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The National Farmers Federation has hit out at fossil fuels-backed disinformation group “Advance” and confirmed an attack advertisement featuring its president David Jochinke has “no authorisation”. 

The nation’s biggest farming lobby group said it had “significant policy differences” to Advance on “important issues including climate change” and that it was “committed” to “helping Australia” achieve net zero.

Advance — which claims to be a “grassroots movement” of “ordinary Aussies” but is in fact bankrolled by a handful of the nation’s super-rich — is intimately tied to the fossil fuels sector and spreads anti-renewables disinformation, including through one of its fronts “Not-Zero”. 

On Wednesday Advance posted to social media an attack ad featuring an image of Jochinke, along with a quote, as part of Advance’s campaign against the Federal Government’s plan to lift vehicle efficiency standards on new vehicles.

“The ute is one of the most important pieces of equipment we have on the farm,” the Advance ad states, quoting Jochinke, “President, National Farmers Federation”. 

Above the ad, Advance wrote: “Labor’s Ute Tax is an attack on farmers and families”. 

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“No Authorisation” – the Advance ad featuring Jochinke. Source: Twitter/X


When contacted by The Klaxon Thursday, the NFF confirmed it had not authorised the advertisement. 

Spokeswoman Stacey Davidson said the quote had been taken from a Sky News segment that aired Wednesday. 

On Friday the NFF took it a step further, issuing a public statement, saying it was “necessary to clarify” that it had no involvement in the Advance ad, which had “no authorisation” and had caused “confusion”. 

“There appears to be significant interest in the use of our President’s comments and photo in social media posts by conservative advocacy group Advance Australia,” it states. 

“The comments and photo were drawn from publicly available sources with no authorisation from the NFF”. 

Friday’s statement from the National Farmers Federation. Source: NFF


Advance, which ran the anti-Indigenous Voice “No” campaign, has been repeatedly caught spreading lies and disinformation in favour of the Liberal Party and against the ALP.

It has also been previously caught using images and out of context quotes of high-profile Australians without permission. 

In the lead up to the October 15 Voice referendum Advance was caught running sham ads featuring prominent Indigenous Australians it falsely suggested were opposed to the Voice. 

RMIT FactLab reported Irene Watson, an Indigenous law professor and Pro Vice Chancellor of Aboriginal Leadership and Strategy at the University of South Australia, had her image used on six versions of an Advance ad published to Instagram and Facebook. 

The ads used a quote from a 2022 article she had written “superimposed over a photo lifted from her university staff profile”, RMIT Factlab reported. 

One of the many pro-fossil fuels and anti-ALP attack ads being run by Advance. Source: Twitter/X


Watson said Advance had not obtain consent to use her image, that “the piece is out of context” and “I do not support this campaign” against the Voice. 

Advance, in another set of ads, quoted Indigenous social commentator and writer Celeste Liddle in its “No” campaign.

Advance lifted a quote from an article by Liddle in which she said she was “unconvinced” by the Voice proposal – but it failed to mention her next words, which were: “This is not to say that I am committed to a No vote either”. 

Liddle told FactLab she was “absolutely not” part of the No campaign, was opposed to the use of her quotes by the campaign and the quotes “in no way, shape or form” represented the views expressed in her article. 

Guardian Australia revealed independent Federal Senator Lidia Thorpe had also been subject to Advance’s disinformation campaign, which she said was “deceptive and underhanded”. 

“I’m not in the No camp,” Thorpe told the ABC. “I’ve never been in the No camp and my position has been clear all along”. 

More of Advance’s pro-fossil fuels and anti-ALP attack ads. Source: Twitter/X


In its statement today, the NFF said it was “not uncommon for advocacy and media organisations” to “repurpose comments and images of public figures” but it was “necessary to clarify” given its “significant policy differences”, including on climate. 

“We feel it’s necessary to clarify our involvement in this instance given the confusion this seems to have caused, and the significant policy differences between the NFF and that organisation (Advance) on important issues like climate change,” the NFF statement says. 

“The NFF is a proudly apolitical organisation which stands only for farmers, and we remain committed to playing a proactive role in helping Australian achieve its net zero ambitions”. 

Advance’s arm “Not Zero” spreads pro-fossil fuels disinformation, Source: Not Zero


In a press release Wednesday, the NFF said it was “all for more efficient low-emissions vehicles” but said farmers could be “penalised” if there were not “low emissions vehicle options available” and called for “farm utes” to be exempt from the new laws. 

In its statement Friday, the NFF said: “on the specific issue of the vehicle emissions standards we’ll continue to make the point that while we support a transition to lower emissions vehicles, that transition cannot unfairly penalise farmers”.

“Advance rails against the “elites” and the “inner-city woke” despite being bankrolled by a handful of the super-rich”

Advance rails against the “elites” and the “inner-city woke” and uses images depicting exhausted looking blue-collar workers.

That’s despite it being actually bankrolled by a small cluster of multi-millionaires and billionaires.

Advance falsely claims to be a “grassroots” movement of “ordinary Aussies”. Source: Advance


In 2021-22 the disclosed donors to Advance boiled down to just ten entities. Of those, seven had estimated wealth of $100 million or more, including billionaire Sam Kennard of Kennards Self Storage, and the remaining three all had estimated fortunes in the tens of millions of dollars.

Most of them appear in the nation’s media “rich lists”.

Advance’s disclosed funders in 2021-22. Source: AEC/Various. Graphic: The Klaxon


Advance’s anti-Voice “No” campaign, which also included a full-page racist advertisement in the Australian Financial Review, coincided with a collapse in support for the proposal, from above 60% to just under 40% on polling day. 

Had it gone ahead, the Voice would have provided Indigenous Australians with an advisory body to offer advice — which could be ignored — to the government, such as regarding reducing waste in Indigenous spending programs.

The advisory body would have been written into the constitution, meaning future governments would be unable to dismantle it — a problem for similar bodies in the past — without holding another referendum. 

Australia has no truth in political advertising laws, which Advance heavily exploits. 

The disinformation lobby group is run by just three directors, Matthew Sheahan who is its “managing director”, Vicky Dunne, a former long-time ACT Liberal Party MP, and a “Laura Bradly”. 

All three have repeatedly refused to comment when repeatedly contacted by The Klaxon over the past five months. 

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A full-page newspaper ad Advance ran in News Corporation’s Herald Sun. Source: Advance/Herald Sun


Like the Voice, Advance ran an aggressive disinformation campaign in the bayside Melbourne seat of Dunkley ahead of last Saturday’s by-election, targeted directly at the ALP in favour of the Liberal Party. 

That included a full-page ad in News Corporation Australia’s Herald Sun in Melbourne, which referred to the release from immigration detention of “rapists, paedophiles and murderers”, in connection with a ruling by the High Court last year. 

The ALP’s Jodie Belyea defeated Liberal candidate Nathan Conroy. 

The ALP defeated the Liberal Party at Saturday’s by-election despite Advance’s aggressive disinformation campaign. Source: The Klaxon


There was a swing of 3.6% against the ALP, which is almost exactly the 3.5% average swing against incumbent Federal Governments at by-elections over the past four decades. 

With more than 80 per cent of the vote counted Thursday, the ALP lifted its primary vote by 0.8% and the Liberals saw an upwards swing of 6.7%. 

Pauline Hanson’s One Nation and Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party did not field candidates, with much of that far-right vote being picked up by the Liberal Party.

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Anthony Klan

Editor, The Klaxon

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