The path from MP to big business is well trodden — and defence and AUKUS is in their sites

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In Australia there has long been disquiet about the revolving door between high political office and big business.

A survey published two years ago by a major public health journal found two-thirds of people believe public officials — including politicians — should either be banned from lobbying altogether, or subject to a cooling-off period of as long as five years.

Last January, a report by the Human Rights Law Centre found former officials were more often granted meetings with government as well as a “sympathetic audience”. The shift of bureaucrats and politicians into corporate roles was creating an “elite class of the politically powerful and the incredibly rich”, while alienating the Parliament from “the values and interests of voters”.

The research focused on tobacco, gambling and mining. But there’s another area of public policy where the path from politics to the corporate world has been so well-trodden, for so long, it’s worn to a shine: Australia’s sprawling defence portfolio, where billions of dollars in contracts are showered on arms-peddlers every year.

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