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 called 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 without parents 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 alone. Today Hands, has raised over $30 million Australian dollars. Hands, now has operations in seven different locations within Thailand and provide a home to several hundred children every night.

The work of the charity has always taken a different approach to most in that they focus on creating meaningful shared experiences for their supporters. A cornerstone event of the work of Hands are the long distance bike rides that you will find Peter leading throughout the year in Thailand.

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 to 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, and in 2016 he was awarded The Fifth Class of the Most Admirable Order of the Direkgunabhorn awarded by the King of Thailand

In 2010 he was a NSW finalist for the Australian of the Year awards and he was 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.

Peter has written three books the latest released in 2023, Leadership Matters published by Wiley. Hands Across the Water was his first book and was published by Pan MacMillan in 2011 followed by and Doing Good by Doing Good, published by Wiley in 2014.

When not traveling for work you are likely to find Peter with his wife Claire on their rural property tending to the Hereford cattle they bred. His other pursuits he tackles with a passion is flying helicopters and running ultra marathons. In 2024, to acknowledge the 20th anniversary of the 2004 tsunami he will run 1320km’s in just 26 days in Thailand.


I just wanted to tell you personally that your talk was the high point of the three days for me. I have thought of it often and am still stunned at the work that you and your colleagues do. So much of what you had to say has lessons that can be used in the leadership work I do with our senior executives. I would have liked to say something to you at the end of the session, but couldn't really trust myself to speak.
- Commonwealth Bank

Peter Baines is an inspiration to us all. The experience, skills and knowledge that he has gained from managing high pressure situations in disaster zones allows us to put our own "stressful" lives in perspective. We can all benefit from his simple yet engaging message, and we can be inspired by his stories of human courage and bravery!
- Think Global Consulting

When hearing Peter Baines speak on Crisis Management I was alerted to a whole new world of issues - what we call crisis is often a small hitch!. Peter's ability to communicate and entertain while discussing such a vital message was engaging, the message and photos from the Thailand Tsunami and Bali bombing were something most people should never have to deal with - luckily people like Peter do deal with these issues and can bring back lessons learnt in times of extraordinary difficulty. The keynote was entertaining and inspiring and the message a vital to today's business leaders.
- Peak Partners

Recently I attended the MEA conference and I would like to pass on how wonderful I thought Peter Baines was, he received a standing ovation - which is really unusual.
- Capricorn Society

Peter Baines' presentation was one of the most original I have heard in a long time. After all, it is not every day that you meet someone who has worked at ground zero of two of the most significant events in our recent history. Peter is the quintessential 'good Aussie bloke' and the warmth and humour he brings to his presentation is a perfect balance for the confronting and challenging nature of the stories he has to tell. Through hearing Peter's examples of strong leadership in a true crisis, we all learned many valuable lessons that can readily be applied within the comfort of our own professional lives.
- Success Strategies

Peter's presentation was one of the most inspirational I have ever witnessed. He held the audience in the palm of his hand and managed to deliver an amazing presentation from lessons learned through the worst natural disaster this world has ever seen. Peter's presentation just has to be seen - no words can describe it.
- Network Central

I want to thank you for an inspiring and incredible unique experience; no written speech, no "filling in" the time; it was real life. Sometimes it is not easy to put in words certain situations and this is one of these. All I can say is that we still talk about you. To say more? Let’s just say you left us stunned.
- Rivera Accounting Services

Peter Baines was phenomenal, inspirational and practical from a leadership perspective. Considering the magnitude of the challenges, he spoke with a real sense of deep personal satisfaction in what he does. I came for a business purpose and was also personally challenged… the best combination of a speaker.
- Pine Rivers Shire Council

The delayed impact of your presentation was more than any of us expected. You gave us the direction we needed to regroup, reflect - reconfirm our "clarity of purpose" and we would like to thank-you for this. It has amazed us how we can relate our work environment to the leadership issues that you experienced. As you so aptly called your presentation - Leadership matters.
- Mercy Hospital

Peter exceeded my expectations - not only did he deliver an extremely professional and polished performance on the day, he was fully tuned into our key messages for the conference and delivered the key points with a high level of passion and conveyed a sense of personal pride in his team's achievements. He provided our delegates with both a deeper understanding of what inspirational leadership looks like in practice and demonstrated that it's not necessarily something that you train or something that is just reserved for those already in positions of leadership but is something we can all aspire to, by finding our own clear sense of purpose and taking personal accountability to make a difference,
- QBE Insurance

A memorable day where the important became real and where an ordinary man became extraordinary, admirable and a hero in a moment. Your presentation, delivered from the heart as only you can, was without doubt the most brilliant I have ever had the privilege to experience.
- Sony

Never in my life have I been so intrigued, so interested so absolutely blown away by the wonderful, caring, and truely selfless actions of one human being. But most importantly he spoke of his actions as part of a team and really outlined the importance of team work and leadership, not just in bad times, but in everyday life. Peter is an incredible speaker and has his audiences full attention the whole time he is speaking. I laughed and I cried during Peter's presentation and by the end I was totally overwhelmed by the things he has seen and how he has dealt with them. A truely inspiring man.
- ANZ Bank

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