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ANTHONY KLAN

The entire premise of the “No” campaign against the Indigenous Voice to parliament was a sham.

Not only was its murky network of half-a-dozen entities “run” from a fake national headquarters — by directors stating fake residential addresses — it was also a fake “grassroots campaign” of fake “ordinary Australians”.

The “elite” and “inner-city woke” were the enemy — according to shadowy outfit “Advance Aust Ltd”, the nerve centre of the whole operation.

Advance, by contrast, was a “grassroots campaign” of “Ordinary Aussies” with “mainstream values”, it told the nation.

“More of us are worried about what woke politicians and inner-city elites are doing to our country,” it told Australians.

“We believe Australia is a free country. But you wouldn’t know it from the way woke politicians and the inner-city elites carry on”.

It used images depicting hardworking blue-collar Australians, as it ran its clinical campaign against a Indigenous Australians being provided a Voice to parliament.

“Mainstream Australia is under siege by stupid laws and woke ideologies…cooked up by elites that have no idea what it’s like to work for a living,” said Advance, all while harvesting thousands of emails.

“More of us are worried about what…inner-city elites are doing to our country” — Advance

“Advance is committed to putting everyday Aussies upfront”. Source: Advance

 

Only it was a monstrous lie.

The “No” movement was a precision executed sham — bankrolled by the super-rich.

The “elite” of the “elite”.

The most recent Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) filing for Advance, for the year to June 30 2022, lists 21 “donors”.

Investigations show they boil down to just ten entities.

“Investigations show they boil down to just ten entities”

Many are obscured with payments made via holding companies, often with post office boxes listed for addresses.

Following the money trail — working backwards from the highly sophisticated campaign of disinformation and the lies that flooded the airwaves and social media — leads to a handful of the mega rich.

The trail leads to the front doors of mansions in Toorak, Portsea, Vaucluse, Bellevue Hill and Double Bay.

To the owners of super yachts, private aeroplanes, ski chalets, vineyards — even entire sporting teams.

Investigations show these people aren’t even “the 1 per cent” — that storied slither of society’s richest.

These people are the 0.01%.

Literally.

“These people are the 0.01%”

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The super-elite funders of Advance. Source: AEC/Various. Graphic: The Klaxon

 

Eight of the ten entities has estimated wealth of $100 million or more.

Most even appear on the nation’s “rich lists” — again, literally.

On the night of the referendum, after voting closed, there were extraordinary scenes: the “No” campaign event, at the salubrious Hyatt Regency in Brisbane, was held in secret.

Media weren’t allowed in — media handlers wouldn’t even say who was in attendance.

It was unprecedented. (More below).

ABC journalist Patricia Karvelas reports on the spectacle. Source: Twitter/X

 

A small handful of “No” campaign funders have publicly stated their position, including storage billionaire Sam Kennard, vitamins tycoon Marcus Blackmore and financier Simon Fenwick — but it appears most don’t want any attention.

A deep investigation into the backers of Advance reveals some fascinating details, including some previously unknown links.

The Klaxon’s expose. Source: The Klaxon

 

Linked are two of Sydney’s wealthiest families: the O’Neil family, whose inherited riches originated with mining quarries, and members Taylors Wines Taylor family — with donations coming from the same post office box, in Sydney’s exclusive Double Bay.

Investigations show another of those bankrolling Advance is Lyn Brazil, who is a director of mining company Aurelia Metals Limited, and has estimated personal wealth of over $300 million.

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Advance’s disclosed donors boil down to just 10 entities. Source: AEC. Graphic: The Klaxon

 

 

1. The O’Neils & the Taylors

Estimated wealth: $240m & $200m+

Rodney and Judith O’Neil (inset left), the Palm Beach trophy home of Janet O’Neil (top right); and Vaucluse mansion of Colin and Helen O’Neil (bottom right). Source: Various. Graphic: The Klaxon

 

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Five payments totalling $130,000 came from four holding companies all registered to the same Double Bay post office box.

Three of the holding companies, SixMileBridge Pty Limited, Nedigi Pty Limited and Willimbury Pty Ltd (which together contributed $75,000) are all owned by members of the mega-wealthy O’Neil family.

Little-known outside the elite of Sydney’s wealthy eastern suburbs, the family made its money in mining, quarries and concrete under late patriarch Les O’Neil, who had eight children.

(The family appeared in the The Australian Financial Review rich list as far back as 1990.)

