South Australia’s Premier has appointed a Liberal-linked adman to the board of the SA Tourism Commission (SATC), after the company he founded missed out on a lucrative tourism advertising contract to an interstate firm.
Steven Marshall has ordered the appointment of Andrew Killey, the co-founder of advertising agency KWP!, to a one-year term on the board of the SATC.
Last week, the Premier sought an explanation from the tourism agency after it awarded its advertising work to Melbourne-based TBWA, when its current contract with Adelaide-based KWP! expires.
KWP! also tendered for the contract, suggesting it had spent in excess of $100,000 in preparing its case.
Steven Marshall tweet: Legend Andrew Killey speaking at the 25th birthday celebration for nationally acclaimed agency
On ABC Radio Adelaide this week, the company’s joint managing director, John Baker, questioning the SATC’s tender process.
“They’ve cited the fact that they awarded it to a Melbourne agency because of their global connections, international experience and the access to an international talent pool,” he said
“We were surprised to learn that.
“If that had been a key requirement of the brief that probably would have excluded us from tendering in the first place.
“So it sort of makes you wonder whether we were just there to make up the numbers.”
The Premier responded to the board’s decision by declaring he would appoint a new director with a focus on supporting local talent.
His chosen appointee, Andrew Killey, is an influential veteran of the Adelaide advertising industry, having co-founded KWP! in 1991.
He stepped away from the business in 2016 and now runs a marketing and communications consultancy called BrandA.
Both Mr Killey and KWP! have carried out recent work for the Liberal Party.
KWP! produced the party’s advertising for the recent state election campaign.
Electoral Commission records show the Liberal Party owed KWP! $29,251.20 in March.
Labor decries ‘partisan’ appointment
As a consultant, Mr Killey was involved in producing a series of television advertisements which aired last year, positioning Mr Marshall as an alternative premier to Labor’s Jay Weatherill.
Mr Killey has been a regular supporter of Mr Marshall’s party on Twitter, and a strident critic of the former Labor government.
But his Twitter account appears to have been deleted recently. The ABC is attempting to contact Mr Killey.
Opposition spokesman for Government Accountability, Tom Koutsantonis, said Mr Killey was a partisan appointment.
“The Premier said he wasn’t interested in appointing people who were partisan or party political and that he would appoint people on the basis of their ability,” he said.
“Now Mr Killey was a very, very successful advertiser with KWP! but is also a staunch Liberal.
“It just goes to show the hypocrisy of what Mr Marshall does before an election and what he does after an election.”
In a statement, Mr Marshall said the appointment was justified on its merits.
“Andrew Killey has enormous experience in promoting South Australia interstate and overseas through his previous roles in advertising and is a great appointment to the SATC board,” he said.
Mr Killey will replace another board member whose term has expired. As a board member, he will receive annual payments of $17,690 from the taxpayer.