Laurie Patton is an Australian executive. Currently Chief Executive Officer of IAP2 Australasia (IAP2A), the peak body representing practitioners in the fields of public participation and community engagement.
Following a successful career spanning politics, television and technology – including a series of senior executive positions at the Seven Network – Patton is now active in the not-for-profit sector.
From 2014 to 2017 Patton was Chief Executive Officer of Internet Australia, a chapter of the global Internet Society, where he was frequently interviewed on radio and television and quoted in the press.
Internet Australia is the not-for-profit peak body representing Internet users. It provides advice to government and industry and engages in public advocacy on matters that affect the Internet, especially those relating to accessibility, security and trust.
On Internet Australia's behalf Patton sponsored the creation of a group called Parliamentary Friends of the Internet, a forum for providing information and guidance to MP's and senators, especially in relation to legislation affecting Internet users. He has led IA's campaigns for all Australians to have access to the Internet and the skills to use it, both for economic and social development, and against Internet site-blocking, which he argues is more of a public relations exercise than an effective solution to the unlawful downloading of video and audio content.
After a period as a senior advisor in the Neville Wran Government in New South Wales Patton began his career as a journalist, producing and reporting for each of the three Australian commercial television networks. He reported live from Los Angeles for Network Ten following the Rodney King riots. For the Seven Network, he covered the historic CHOGM conference that imposed economic sanctions leading to the end of apartheid in South Africa. He later held a range of senior executive roles at the Seven Network - running Channel Seven Sydney, which at the time was the country's largest metropolitan station, and regional network Seven Queensland. Patton also held the position of Network Director of Marketing.
Patton created the World Movies channel, which he launched on the FOXTEL platform, and was a founding director of the subscription television industry association now called ASTRA. He was the inaugural chief executive of free-to-air community station TVS (Television Sydney). He co-founded the Australian Community Television Alliance. and lobbied the Australian Government successfully to secure additional broadcast spectrum for metropolitan community stations, which allowed them to join the Freeview digital television platform. He was a member of a review of the Indigenous broadcasting and media sector for the Australian Government, and was subsequently appointed a special advisor to the communications department overseeing negotiations that led SBS (the Special Broadcasting Service) to take on the management of NITV (National Indigenous Television) providing it with nationwide free-to-air transmission.
Patton has held a range of non-executive director roles, including at the Heart Foundation of Australia, Sky News (Australia) and the New South Wales Film and Television Office (now Screen NSW). He led the first official delegation of Australian film makers to the 2002 Shanghai International Film Festival. Five Australian films were screened at the festival, including Mullet which won Best Director for David Caesar. Patton also initiated negotiations that led to an Australia-China film co-production agreement.