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. Time and again their reciprocal back-scratching facilitates lucrative procurement deals for global weapons giants and cushy well-paid corporate gigs for retiring politicians, military officers, and senior public servants. This not only undermines the public interest, it sets the scene for corruption.
Undue Influence shines a light into some of these murky corners. There are not many people reporting in detail on this opaque domain, mostly because 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 of $45-50 billion a year.
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, joining the dots, building a picture of what’s going on. Our articles take weeks, sometimes months, to produce.
We seek to publish the results of our investigations with Australian media outlets. However payments, when received, cover only a fraction (about 25%) of the time we spend researching and writing each piece. We are highly reliant on the support of readers to fund our work.
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