The legal arms trade is one of the most corrupt on the planet. In Australia, ‘national security’ and ‘commercial-in-confidence’ restrictions are used by the government to justify a lack of transparency and accountability in the procurement, production, and export of military weapons.
‘Culture of cosiness’
A secretive ‘culture of cosiness’ exists between the government, the military, and the weapons industry. This facilitates lucrative procurement deals for global weapons companies and well-paid corporate gigs for retiring politicians, military officers, and senior public servants. The lack of transparency not only undermines the public interest, it sets the scene for corruption.
Undue Influence shines a light into some murky corners. There are few people reporting in detail on this opaque domain. It is complex time-consuming work and often involves battling with those who’d prefer the information remains in the shadows.
Record-breaking expenditure of public funds
This decade, the Australian government will spend an unprecedented A$270 billion on a huge arms build-up. This expenditure is on top of the annual defence budget and will see Australia spend a total of A$575 billion in the defence portfolio in the decade to 2030. This secretive industry is awash in cash like never before.
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The Undue Influence team is independent and small (currently two of us). We read hundreds of pages of documents, spend dozens of additional hours searching online, and regularly file Freedom of Information requests, digging for information and joining the dots. Our articles take weeks, sometimes months, to produce.
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