Advance Australia has raised almost $400,000 it will use to shore up the positions of key Liberal Party conservatives ahead of the federal election – including that of former prime minister Tony Abbott.
The emerging grassroots organisation, which wants to be the conservative answer to left-wing activist group GetUp!, claims 27,500 members and a $395,000 war chest raised from 2000 “mainly small donations”. It will focus on the seats of Dickson, Deakin, Boothby and Warringah – held respectively by Peter Dutton, Michael Sukkar, Nicolle Flint and Mr Abbott.
accused Advance Australia of lying, and pandering to the wealthy member of its “advisory council” which is manned by storage magnate Sam Kennard, doctor David Adler, and former ABC chairman Maurice Newman, among others.
“Advance Australia is spending its secret funding to spread lies and do the dirty work of hard right candidates like Tony Abbott,” Mr Oosting said. “The hard right and their multi-millionaire backers like Maurice Newman have been trying to buy influence for years but what they lack is genuine grassroots people power.”