The owners and directors of SixMileBridge are Les O’Neil’s son 83-year-old son Rodney O’Neil and his wife Judith O’Neil, 78, both of a sprawling mansion in Rupertswood Avenue in Sydney’s super-rich enclave of Bellevue Hill.

The house of a neighbour sold for $28m late last year.

The four holding companies. Source: AEC. Graphic: The Klaxon

 

Rodney is also a director and owner of Nedigi Pty Ltd.

The other director and owner is his sister, Janette O’Neil, 74, of a double-lot absolute waterfront property at Palm Beach, the storied Sydney hamlet of the mega-rich.

The two directors of Willimbury Pty Ltd are Colin O’Neil, 79 (another of Les O’Neil’s children), and his wife Helen O’Neil, 77 — of a sprawling multi-level cream mansion in Vaucluse.

Press clippings show brothers Rodney and Colin in 2017 sold a family boat shed in Point Piper on Sydney Harbour for around $30m.

Rodney O’Neil is also an owner of the fourth holding company — Telowar Pty Ltd — along with members of the vastly wealthy Taylor family, owners of wine giant Taylors Wines, founded in 1969.

Clinton Taylor, Justin Taylor and Mitchell Taylor (inset, L-R); Taylors Wines vineyards, Clare Valley. Source: Taylors Wines. Graphic: The Klaxon

 

In August Taylors Wines unveiled a “brand new…stunning multimillion dollar cellar door” in South Australia’s Clare Valley.

“It is the beginning of an exciting new era for our family winery”, said “third-generation winemaker” Mitchell Taylor.

Mitchell Taylor (59, of Rose Bay) and brothers Justin Taylor (53, of Vaucluse) and Clinton Taylor (52, also of Vaucluse) are directors and owners of Telowar Pty Ltd.

The other directors and owners are Loretta Anne Taylor, (86, of Vaucluse); Angela O’Neil Cattana, (61, of Rose Bay) and Victoria O’Neil Taylor (63, of Darling Point, also in Sydney’s east).

Telowar Pty Ltd and Nedigi Pty Ltd (along with sharing the same Double Bay post office box in AEC filings) list the same “registered address” in companies records — a Sydney CBD office at Level 24, 1 O’Connell St.

“Mainstream Australia is under siege by stupid laws and woke ideologies…cooked up by elites that have no idea what it’s like to work for a living” – Advance

 

2. Brett Ralph

Estimated net wealth: $100m+

Brett Ralph bought most of Dick Johnston’s V8 Super Car racing team in January. Source: Various. Graphic: The Klaxon

 

Two payments, one $25,000 and one $50,000, were made to Advance in the 2022 financial year by JMR Management Consultancy Services Pty Ltd, a company fully owned and controlled by multi-millionaire Brett Ralph.

The relatively little-known Ralph owns couriers company Jet Couriers, which has “branches in all six Australian states” and “an international presence in Auckland, Dallas, Houston, New York and Philadelphia”.

In January he became the majority shareholder in Dick Johnston’s V8 Super Car racing team, adding to his “expansive sporting portfolio” which also includes the Melbourne Aces Baseball Club and 20 per cent of the Melbourne Storm NRL Club, which he co-owns with his brother Shaun.

(The “notoriously private” Ralph has been “quietly building a sporting empire”, reports V8 Sleuth).

 

3. Simon Fenwick.

Estimated wealth: $50m million+

Simon Fenwick and his Mosman mansion. Source: Various. Graphic: The Klaxon

 

Multi-millionaire Simon Fenwick, the co-founder of multi-billion-dollar US-based International Value Advisors, made a $50,000 payment to Advance in the 2022 financial year.

It was made via Silver River Investment Holdings Pty Ltd “AFT” (which means as trustee for) the Fenwick Family Trust.

Fenwick publicly “pledged to spend up to $250,000 to oppose the Indigenous advisory body”, the AFR reported in April.

He is a director of US-style dark money group the “Institute of Public Affairs”.

The IPA actively seeks to influence public policy but refuses to say who funds it.

Fenwick purchased his Mosman mansion, with views straight out to Sydney’s Heads, in 2016 for $9m.

He is, very conservatively, estimated to have a net wealth of $50m.

Fenwick is a director of the University of Queensland Endowment Fund.

