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Tag Archives: list of 75 ideas

Who writes this stuff?

Chris Berg

Chris Berg

It is becoming increasingly obvious that Tony Abbott’s plan for governing is to work his way through the IPA’s wish list of 75 (+25) “radical ideas”.

Since these people seem to be determining the direction our country will take I thought it worth investigating the qualifications of the authors of the paper, John Roskam, Chris Berg, and James Paterson.

John Roskam is the institute’s executive director. Prior to his employment at the IPA, Roskam was the Executive Director of the Menzies Research Centre in Canberra. He has also held positions as an adviser to federal and state education ministers, and was the manager of government and corporate affairs for the Rio Tinto Group.

The other two young men, Berg and Paterson, seem to have no relevant qualifications or experience other than appearing on the Drum and writing for publications like the Australian.

Relevant experience is not a prerequisite to get a gig at the IPA. Focusing on the National Curriculum, we have Stephanie Forrest who just finished her BA with Honours last year. In her Honours thesis, she reconstructed a previously lost Byzantine chronicle dating to the period of the early Islamic conquests (7th-8th centuries AD), and included a translation of the entire chronicle from early-medieval Greek into English. From what I can see she has no education qualifications or experience other than as a student, most recently in somewhat esoteric classical history.

In the article preceding the 75 points, the authors warn that “the generous welfare safety net provided to current generations will be simply unsustainable in the future….Change is inevitable.” It’s interesting that they do not mention the generous tax concessions for the wealthy and subsidies for the mining companies and banks who are making superprofits.

They then outline the game plan.

“But if Abbott is going to lead that change he only has a tiny window of opportunity to do so. If he hasn’t changed Australia in his first year as prime minister, he probably never will.

Why just one year? The general goodwill voters offer new governments gives more than enough cover for radical action. But that cover is only temporary. The support of voters drains. Oppositions organise. Scandals accumulate. The clear air for major reform becomes smoggy.”

We are halfway through that year. The honeymoon period vanished very quickly, no major reform has been achieved, and the support of the voters is fading. Whilst the Labor Party may not yet have found a clear direction, the opposition of the people is organised and growing, and the scandals are emerging. The only “radical action” has been the reintroduction of knighthood which has been rightly ridiculed.

They go on to talk about “culture wars” and the “Nanny State”, the mantra of all Young Liberals, most of whom have no idea of the meaning of what they are repeating. It is so predictable – you cannot have a conversation with a Young Liberal without them using those phrases endlessly in what reeks of indoctrination.

Apparently we should be more concerned about the Australian National Preventive Health Agency introducing Nanny State measures than the culture wars promoted by academics and the bias at the ABC. We should be worried about the “cottage industry” of environmental groups. We should be more concerned that senior public servants shape policy more than elected politicians do, regardless of them being experts in their fields.

Describing their 75 points the authors say

“It’s a deliberately radical list. There’s no way Tony Abbott could implement all of them, or even a majority. But he doesn’t have to implement them all to dramatically change Australia. If he was able to implement just a handful of these recommendations, Abbott would be a transformative figure in Australian political history. He would do more to shift the political spectrum than any prime minister since Whitlam.”

Do we actually want to “dramatically change Australia”? The authors suggest that just a handful of the proposed changes will cause that change. Reading through the lists here (75) and here (+25) shows that many of them are either underway or under discussion, the latest being

42 Introduce a special economic zone in the north of Australia including:

a) Lower personal income tax for residents

b) Significantly expanded 457 Visa programs for workers

c) Encourage the construction of dams

The IPA is supported by people who think that money and power are the most important things and that the world should be run to facilitate them accumulating more of the same. The IPA 70th birthday in April last year saw Cardinal Pell sitting with Gina Rinehart and Rupert Murdoch being courted by Tony Abbott and a bevy of Liberal MPs with sycophants Andrew Bolt and Alan Jones watching on. George Brandis and Tim Wilson also obviously had a fruitful conversation.

The connection between Murdoch, Rinehart, ANDEV, and the IPA shows whose interests they are being paid to represent. To think that our government is doing the same is truly frightening.