Steve Pratt

Expert on Defence, Security & Logistics, Keynote Speaker

Steve Pratt has enjoyed an extraordinary and diversified career, having served in the military from the end of the Vietnam War through to 1993, spent time in a Serbian prison, managed humanitarian aid operations, consulted to civilian business and served as the Member for Brindabella government (ACT) for seven years. He has also advised, and /or co-ordinated and managed security operations in both the Defence and commercial business worlds. Steve continues his long-held association with the military as a defence civilian, working as a senior security adviser for the Army, based at the Army headquarters in Canberra.

An experienced keynote speaker and workshop facilitator, Steve draws on his experiences to tailor presentations that range from his time as a political prisoner and his work in humanitarian aid through to UN peacekeeping and humanitarian refugee operations, security protection for government and business, and politics in relation to Australia’s future.

More about Steve Pratt:

Steve is a skilled and experienced project manager and an expert on organisational development, organisational change, security risk management and security operations in both the Defence and commercial business worlds.

His military experience involved, as an officer, leading troops in patrolling operations in Malaysia and planning and executing, for the PNG Defence Force, counter-insurgency operations in Papua New Guinea against insurgents harassing PNG villages and territory (low level intensity operations). This included planning and managing field engineering projects in support of battalion operations.

From 1993-1999, he worked as a civilian deputy and later project manager, country operations manager and then country director for CARE Australia (CA) operating in the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. Steve undertook the initial analyses contributing to CA’s strategic analysis; undertook the planning, procurement and program management of the delivery of humanitarian aid, in support of UN refugee operations. In this capacity he helped develop and manage armed security protections for these operations. In the two years leading up to and during the 1999 Serbian-NATO War, Steve was responsible for analysing the humanitarian need and defining new logistics and acquisition proposals, to expand the mission. While running the CARE Australia mission in Serbia in March 1999 he was imprisoned, accused and convicted by the Milosevic regime of being a NATO spy. One of his deputies, Peter Wallace, was also arrested and imprisoned, as was their colleague Branko Jelen.

Steve and Peter were released and returned to Australia in September 1999 at the end of the Kosovo War. Their release was followed by the 2000 release of Branko following extensive campaigning.

In 2000, Steve was elected as a Member of the ACT Legislative Assembly (MLA). He spent seven years as the Member for Brindabella, with responsibilities in Shadow Minister portfolios for education, police and emergency services, urban services and transport and multicultural affairs.

From 2011, he served as an Army Reservist staff officer, key in the development of armed security capabilities on ADF Bases to meet home grown terrorist attacks. Since 2018 he has worked in Defence as a Defence civilian.

Steve’s work has been recognised with the Australian Service Medal 1945-75 (Clasp: SE Asia); the National Medal; a Defence Force Service Medal; an Humanitarian Overseas Service Medal [Clasps: Iraq, ‘Great Lakes’ Africa, Balkans]; and an Australian Defence Medal.

Steve Pratt talks about:

  • His experience as a Serbian political prisoner of war
  • His operational work as CARE Australia manager and as country director delivering humanitarian aid during wars in the Middle East, Central/East Africa and the Balkans (this presentation can be combined with his Serbian experience)
  • UN peacekeeping and humanitarian refugee operations
  • Security protection for overseas government and business organisational team deployments into areas of high risk. This can be presented as a formal presentation or in a workshop.
  • Political and governance discussion with respect to the future of this country – a variety of subjects tailored to the needs of the audience.

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