Lynton Crosby, the man responsible for multiple election wins for John Howard and mastermind behind David Cameron’s thumping 2015 victory, has been named Australian of the Year in the UK.
In accepting the award at Australia House in London on Friday, the celebrated political tactician said the honour was further proof that “Australians punch above their weight in London, in all sorts of walks of life.”
“I think there’s a tolerance from the British towards the directness that Australians have, so perhaps you can sometimes get away with saying and doing things a little more directly and a little more forcefully,” the 59-year-old said.
Australia’s high commissioner to the UK, Alexander Downer, who was a long-serving foreign minister in the Howard government, saluted Crosby’s achievements in working “front and centre in the firmament of British politics”.
“He has had a huge impact here in the UK. Of course he’s worked as a hired gun for the Conservative Party, not for the Labour Party,” Downer said, responding to cronyism accusations from the left of Australian politics.
“At the end of the day he’s the man who crafted a campaign that has led to the existence of the present government in the UK, and in that sense he’s a very important person.”
Lynton Crosby – or now more accurately, Sir Lynton Crosby – attracted controversy when he was awarded a UK knighthood in the recent New Year’s Honours List for his work with the British Conservatives, with critics also labelling it an act of cronyism.