Peter Baines

Onya Soapbox

Peter Baines

Peter Baines OAM, is one of Australia’s leadership experts having road tested leadership the hard way. Peter spent 22 years with the NSW Police leading teams in response to acts of terrorism and natural disasters on a scale not previously seen. Peter was part of the leadership team that responded to Bali after the bombings in 2002 and was deployed in 2005 to lead international teams in response to the Tsunami of December 26, 2004 in South East Asia. Peter headed up multiple rotations into Thailand leading international teams in the identification process of those who died. All the time his leadership theories were tested in this trying environment.

Creating sustainable leadership became a passion of his after witnessing the devastating effects of the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami. He was deeply touched by the number of children left orphaned by the disaster and was inspired to set up an organisation that could make a significant difference in the lives of these children. In late 2005, “Hands Across the Water” was formed to raise funds for, and awareness of, the children of Thailand who were left orphaned. Today “Hands Across the Water” is one of Australia’s fastest growing charities, having raised over ten million Australian dollars without spending one cent of donor’s money on administrative costs since its inception. With this they have built several orphanages, purchased a rubber plantation to ensure a sustainable and regular income, constructed a medical and community centre in the Khao Lak region of Thailand and currently have a further three building projects under construction across three different sites. “Hands Across the Water” now has operations in seven different locations within Thailand and provide a home to several hundred children every night. The success of the charity is focusing on creating meaningful experiences which lead to deep engagement.

His final years with the NSW Police were spent on secondment to the National Institute of Forensic Science where he worked on national and international capacity building projects around counter terrorism and leadership. He spent time advising Interpol in France and the United Nations Office of Drug and Crime in South East Asia. Peter was engaged by the Government of Saudi Arabia following the deadly floods in Jeddah, to review their response and provide advice concerning crisis mitigation and leadership. In 2011 he deployed into Japan in response to the tsunami that would claim thousands of lives there.

Peter has received various awards including an Order of Australia Medal in 2014, for his International Humanitarian work, Australian of the Year NSW Finalist for 2010, Thought Leaders Socialpreneur of the year 2008 and being the first Australian to be awarded the international honour of a Rotary Professional Excellence Award in 2008. He received the NSW Police Service Medal and the Australian Federal Police Operations Medal, for his work in Asia. He was the first NSW Police Officer to be awarded the Humanitarian Overseas Service Medal and Australian National Medal. He has completed university studies in Law, Forensic Science and post graduate studies in Management.

Today Peter spends his time helping businesses build effective Sustainable Leadership programs through the unique mix of his leadership and corporate social responsibility initiatives. He continues to lead the international charity that he founded and spends a good portion of his time overseas building capacity. When he is not doing that, or travelling the globe speaking on the circuit as an in demand keynote speaker, he consults to organisations building positive cash flow CSR programs through the concept of creating Shared Value. He is currently authoring his latest book on the benefits to business and individuals which is titled Doing Good by Doing Good due for release late 2014. This is the second book Peter has written and contributed to several others.

Peter has a diverse client base across many sectors including the leading financial institutions of Australia and internationally with the government of Saudi Arabia where he assisted them in building their leadership and crisis management capacity. He has worked with government bodies, education providers, and large corporate organisations both on a national and international level.


Peter has a number of keynote themes from which he constructs a keynote according to the desired outcomes and audience of each client. Those contextual themes are:

Leadership Matters
* Leadership without Authority
* Importance of Presence in Leaders
* Clarity of Purpose
* Values based leadership
* Results not Excuses
* Building Strong Teams

Experiences Matter
* Engineering Experiences
* Why building Engagement is best achieved through Shared Experiences
* Creating Legacy through Leadership
* Engagement leading to Commitment and Results.

Doing Good by Doing Good
* The benefits of social ventures
* Turning your CSR from a cost centre to a profit centre
* Concept of Shared Value
* What is Caring Capitalism


* Workshops – In addition to the keynote presentations that Peter often delivers when opening or closing a conference he also runs longer programs to explore in greater detail his experiences and learnings.

* Operation Delta – a half day simulation exercise where delegates following on from Peter’s Leadership Matters keynote, are then tested how they would respond to a similar crisis as one unfolds before their eyes and they call the shots in how to respond facing leadership and moral dilemmas.

* Multi day programs
– Over 2-3 days Peter takes the delegates through an intensive journey through the work that he has done with very hands on practical and engaging learnings.

* Journey of Change – This is an event where the value is best experienced with teams of up to 15-20 pax. Peter leads teams into Thailand and over 3-4 days he combines leadership and values based learning with Hands on experience. It’s a mix of reality and luxury.

* Thailand Social Venture Experience – Travelling through the various homes that have been built by Hands this is a leadership experience unlike any other. Leaders in a group of 20-40, will spend time with the Asian of the Year, a charity founder known as the Angel of the Slums and other inspirational leaders.

* Corporate Bike Rides – Staring in 2009 as a fundraiser the success of the rides and the magic that has to be experienced to understand the true value has seen the demand for these rides grow. From 17 people in 2009, to 250 people in 2014, Peter is now leading “closed” rides for corporate teams over five or eight day tours through Thailand.


“We thought Peter was success for our event. His story was well received and inspirational and many people came up to the table afterwards thanking Peter and asking more about how to become involved. Notably also, Peter stayed after the speaking engagement concluded to give people a chance at doing that. I received some great feedback from clients in regard to his presentation.”
John Dorward – Prescott Securities 2015

“Peter, I am so pleased that you came and presented to our delegates, you managed to touch each individual in some way. Your stories have so much meaning and the lessons they demonstrate are there for all to see. I have heard you on a couple of different occasions and each time I come away with something new, so thank you not only for the presentation but for the work you do. So thank you once more for your participation, it is greatly valued and appreciated. We hope to work with you again in the future.”
Service Skills Aust, March 2014

“I was overwhelmed by ‘Wow’s’ when listening to Peter Baines present.”
Mingara Leisure Group, March 2014

“Again, a very big thanks Peter Baines for your contribution towards the success of yesterday’s conference. Your presentation was so well received and a great way to open the event! I stayed around for the 2 hour networking drinks after the conference and for the entire time the talk was around how inspirational you were and what a great way it was to open a conference. Everyone loved the “Shared Experience” message and rest assured you have motivated many to find a way to implement such an initiative into their businesses. Well done mate, and rest assured it’s not only the lives of the kids in Thailand that you change, you have a massive impact on all those that hear you speak!”
Game Farm, May 2013

“Thanks so much again for your remarkable presentation today. I am afraid I was still too focused on what you had said to thank you properly at the end so apologies for that. Yours is an extraordinary story of a remarkable person and a fine example of what can happen if you approach life with your “if not now, then when” concept.”
Associated British Food Group, March 2013