About Greg Rudd
Most things in life come down to people. Hence I’ll introduce myself.
I was raised on a dairy farm between Eumundi and Noosa in Queensland, Australia. I enjoyed the simplicity of country and beach life. I learnt one of life’s great lessons as a surf lifesaver. If you panic you die.
At 13 I begged to go to boarding school in Brisbane. The joy of warming bare feet in cow manure on the farm at 4.00am each morning was wearing thin. Tragically my dad was killed in a car crash the following year and mum retrained as a nurse to keep food on the table. She was the epitome of a mum who sacrificed all for her kids.
I took a voluntary break from teacher's college to hitch-hike down the east coast of Australia. I felt I didn't know enough about life to be a teacher. Over a two year period I worked as a labourer, encyclopaedia salesman, tyre re-treader, junior accounts clerk, meat lumper and railway shunter.
On completing teacher's college I asked to be posted to the most northern tip of Australia. Instead I got posted a hundred yards up the road. I was immediately restless. I'd been writing draft plays, novels and short stories during my travels and college. I even wrote poetry and sold children scripts to ABC radio. My interest in why people do the things they do and react the way they do had been piqued early.
I talked my way into the Queensland Theatre Company as a seconded actor/writer. I travelled in a Ford Transit van (designated driver) around Queensland with five theatre professionals working in high schools and youth theatres. Good days. This led me to a lecturing job at what’s now Central Queensland University which in turn led me to a lecturing job at what’s now Queensland University of Technology which in turn led me to becoming General Manager of a professional theatre company.
I was asked by the Education Department to try my teaching methods, much role play and writing, with non-compliant students in some tough schools. The work and results were rewarding. However it taught me no matter how good the teaching, if the home life is dysfunctional, it makes things very difficult for even willing kids. Decades later I formed the same view about politics. If the structure within which parliamentary democracy operates is limiting (which it is), then the outcomes it produces will be disappointing no matter how decent the individual politician.
I accepted a post to start the Theatre and Film & TV Courses at several secondary schools. I wrote fiction, taught, directed, acted, organised conferences, contributed to curriculum and thoroughly enjoyed my teaching and performing arts years but was looking for another challenge.
I applied to the Federal Police and ASIO as a mature recruit. At the same time I interviewed for a Chief of Staff Job with an Assistant Minister in the Hawke/Keating Government in Canberra. The Federal Police accepted me and earmarked me for hostage negotiation. I accepted the Chief-of-Staff job so entered the world of politics. I quickly discovered politics was another form of theatre, all about people, plot lines, power, perception, loyalty and betrayal with the pursuit of noble goals and self interest inextricably linked.
For six years I worked in various portfolios and grew to understand how politics works on the inside. I dealt heavily with the media, factions, political parties, committees, negotiated legislation through both Houses, worked on campaigns and dealt with peak bodies, lobbyists and other levels of Government. I learnt heaps, made mistakes, had successes and made many friends on all sides of politics.
My greatest takeout from those years in Government was a feeling of surprise. Surprise that the country runs as well as it does knowing how dysfunctional the decision making process often is behind the scenes.
After leaving Government I was asked to be the General Manager of the Queensland Ballet. My brief was to manage the press, obtain more funding from Government and increase corporate sponsorship. I achieved all but by now was more interested in the interaction between business and government and how to get the best outcomes for Australia.
From 1996 to 2007 I ran and owned Open Door Consulting, Queensland's first specialist political lobbying consultancy. During that decade I worked with hundreds of business clients big and small, foreign and local, who needed professional interaction with government at all levels. I joined the Australian Institute of Company Directors and did their national and international courses. I love the intellectual engagement of working in many industry sectors. While the content may be different the strategies to get results are similar.
As an interest I opened a restaurant with two friends. The walls were adorned with political front pages and caricatures from newspapers. Pages Restaurant was launched by the Deputy Premier and the Deputy Leader of the Opposition with hundreds of guests from all sides of politics and business. I am known as independent and bipartisan in terms of politics.
