Unfortunately, [the Quality Assurance People] don't permit automated testing unless it's done with an approved, validated (company validated that is) automated testing tool (TestDirector, for example). They're also entirely non technical, and really only concerned with the quality (in terms of change tracking, consistency etc) of documents.
One approach I've seen to problems like this is to translate the problem out of technical-speak and into dollar-speak.
People high up an organizational food chain tend to think more in terms of dollars and risk than in terms of how things get done. So while the Quality Assurance folks might cling to TestDirector, there's probably someone higher up the org chart to whom the word "TestDirector" is merely a technical buzz word that has a dollar figure associated with it.
The argument to make to such people, if you can get their attention (which may be difficult depending on the organization), goes something like "We're spending the same N-thousand dollars of people time over and over doing repetitive manual testing. Over a quarter, that costs us (some big number). By investing 6N-thousand to automate (using the tool the QA folks prefer), we save (some big number) over the course of a year. If we use a more appropriate tool, we only spend 3N-thousand, and save (some bigger number).
Adding "... and that means more money for executive bonuses" is occasionally necessary, though it's a phrase best reserved for times of true need. :)
Note in particular the absence of the phrases "TestDirector", "Unit Testing" and "Perl" in this approach. To the people you're trying to reach, these words might just cause a buzzing sound in their ears.