“More of us are worried about what woke politicians and inner-city elites are doing to our country” – Advance

 

4. John & Gabrielle Hull

Estimated wealth: $40 million+

John and Gabriele Hull at a UQ event (inset) and the family company. Source: UQ/JF Hull. Graphic: The Klaxon

 

Brisbane multi-millionaires John and Gabrielle Hull made payments to Advance of $25,000 and a $20,000 respectively in the 2022 financial year.

John is the owner of major Brisbane-based civil engineering contracting company JF Hull Holdings, which “specialises in the field of concrete construction” and turns over tens of millions of dollars a year.

The Brisbane couple are substantial donors to the University of Queensland.

They have a conservatively estimated net wealth of $40m.

 

5. Sam Kennard

Estimated wealth: $1.87 billion (Kennard & Family)

Sam Kennard and his Sydney Harbour-front mansion. Source: Various Graphic: The Klaxon

 

Sam Kennard, via Siesta Holdings Australia Pty Ltd, gave $20,000 to Advance in the year to June 2022.

The vastly wealthy Kennard, whose father Neville “expanded into storage in 1973” — after taking over the equipment hire business of his father, Walter — is the CEO of Kennards Self Storage.

In February, in a list of Australia’s 50 richest people, Forbes estimated Sam Kennard and his brothers Walter and James and a combined wealth of US$1.2 billion ($1.87 billion).

Siesta Holdings is owned by Sam and his wife Claire, who own a harbour-front mansion at Longueville, on Sydney’s Lower North Shore.

 

6. Andrew Abercrombie

Estimated wealth: $512m

Andrew Abercrombie and his two Toorak mansions (top); his Noosa property (bottom right); and a sign erected in Sorrento in 2020.

 

Multi-millionaire Andrew Abercrombie, who is “best known for his vast wealth” donated $20,000 to Advance in the 2022 financial year.

He made headlines in 2020 when a “high-society party” as his Aspen, Colorado, ski home became the centre of a Covid-19 outbreak.

On returning to Australia, some members of the group — dubbed the “Aspen Nine” and the “Colorado Cluster” — failed to quarantine, attending cocktail parties and private school functions, infecting “wealthy Victorians from Toorak to the Mornington Peninsula”.

“Abercrombie is rarely named in the press, other than his annual mention in the BRW rich list, which recently estimated his fortune at $512 million,” The Age reported at the time.

In 2013 Abercrombie, a commercial lawyer and businessman, bought 1890’s Toorak mansion Edzell, on over 6,000sqm on St George’s Road on the bank of the Yarra River, for $11.5m.

He owns another riverfront mansion on the same street, a “faux chateau” that he bought for $14m in 2007.

He also owns property in the exclusive enclaves of Victoria’s Portsea — on “Portsea’s clifftop” — and Queensland’s Noosa, where he bough an oceanfront “penthouse-style” apartment for $6.9 million in 2018.

Abercrombie was a “strident defender of News Limited columnist Andrew Bolt in 2011, when he was found to have breached the Racial Discrimination Act during a Federal Court trial,” The Age reported in 2020.

“We believe Australia is a free country. But you wouldn’t know it from the way woke politicians and the inner-city elites carry on” – Advance

 

7. Marcus Blackmore

Estimated wealth: $500 million+

Marcus Blackmore and wife Caroline (inset). One of Blackmore’s superyachts. Source: SuperYacht Times/Supplied.

 

When vitamins tycoon Marcus Blackmore was asked in why he’d bought his latest superyacht, his answer was simple:

“I don’t know”.

Blackmore, who was estimated by Forbes in 2016 to have wealth of US$500m ($778m), gave Advance $20,000 in the 2022 financial year, AEC filings show.

Blackmores, the vitamins company founded in 1938 by his father Maurice, the “father of Australian naturopathy”, was in April sold to Japanese conglomerate Kirin for $1.88bn.

Blackmore was paid “around $400 million” for his stake.

In February Blackmore told the Australian Financial Review he was voting “No” to the Voice because Jacinta Price had told him to.

“If Jacinta tells me I should vote no, I am voting no,” Blackmore said.

“She obviously knows a lot more about the Aboriginal issues than I do.

Blackmore said he wasn’t totally across the details personally.

“I don’t sit here reading the Constitution every day,” he said.

Referendum results by polling place location. Source: AEC

 

In mid-2020 Blackmore and his wife Caroline sold their home on Sydney’s Pittwater for $8.125m.