My favourite charity is the Hear & Say Centre where Dr Dimity Dornan, the founder nationally and internationally, works tirelessly to eradicate deafness in Australia and around the world. Watching a kid’s face with Dimity when the implant is first switched on is uniquely moving.
In 2007 my brother Kevin became Prime Minister. I sold Open Door Consulting and moved to Beijing. In a democracy you can’t have one brother as a Prime Minister and the other a political lobbyist. In some parts of the world you’d make a fortune being related to the country’s leader but not Australia.
I started an investment advisory consultancy in Beijing, now GPR Advisory, with my son Lachlan and a Singaporean-Chinese business partner. I travelled extensively throughout China while continuing to interact with Australia, Papua New Guinea and other parts of the Asian Region. I was asked to join the UNESCO board of INRULED in Beijing due to my education background and have been to numerous UNESCO events in Paris and globally. During those days of the Financial Crisis (not over yet) political and business leaders from around the world were coming to Beijing looking for a lifeline. I learnt far more about world politics and business based out of Beijing than I ever did living in Australia.
Years later I re-based myself in Canberra while continuing to travel extensively throughout Australia, the Asia Pacific, Europe and South America with South America growing as a good hedge for Australian companies looking to expand abroad. The PNG economy, on Australia’s northern border, will also grow strongly over the next decade. How well this growth is managed will shape the future of this enormously rich and enormously tribal country.
With an increasing global view I am convinced the Australian Parliament is functioning poorly in terms of getting the best long term economic outcomes for Australia. In 2013 I ran as an independent Senate candidate to voice my concerns and to suggest ways for the Australian Federal Parliament to structurally improve itself to get better outcomes.
I continue to lead a rich and rewarding life with normal character building ups and downs. I’ve had two enriching relationships. My wife Lorraine of 19 years gave me two wonderful and very grounded children. Lachlan (27) speaks Mandarin, has worked in China, and after completing his Masters in Mathematics is now building mathematical models for CSIRO in Canberra. Emily (25) has completed a Journalism Degree followed by a Law Degree and is now an ambitious lawyer with national law firm Thomson Geer in Brisbane.
My second wife Okhola of 10 years, a black African woman from Botswana, opened my eyes to that great and varied continent full of history, pain and potential. Okhola gave me the privilege of meeting many wonderful people, rich and poor, powerful and impotent, so I could see Australia and the world through the eyes of yet another culture. With her Masters in Psychology Okhola is now working successfully back in Gaborone in the recruitment sector.
Life has taught me many things. People have power over you only if you let them. Hate and jealousy are wasted energies. Unintended consequences consume much of our time. Life is too short not to enjoy what we do. Money rarely makes you a better person. Not being able to pay your bills sucks. Few people in the world are truly trustworthy so when you find them hang on tight. Children enrich you. Don’t be too judgemental, we’re all fallible. Own things don’t let things own you. Power corrupts and too much power absolutely corrupts. A sense of humour is vital. Focus on the good things in people. Live each day as though it’s your last because one day you’re sure to be right. Never say things can’t get worse because they can.
I enjoy devising strategies to get outcomes. I hate process for process sake. In Australia we call that ‘arse covering’. I’ve built good networks over decades in politics, business and the media. I know how to leverage to meet people if they aren’t in my network. I enjoy working with clients, onshore or offshore, who want to invest and do business in Australia. I enjoy working with Australian clients who want to invest and grow their business offshore. I have few enemies and many friends. My rates are modest. When you hire me you get me not someone else. I have access to a tight and skilled group of professional consultants to form a project team if required.
I enjoy what I do so call or email me to discuss any project where you think I may value add. I’ll tell you if I can or can’t assist. We’ve all got better things to do than lie to each other. Call day or night as we live in a global community and few things stand in isolation. I promise to respond within 24 hours if you can’t get me immediately.
Email: email@example.com Cell: +61419724654