

Hon. Helen Coonan Co-Chair ~ Government Relations Australia

Hon. Helen Coonan Co-Chair

With a distinguished career in the Australian Senate which spanned 15 years, Helen provides the GRA team and its clients with extensive insight and experience across a range of industry sectors.
 
Based in Sydney, Helen was a member of the Howard Ministry from 2001, where she held the portfolios of Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Revenue. She later served in Cabinet as Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts until 2007, and joined the Coalition Leadership Team when appointed Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate.
 
Since leaving politics in 2011, Helen has been appointed to a number of board and advisory roles in the corporate sector, including JP Morgan, Crown Resorts Limited, Snowy Hydro Limited, Aon Risk Services Australia, the Sydney Opera House Trust, and Obesity Australia.


Les Timar Managing Director ~ Government Relations Australia

Les Timar Managing Director

Les Timar is GRA’s Managing Director; a position he has held since 1996.  Based in Sydney, Les is responsible for the management of the company and is a key player in the firm’s strategic and business development as well as marketing. 

Les broadly contributes to client strategies and government engagement programs on which the firm advises, in addition to directly managing a number of longstanding client relationships.  His experience with GRA involves advising clients on major asset sales, legislative change, regulatory approvals and government inquiry processes across most industry sectors. 

A lawyer by training, Les held a senior position with an Australian property and infrastructure development company before joining GRA.  He also served as a Senior Ministerial Adviser to the NSW Government in the late 1980s/early 1990s.

Richard King Director ~ Government Relations Australia

Richard King Director

Based in GRA’s Melbourne office, Richard provides the firm’s clients with insight and advice based on his extensive experience in both government and private sector roles.  His strong background in economic policy provides a solid base for the counsel he provides to clients across a broad range of industries.

Over recent years, Richard has worked with clients in the financial services, health, automotive, professional services and natural resources sectors.  Richard’s advice has spanned issues including major legislative reforms, competition policy issues, foreign investment policy and regulatory approvals.  He also has significant experience with political and regulatory issues in the UK, Ireland and New Zealand.

Prior to joining GRA, Richard spent eight years in a variety of senior advisory roles to the Federal Coalition, predominantly in the economic portfolios, including as a Senior Political Adviser within the Tax Reform Unit (Office of the Treasurer).

He also spent over five years as head of government relations and industry affairs with one of Australia’s largest banks.

Richard holds degrees in Business and Arts from Monash University, where he majored in Politics and Psychology.

Kirsten Mulley Director ~ Government Relations Australia

Kirsten Mulley Director

Based in the firm’s Sydney office, Kirsten leverages her decade-long career in both the NSW public sector and political offices across a range of portfolios to advise GRA’s clients in relation to Federal and NSW Government issues and opportunities.  This involves her working with clients in the health, energy, education, social services, professional services, transportation and leisure sectors.

Kirsten has served in a number of senior roles in the NSW Government, including as a Senior Adviser to the Premier (with a focus on Environment, Climate Change and Water), and in senior political and policy positions in the Health, Education, Community Services, Transport and Police portfolios.

Her previous experience also includes a number of government agency communications and media roles.

Kirsten holds a Masters Degree in Public Policy from the University of Sydney and a Bachelor of Arts (English) from the University of Newcastle.

Alex Cramb Director ~ Government Relations Australia

Alex Cramb Director

Based in GRA’s Sydney office, Alex advises clients in relation to Federal Government issues.

Alex is a highly experienced government and issues management specialist who immediately before joining GRA, served as Communications Director for the NSW Premier, the Hon. Nathan Rees MP.  Over a seven year period, Alex has held a number of senior roles in both state and federal politics, including as Chief of Staff to the Federal Minister for Home Affairs, Communication Director for the ALP’s 2007 federal election campaign, and as a Media Adviser to then Opposition Leader the Hon. Kevin Rudd MP.

Prior to working with the NSW Premier, Alex served as a Senior Ministerial Adviser across a number of portfolios, including Attorney-General, Environment, Emergency Services and the Arts.
Before his direct involvement in government, Alex ran his own custom publishing and communications consultancy and worked in a range of roles in issues management, communications, publishing and journalism.

 

Paul Bini Director ~ Government Relations Australia

Paul Bini Director

Based in Brisbane, Paul provides strategic and policy advice to clients in relation to Federal and Queensland Government issues.  His extensive political and policy experience in a number of different Australian jurisdictions enables him to add substantial value to clients across a range of industry sectors and contexts.

Paul previously served the Queensland Government as Chief of Staff to ministers responsible for the Attorney-General and Justice, Education, Arts and Western Queensland portfolios.  His service with the Queensland Government was preceded by three years with the Victorian Labor Government in the Justice portfolio, and six years advising the then Federal Labor Opposition.  His time in Federal Parliament also includes significant experience across a range of portfolio areas.

Paul has degrees in law and economics and holds a Master of Business Administration.

