27 Oct 2019

Just who has the most covert influence in Australia?


The attention being given to possible covert influence being exercised by China in Australia shouldn’t distract us from recognising that very overt foreign influence now occurs through investment.


Right now US corporations eclipse everyone else in their ability to influence our politics, through their investments in Australian stocks.
Using company ownership data from Bloomberg, I analysed the ownership of Australia’s 20 biggest companies a few days after the 2019 federal election in May. Of those 20, 15 were majority-owned by US-based investors. Three more were at least 25% US-owned.

Our big banks are majority-owned by American investors. The Commonwealth Bank of Australia, the nation’s biggest company, is more than 60% owned by American-based investors.
So too are Woolworths and Rio Tinto. BHP, once known as “the Big Australian”, is 73% owned by American-based investors.

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Just who has the most covert influence in Australia?

The attention being given to possible covert influence being exercised by China in Australia shouldn’t distract us from recognising that ...