Four top-level government advisors launch FMRS Advisory

18 March 2024 2 min. read
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Following their former boss’s political retirement in September, four of Victorian premier Dan Andrews’ top advisors have moved into the consulting realm.

A new multidisciplinary strategic consultancy – FMRS Advisory – has officially opened its doors in Melbourne, established by a quartet of former premier Daniel Andrews most trusted senior advisors, including long-time chief of staff Lissie Ratcliff.

She is joined in the new consulting venture by former deputy Jessie McCrone alongside ex-strategy and media directors Ben Foster and Adam Sims, the latter who departed the public sector in mid-2020.

Four top-level government advisors launch FMRS Advisory

Reflecting the diverse, high-level experience of its founders, FMRS Advisory will offer a range of consulting services spanning strategy planning and execution, organisational transformation, reputation and crisis management, and strategic communications and digital.

While the freshly launched consultancy firm has let it be known that it’s a traditional consultancy rather than lobbyist, it’s promotional materials state that “the intersection between politics, business, and policy is more complex than ever.”

In a somewhat dizzying flex, FMRS Advisory continues: “Our team has over 50 years of experience advising federal and state governments and business, with a hard-won track record of delivery in senior leadership roles across successful election campaigns, budgets, the pandemic, complex policy and regulatory challenges, emergencies and natural disasters, cyber attacks, major M&A transactions, corporate restructuring, leadership transition, and major project implementation.”

In response to the announcement, Australia’s centre-right newspapers have all shared a similar sentiment; that irrespective of one’s personal opinions on the Dan Andrews government – the second longest-running in Victoria this side of World War 2 – it was an undeniably effective political machine with a back office which got things done. The AFR even suggested Ratcliff and McCrone may have been the state’s two most influential operatives after Andrews.

Further commentary has focused on the ‘lobbying’ aspect – with a twelve-month cooling-off period in place for former state government executives and ministerial officers from spruiking on matters related to their previous remit – as well as the divisive nature of the late Andrews’ regime, which put certain sections of the local business community (read: potential FMRS customers) offside due to the strictness of its response to the global Covid-19 pandemic.

Returned to power for a third term in 2022’s landslide election victory, the government was highly successful however at shrugging off the criticisms of a vocal minority and relentless Murdoch press, and of course its most senior advisors will have no qualms about highlighting that connection. In turn, it’s imagined those same detractors will also be keen to draw attention to any future contracts FMRS Advisory lands with the state or Labor federal governments.