The “Newport trophy home” came “complete with home cinema…swimming pool, boat shed and private jetty”.

The couple another waterfront home to move into: a property known as Sandgate, “across the Bay in Bayview”, which they’d bought in 2016 for $9.25m.

(They were “nearing completion on a $3.37 million rebuild” of the 1500-square-metre property, it was reported in 2020.)

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Blackmore waves from one of his superyachts. His Sydney home (insets). Source: Superyacht Times/Various. Graphic: The Klaxon

 

Blackmore took possession of his latest superyacht, the 103 foot Ammonite 2 (he’d had its predecessor, Ammonite, for three years) in 2020.

He was asked by Boat International at the time why he’d decided to buy a ” bigger boat?”

“Oh that’s a really simple answer to that question — I don’t know,” said Blackmore.

“Why did I buy it? I don’t know, I just did.

“I suppose because I can”.

“Advance is committed to putting everyday Aussies upfront, so that your voice is heard” – Advance

 

8. Ian Tristram

Estimated wealth: $100 million+

The former West End factory of Trisco soft drinks. Source: Supplied/LinkedIn Graphic: The Klaxon

 

Ian Tristram, multi-millionaire owner of Queensland-based multinational food company Trisco Foods, donated $25,000 to Advance in the 2022 financial year, AEC records show.

Trisco Foods, “one of Queensland’s oldest businesses” was founded in 1875 and the family has “developed an enviable reputation for quality, service and expertise over five generations” its website says.

Originally based in Brisbane, where its “historic West End factory remains a landmark today”, the company created “Trisco” soft drink, before selling the brand to multinational giant Cadbury Schweppes.

Now based in Ipswich, to Brisbane’s west, the company has a “strong presence throughout the Asia region” and a “US headquarters” and manufacturing plant in Colorado Springs.

In 2020 the Tristram’s lodged an application for a multi-million dollar redevelopment of their absolute beachfront Gold Coast property on Mermaid Beach’s Hedges Avenue, also known as “millionaires row”.

In March last year a rich-list reported Trisco generates “an estimated $33.510 million in sales each year”.

 

9. Lyn Brazil

Estimated wealth: $300 million

Cattle tycoon, property developer, venture capitalist and mining executive Lyn Brazil. Source: Supplied. Graphic: The Klaxon

 

Advance received $20,000 from Brazil Farming in the 2022 financial year.

Brazil Farming is owned and controlled by cattle tycoon, property developer, venture capitalist and mining executive, Lyn Brazil.

“Lyn Brazil…said media estimates that his is worth $210 million are conservative and indicated it could be closer to $300 million,” the AFR reported in 2016.

At the time he was selling a giant Northern territory cattle station for around $18m.

Brazil was a major founding investor in hotels booking site Wotif (earning $33.2m from the venture) and in 2016 “made $50 million selling land on Brisbane’s southern outskirts to Macquarie”.

Brazil is a director of open cut mining group Aurelia Metals.

In November, through Brazil Farming, he spent $7.9m doubling his holding in Aurelia, to 85.5 million shares, or 6.9 per cent of the company.

 

10. Louis Denton & Rayleen Giusti

Estimated wealth: Unknown

Chris Garnaut

Estimated Wealth: $60 million+

Louis Denton and wife Katherine; Rayleen Giusti’s LinkedIn profile. Source: Instagram/LinkedIn. Graphic: The Klaxon

 

Louis Denton and his wife, “glamorous influencer” Katherine, in January appeared in a list of young rich-listers “dominating Melbourne’s social scene”.

“The uber-modern couple always look like a Vogue cover and frequent trendy places,” said the Herald Sun.

Denton, 30, is an accountant and chief operating officer at a company called Devcos International, his LinkedIn profile states.

According to the AEC filing, Denton made four payments to Advance in the 2022 financial year, totalling $75,000 (three payments of $20,000 and one of $15,000).

Also donating to Advance, the filing states, was a Rayleen Giusti, with two payments, one of $20,000 and one of $17,500.

As first revealed by Crikey, both Denton and Giusti are directly connected to Melbourne multi-millionaire financier Chris Garnaut.

Chris Garnaut. Source: Garnaut Private Wealth

 

Rayleen Giusti is Garnaut’s personal assistant, her LinkedIn profile states.

The address provided for the Denton is an office in the same St Kilda, Melbourne building as the offices of Garnuat’s firm, Garnaut Private Wealth.

