Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

AI Group Unveiled: a propaganda service for Defence, big business and the Coalition

Michael West Media, by Michael West | Jul 22, 2020 ,

Is AI Group just a front for big business and foreign weapons manufacturers? Michael West reports on the rise of government and business propaganda outfits who are suddenly mute when the subject turns to the delicate matter of who funds them.

“Given the tone of the questions and misspelling of Willox you can list it as “no response”,” sniffed Tony the PR man for AI Group.

“Dang!” we muttered … “Willox, Willox, Willox. No “c”!”

And two “ns” in Innes too! This was indeed a grave error, a double-banger, getting the name of a PR guy wrong in an email to a PR guy. Unforgivable!

Albeit unsurprising. Lobbyists are famously taciturn when it comes to the subject of their own affairs, even as their views are plastered weekly across national media.

Our questions were about who funded them and how much of their hefty $72 million in annual revenue comes from big business, multinational weapons makers and the Government itself.

These questions are important because AI Group and other lobbyists such as the Australia Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) are sermonising constantly about the way governments and everybody else should be conducting their affairs.

ASPI too is largely funded by foreign defence contractors and the Federal Government. It was little surprise therefore that, hard of the heels of Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s urgent yet vague warning earlier this month that Australia was the victim of menacing cyber attacks, it was ASPI which promptly named China as the culprit and affirmed the urgent nature of the unnamed threats.

Looking at the 2019 financial statements for AI Group, which you will not find on its website, the “peak employer organisation” made $14.3 million from Federal Government contracts last year, which rather helps explain why it is rare to see any criticism of government policy, other than a spot of whining at decisions which do not favour big business enough.

It is by no means alone in this. The Big Four consulting firms Deloitte, EY, PwC and KPMG are in the same boat, reeling in some $700 million in fees annually by consulting to the Government.

On top of its taxpayer take, AI made $38 million from “consulting, management services and training businesses”. So, not only is AI a lobby group but it is also is running businesses for profit, even a law firm while it pays no income tax.

This self-appointed not-for-profit (NFP) is sitting on cash and liquid assets of $76 million and it notched up income of $72 million last year. What did it spend it all this money on?

Some $55 million went on employees. The next biggest item was “Communications” at $5.6 million. They do do a lot of communicating and when it comes to having their voice heard in mainstream media, AI – and particularly its chief executive – Willox are slick operators, perhaps the best in the business lobby.

But unlike the Business Council of Australia, the Minerals Council, and think tanks such as the Sydney Institute and the Institute for Public Affairs (IPA), they actually get large government consulting deals as well as running profitable businesses.


In this, they are similar to the NSW Business Chamber, which boasts revenues of $237 million a year, also runs a law firm and vocation businesses and is even a registered charity…………………………………………..

 https://michaelwest.com.au/ai-unveiled-another-propaganda-service-for-defence-big-business-and-the-coalition/

September 1, 2022 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, secrets and lies, weapons and war

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