Evans and Astroturf
The weekend Fin (subscription required) has a profile of the eminence grise of right-wing Melbourne poltiics, Ray Evans. It includes a comment from this blog on the various Astroturf organisations Evans set up when he was working for Hugh Morgan at Western Mining (not greatly to the benefit of WMC shareholders as far as I can see). Here’s the quote used by the Fin
Australia has a string of such [Astroturf] setups, all apparently created by Ray Evans of the Western Mining Corporation. The most egregious is the Lavoisier Group, an organisation for climate change contrarians (about as plausible as creationists calling themselves the Mendel society) . If you move along to the (anti-Aboriginal rights) Bennelong Society youâ€™ll find an almost identical website with the same postal address, shared with the (anti-union) HR Nicholls Society . The (monarchist) Samuel Griffiths society is from the same production line, though not quite as brazenly so.
So what is it about names like these that screams â€œAstroturfâ€?? Most named institutes are either named in honour of the founder, or are explicitly partisan institutions whose name indicates their affiliation, as with the Evatt Chifley (Labor) and Menzies (Liberal) foundations. Itâ€™s not clear that those named would always agree with what is published in their names, but thereâ€™s some reasonable basis for presuming that this might be the case.