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The donations. Source: AEC

 

The firm “is one of Australia’s most trusted private wealth firms” and provides “holistic advice to over $3.5 billion in assets”, Garnaut says on its site.

Company filings show Denton is an “alternate director” of real estate fund management company Fawkner Property, of which Garnaut, 62, is a director (and which is also based in St Kilda office building).

A full-page racist cartoon Advance ran in the Australian Financial Review. Source: Advance

 

The latest donors to Advance, for the year to June, won’t be known until next year, given peak federal political disclosure laws.

In the 2022 financial year, its AEC filing states, Advance received total donations of $2.24m.

The sources of donations of $14,500 or less were not required to be disclosed.

The disclosed 21 donations, from the ten entities, totalled $723,422.

Anti-Voice campaigning by Advance and its arm “Fair Australia”. Source: Advance/Fair Australia

 

As is well documented, the “Yes” campaign raised substantially more money and was far better resourced that the anti-Voice campaign.

But the impact of the “No” campaign shows the devastating  effectiveness of clinical, precision lying – particularly via bombarding social media.

There are no laws against lying in federal political advertising or in referendums.

Advance has a history of lying to the public.

Before last year’s federal election, it ran billboards falsely claiming independents, including now Senator David Pocock were actually secretly Greens candidates. It also ran advertisements of the Chinese President “voting” for the ALP.

Advance has a history of lying to the Australian public. Source: Supplied

 

While Advance had been vocal about its opposition to the Voice for some time, its disinformation campaign ramped up when Opposition leader Peter Dutton in April declared the Liberal Party was opposed.

The impact was devastating. Support for the Voice, previously around 60 per cent, plunged to 43 per cent before the poll.

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Support for the Voice plunged from April. Source: Resolve Political Monitor/SMH

 

As previously revealed by The Klaxon, the network of at least six interconnected entities in the Advance network was run from a fake “national headquarters” in Canberra’s CBD.

The “virtual office” cost Advance $85 a month.

The entities include Advance Aust Ltd and its campaign brand Fair Australia (which both claim the Voice goes too far); “Not Enough” (a site suggesting the Voice doesn’t go far enough”); Australians for Unity (the “charity” arm of the network) and “Referendum for News” (which falsely holds itself out as an impartial news source).

“Putting everyday Aussies upfront” – Advance advertising. Source: Advance

 

None had, or has, a telephone number, rather an email address corresponding to each entity or website name.

Requests for comment were not responded to.

The only “directors” are Matthew Sheahan, a Laura Jean Bradley; and Vicki Dunn — a long-time Liberal MP in the ACT Government.

The “responsible people” for Australians for Unity, also the three directors of Advance Aust Ltd. Source: ACNC/Various. Graphic: The Klaxon

 

In signed documents filed with the ASIC, Bradley and Sheahan falsely stated their home addresses as “Suite 5, 245 Fullerton Road, Eastwood SA” — which is the Adelaide office of a law firm called Oakbridge Lawyers.

Despite having “authorised” the vast majority of the political statements of the Advance campaign, very little is known about Sheahan, who appears to have no online presence before he appeared in connection with Advance (then Advance Australia) about two years ago.

The secretive No campaign party. Source: AFR

 

Advance’s very public “campaign launch”, as it sought to convert votes, was very different to the secretive event it held the night polls closed, as it sought to reward its funders.

Unlike its secret event after the poll, the “No” campaign was very eager to host the public at events before the vote. Source: ABC (top)/Fair Australia

 

At 11pm “outside the ladies room”, an AFR reporter spotted mining and fossil fuels billionaire Gina Rinehart, Australia’s richest person.

Forbes estimates Rinehart has a fortune of US$25.8bn ($40.2bn)

Steve Baxter, who is buying a $31, seaplane, poses with his AeroCommander 690-A VH-ATF. Source: Twitter/X

 

Despite repeated requests, the organisers refused to say who else was present, although the next day vastly wealthy Queensland tech entrepreneur Steve Baxter posted to social media that he had been in attendance.

(A request from The Klaxon for more information was rejected).

Baxter, who was one of the “sharks” on Australian television series Shark Tank, has estimated wealth of $100m.

Last year it was reported Baxter had pre-ordered a sea plane, “a new version of the legendary Albatross flying boat”, to be built in Darwin, costing him US$20m ($31.1m).

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Anthony Klan

Editor, The Klaxon

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