It’s a spin machine that never stops whirring. An army of hundreds of taxpayer-funded media advisers working for government ministers, shadow ministers, departments and agencies, who spend their working days pumping out information -- mainly political propaganda -- that serves their parties’ agendas, obscuring information that doesn’t, feeding information to friendly journalists, trying to deter hostile ones, usually with highly centralised control by the prime minister’s office and the leader of the opposition’s office.

Their job, as Stephen Stockwell puts it in the Griffith Review, is to “sculpt the terrain on which public debate occurs and to play the puppet-master, crafting the words and images that create the future".