"While firms such as Hawker Britton and Barton Deakin live and die by their politics, others position themselves as bipartisan operators who can deal with both Labor and Liberal governments.""Grahame [Morris] had no role in the campaign so it's hard to imagine he'll have any influence at all," Textor said. "'The days of people winking and nodding and saying 'I've got influence' are over. Today, clients want people with campaigning and research expertise." Another well-resourced firm with impeccable Liberal connections is CapitalHill Advisory, registered in March by NSW Liberal powerbroker Michael Photios. CapitalHill has a team of former Howard staffers including Nick Campbell, Claire Dawson, Chris Stone and Kate Blunden. "We're all basically from Coalition backgrounds," said Campbell, the firm's chairman. "We do describe ourselves as a Coalition-aligned firm." Campbell is hoping for a friendlier approach to business -- and their spruikers -- from an Abbott government. "One of the faults of the Rudd and Gillard governments was they stopped listening to a range of stakeholders," he said. "The consultation before major policy decisions was not thorough. Good government is about having maximum inputs into the policy process so government can make the best possible decision." Peter Costello's boutique lobbying firm, ECG Advisory Solutions, is another to watch. Former Costello advisers David Gazard and Jonathan Epstein are on board as directors, and ECG already boasts Wesfarmers, Westpac and Serco Asia Pacific on its list of clients. Former foreign affairs minister Alexander Downer remains a partner at Bespoke Approach, the firm he co-founded with former Jeff Kennett adviser Ian Smith and Labor minister Nick Bolkus. Howard government finance minister Nick Minchin recently joined Bespoke, which lobbies for a small, but high-powered, set of clients including Xstrata. While firms such as Hawker Britton and Barton Deakin live and die by their politics, others position themselves as bipartisan operators who can deal with both Labor and Liberal governments. These include Government Relations Australia, whose staffers span the political divide and which boasts a client list of 51. The firm recently brought on former Howard government minister Helen Coonan as a co-chair, alongside former Labor Treasurer John Dawkins. Bipartisan firm Kreab Gavin Anderson still has 39 clients on the lobbyists register -- including Santos, BlueScope Steel and Australia Post -- but has been damaged by the mass departure of staff to a breakaway firm. Newgate, staffed mainly by former KGA employees, already has Google and the Commonwealth Bank on its client list. Controversial Howard-era senator Santo Santoro, who quit after a share-trading scandal, will also be hoping to expand his small list of federal clients following a Coalition victory. Hawker Britton's Simon Banks expects a raft of individuals touting Liberal connections to set up shop in Canberra -- and quickly fade away. "In 2007 a whole bunch of Labor-aligned firms sought to establish a presence in Canberra. We found they rapidly burnt off; one by one we saw a good half of our competitors fall by the wayside on our first term. Those who operated on a fly-in fly-out basis or who had their heavy hitters in other states with junior people in Canberra didn't succeed," he said.
Open for business: Lib flacks rush to Canberra to lobby Abbott
The election of an Abbott government has led to an influx of Liberal-aligned lobbyists to Canberra. Matthew Knott profiles the biggest players -- and it turns out they're not all getting along.