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Anthony Albanese has claimed a well funded, shadowy right wing group called Advance was behind a supposed ‘tough question’ from a passerby.
‘I’m not a media person, I’m just a local resident, I’ve got a tough question for you,’ the man said.
But on Thursday morning, Mr Albanese claimed: ‘The gentleman was associated with the truck that was there yesterday. This wasn’t someone just passing by.’
Mr Albanese was referring to billboard-carrying trucks seen in cities throughout Australia which show Chinese President Xi Jinping voting for Labor.
One of those trucks gatecrashed the Labor leader’s press conference with West Australian Premier Mark McGowan yesterday.
Anthony Albanese (second left) has revealed that a shadowy right wing group called Advance was behind a supposed ‘tough question’ from a passerby (pictured right) on Wednesday
An anti-Labor advertisement on a truck is seen during a press conference with Labor leader Anthony Albanese outside Midland Hospital on April 6, 2022 in Perth
The truck was one of several funded by the well-resourced group, Advance, that have been seen in Australian cities including Melbourne, the Gold Coast, Newcastle and Perth.
The ads feature Xi placing a ticket that says ‘LABOR 1’ into a ballot box, a hammer and sickle communist logo on a red background and the words ‘CCP (Chinese Communist Party) SAYS VOTE Labor.’
Little is publicly known about the mysterious group behind the ads though it has been accused of being a front for the Liberal Party.
Its first national director, Gerard Benedet, was a former chief of staff to then Queensland Liberal National Party leader Tim Nicholls.
Mr Benedet stood down in September 2019 and was replaced by Liz Storer, a former Liberal councillor and adviser to Senator Zed Seselja.
Liz Storer (pictured) is a former Liberal government adviser who recently led Advance, a right wing activist group
At some point recently Ms Storer stood down and the organisation is now run by a Matthew Sheahan.
The group’s website lists no office holders and no phone numbers.
The only way to contact it is by email. Daily Mail Australia has put questions to the organisation.
Advance previously said it was set up to counterbalance left wing activist group GetUp and the conservative group has deep pockets.
In the 2019-2020 financial year, Advance spent $1.5million on political campaigning, which was more than 10 times the $114,570 spent by GetUp in the same period.
In 2020-2021 Advance raised $1.3million in donations, mainly from corporations, while GetUp raised $553,000, all from individuals.
A huge chunk of Advance’s money in the last financial year came from one man, according to reports.
Matthew Sheahan, pictured, runs right wing activist group Advance
Former fund manager Simon Fenwick donated $1million to Advance because he thought Australian politics had leaned too far to the left.
‘I’m concerned that Australia’s freedom, prosperity and security is being undermined by left-wing agendas and that a strong counter-voice is needed,’ he told the Nine newspapers in September 2020.
‘I decided to donate to Advance Australia instead of the political parties because we still need to be able to criticise the Prime Minister,’ he added.
The man was wearing a grey T-shirt and had headphones around this neck as he crashed the press conference
Anthony Albanese awkwardly refused to take a question from a voter who crashed his press conference with Mark McGowan
Mr Albanese refused to take a question from the voter despite his persistence
Advance says its core beliefs are freedom, security and prosperity.
Its website says ‘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.’
On security it says ‘While the elites forget about the threats of Islamic terrorism and the spectre of the aggressive Chinese Communist Party, Advance fights for a defence force that’s fit for purpose.’
Shadowy right wing group Advance sees Extinction Rebellion protestors (pictured) as one of its targets
And on prosperity it says ‘Mainstream Australia is under siege by stupid laws and woke ideologies like ‘net zero’.
Having got the media’s attention with its fake Labor ad trucks and interrupting Anthony Albanese, we are sure to be hearing a lot more from Advance between now and the federal election.
Anthony Albanese is pictured holding a sleeping baby and talking to his mum while campaigning in Perth on Wednesday