When Leigh Sales asked Malcolm Turnbull why Section 18C was getting more attention than things like “out of pocket medical expenses, the fact that suicide rate among teenage girls has gone up 45 per cent in the past year, the fact that the average Australian female worker loses nearly all of her take-home pay in child care”, Turnbull blamed the ABC.
“Leigh, this is a question you should address to your editors at the ABC – very seriously. 18C is talked about constantly on the ABC, talked constantly in what’s often the elite media.”
What Sales should be asking is why the IPA, the only people who care about this pointless crusade, have such disproportionate representation and influence both in the media and in Parliament.
In their 2016 Annual Report, the IPA boasts that, during the year, they had 1,378 mentions of IPA research in print and online media, 451 radio appearances, 155 television appearances, and were mentioned in Federal Parliament 75 times.
As Elizabeth Farrelly wrote last year, “The IPA is usually described as a “radical libertarian think tank” but it’s not libertarian, since its freedoms for the few spell oppression for the many. It’s also not-thoughtful and so not-public it’s almost clandestine.”
The IPA is all about protecting the wealth of the privileged few and they will use whatever spin and misinformation they need to to do so.
Featured in their 2016 Annual Report is a “research” paper by Mikayla Novak titled The good news on poverty: Things are getting better for the poor in Australia.
What follows is an astonishing attempt to pretend that the rich aren’t siphoning off more of Australia’s wealth into the pockets of the very few, or if they are, it shouldn’t matter because more people have fridges nowadays than used to and they work a few minutes less to buy some milk.
“The key concern in the inequality debates should not necessarily be to what degree are the rich more wealthy than the poor, but whether we have witnessed an improvement in the degree of uplift in living standards experienced by the poor and disadvantaged.”
What Ms Novak completely ignores is that the gap between the lowest and highest groups is increasing as ACOSS points out:
- The wealth of the highest 20% wealth group increased by 28% over the period from 2004 to 2012. By comparison the wealth of the lowest increased by just 3%.
- Over the 25 years to 2010, real wages increased by 14% for those on lower incomes (10th percentile), compared with 72% for those on higher incomes (90th percentile)
According to the Conversation, a reasonable estimate is that, currently, the poorest 40% of Australian households effectively have no wealth at all: about half of them actually have negative net wealth because of their personal debts. At the opposite pole, the wealthiest 10% have more than half the nation’s total household wealth. The top 1% alone have at least 15% of the total wealth.
There is little question that the IPA is now driving Liberal Party policy as they work their way through their 75+25 demands. They have, with the help of George Brandis, Mitch Fifield, Michael Kroger and others, installed James Paterson in the Senate and Tim Wilson in the lower house. David Leyonhjelm is also a member as was Bob Day. The Speaker Tony Smith is a former research assistant and the new leader of the WA Liberal Party Mike Nahan was executive director for 10 years. Janet Albrechtsen (director), Tom Switzer (adjunct fellow) and Chris Berg (senior fellow) have the media covered, with Alexander Downer’s daughter Georgina (adjunct fellow) and Andrew Bolt’s son James (Communications Coordinator) being groomed in the wings.
They are currently running their climate change denial/fossil fuel promotion program at full steam with their annual report mentioning four “research” papers:
- Ensuring a Future for Australian Coal Fired Power Stations
- Section 487 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act: How activists use red tape to stop development and jobs
- Southeast Australian Maximum Temperature Trends, 1887-2013: An Evidence-Based Reappraisal
- The Fossil Fuel Subsidy Myth
They are rabidly anti-red tape, wanting all regulations done away with, and invariably anti-union because an organised work force is anathema to their plans.
Elizabeth Farrelly’s advice should be heeded.
“Ideas themselves are not dangerous, but when money and “ideas” hold hands, get suspicious. Then get cracking. Fight for our freedom to see the strings and who’s at the pulling end.”
At July 1, 2016, the IPA had cash reserves of over $3 million after receiving donations of almost $5 million during the year including 13 separate donations over $50,000 each and a further 21 in the range $10,000-$50,000. Reportedly, 91% of their revenue came from donations by individuals.
When they finally achieve their aim to destroy, privatise, or takeover the ABC, and to allow founder Keith Murdoch’s boy Rupert to take over the entire media with no accountability for accuracy or requirement for balance, Australia will truly be theirs.