Tim Ryan Director ~ Government Relations Australia

Tim Ryan Director

With a strong background in politics and public policy, Tim leads client projects involving the Federal and South Australian Governments.  He works in GRA’s Adelaide office with clients in the infrastructure, education, technology, agriculture, ICT and resources industries.

Tim previously served as a Policy Adviser to a former South Australian Premier, as well as in a number of management and research roles with South Australian parliamentary standing committees.  Outside of the government sector, Tim also served as Director of Development with Carnegie Mellon University (Adelaide) during the establishment phase of the institution.

Tim is an economics graduate from the University of Adelaide.

Luke Myers Associate Director ~ Government Relations Australia

Luke Myers Associate Director

Luke is an Associate Director in GRA’s Brisbane office with a strong background in politics and stakeholder engagement programs.  He provides strategy and policy advice to clients in relation to Federal and Queensland Government issues.

Prior to joining GRA, Luke worked for one of Queensland’s leading communications consultancies where he provided high-level strategic advice, managed issues and delivered results across a range of diverse sectors such as infrastructure, professional services, finance, health and education.
Luke has also served as a Policy Adviser to several Liberal Members of Parliament across all levels of government, and has worked for government agencies in various communication roles in both Australia and the United Kingdom.

Luke is a certified IAP2 practitioner with certificates from the International Association of Public Participation (IAP2) in Planning for Effective Public Participation, Effective Communication for Public Participation and Techniques for Effective Public Participation.

Luke is a graduate of the University of Queensland where he completed a Bachelor of Arts with a Major in Political Science.


 

Sean Johnson Associate Director ~ Government Relations Australia

Sean Johnson Associate Director

Based in Sydney, Sean works with clients on NSW and Federal Government issues.

For much of the past 15 years, Sean has worked in various ministerial advisory roles to the Coalition covering the Industry, Resources, Tourism and Treasury portfolios at federal level, and also with the then NSW Opposition as an adviser to the Hon. Barry O'Farrell MP.

Sean has policy experience in a diverse range of industry areas in both government and non-government areas, including innovation, venture capital, industry policy, pharmaceuticals, financial services and e-health. He has also worked as a public policy adviser in Sydney and London for private corporations involved in PPPs and government service delivery.

Sean holds a Masters Degree in International Relations from the University of Sydney and a Bachelor of Business from Charles Sturt University.

Brent Crockford Associate Director ~ Government Relations Australia

Brent Crockford Associate Director

Based in the Melbourne office, Brent is primarily responsible for providing advice and analysis to clients on Victorian Government affairs.

Brent’s previous policy and political involvement includes five years as an Adviser to a Federal Coalition Shadow Minister in portfolios including Education, Treasury, and Broadband and Communications.  He has also worked in the office of a Victorian State Coalition Shadow Minister and Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Legislative Council).

Additionally, Brent has had experience in advising political campaigns at both state and federal level.

Brent is a graduate of the University of Melbourne where he completed a Bachelor of Arts degree with a Major in Politics.

Kary Petersen Associate Director ~ Government Relations Australia

Kary Petersen Associate Director

Based in the firm’s Sydney office, Kary advises clients in relation to NSW and Federal Government issues.
Kary has extensive media and policy experience from both government and non-government sectors across a range of industries, including infrastructure, transport, tourism, local government, energy, housing, and water.
Prior to joining GRA, Kary worked in a variety of senior advisory roles in the NSW Government and NSW Opposition. His previous experience also includes a senior strategy and advocacy role for a national industry association, and policy adviser for a Federal Government agency.
Kary holds a Graduate Diploma in International Relations (International Law) from Deakin University and a Bachelor of Social Science (Political Science) from Macquarie University.

 

Nick Xerakias Associate Director ~ Government Relations Australia

Nick Xerakias Associate Director

Having recently joined GRA’s Melbourne office, Nick provides strategy and policy advice to clients primarily relating to Federal Government issues.
Nick previously served as a Senior Policy Adviser to the Prime Minister, the Hon. Tony Abbott MP, during the transition to government period. From 2009, he served as a Senior Adviser in the Opposition Leader’s office covering a range of portfolio areas, including Resources and Energy, Climate Change, Environment, Agriculture and Water. 
Earlier in his career, Nick worked as an Adviser in the Howard Government in the Employment, Family and Community Services, and Health portfolios. Additionally, Nick has experience in both federal and state political campaign management, and spent several years as a director of a pension consulting firm based in Greece.


 

Laura Turnley Associate

Laura is an Associate in GRA’s Adelaide office providing advice to clients across a range of industries, including the not-for-profit sector, on South Australia Government matters. 
She has previously worked in the human resources consulting sector and most recently, as a Portfolio Adviser to the South Australian Shadow Treasurer. 

Laura recently graduated from Flinders University with a Bachelor of Business and a Bachelor of International Studies, which included a period studying international politics at Hong Kong University.