Choosing someone to lead his troops into battle, this is Napoleon’s oft-quoted musing: ‘I know he’s a good general, but is he lucky?’
Laurie Patton is a public interest advocacy and communications practitioner. He is a former political advisor, journalist, television producer and media executive – managing Seven Sydney, then the largest television station in the country, and Seven Queensland, which he took from the perennial number two spot to become the highest rating regional television network in Australia.
Following university and a stint in the Commonwealth Public Service Laurie became an advisor to the late Frank Walker when he was NSW Attorney-General and Minister for Aboriginal Affairs – writing speeches and overseeing policy development across a range of portfolios.
Laurie subsequently began a career as a television journalist / producer. He worked for each of the three Australian commercial television networks – reporting live from Los Angeles for Network Ten following the Rodney King riots. For the Seven Network, he covered the historic London CHOGM conference that imposed economic sanctions leading to the end of apartheid in South Africa, became the first dedicated finance reporter on commercial television, and worked in Seven’s Canberra political bureau. He later became Seven’s executive in charge of news and current affairs.
Prior to returning to Seven as a senior executive Laurie created the World Movies pay TV channel and was a founding director of the subscription television industry association now called ASTRA. He was the inaugural chief executive of community station TVS (Television Sydney) and a co-founder of the Australian Community Television Alliance.
Laurie was an expert panel member for a review of the Indigenous broadcasting and media sector and was engaged as a special advisor to Communications minister Stephen Conroy, on whose behalf he negotiated an agreement for SBS to take over the National Indigenous Television channel in order to provide free-to-air transmission and saving NITV from impending financial collapse.
He has served on for-profit and not-for-profit boards, including Sky News Australia, the Heart Foundation, where he chaired the national marketing committee, and the NSW Film & Television Office (now part of Create NSW). As deputy chair of the FTO Laurie organised and led the first official Australian delegation of film makers to the Shanghai Film Festival and initiated negotiations leading to an Australia-China film co-production agreement.
Laurie is active in the not-for-profit sector, with roles including CEO / Executive Director of Internet Australia, the NFP peak body representing the interests of Internet users – spearheading the campaign for #BetterBroadband and earning the epithet the country’s most vocal NBN critic.
For nearly two decades he has been a consultant providing advice on issues management, marketing and communications, business development, stakeholder and community engagement and government relations.
An accomplished MC, conference facilitator and interviewer, Laurie is available through Saxtons.
‘When the generals talk you better listen to him!’ …MIDNIGHT OIL