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The IPA has captured our government

The name of the organisation is preposterous in itself. The Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) was originally set up in 1943, as a response to the rise of Social Democratic parties in general, and the Australian Labor Party in particular. The founders included Rupert Murdoch’s father, and G.J. Coles. There is a reason it is so against the interests of ordinary citizens.

The history of the IPA is curious. Many of the key players in its early years are either still around, or their children are. Its ideas haven’t really evolved much, but if you want to characterise them, they are crudely elitist, ideologically stunted, narrow minded, science-phobic, greedy and in most cases, fully imported. For a charity which pays no tax, they have very few clients in need.

The only reason they are of any interest to anyone is that they have captured the Federal Government, by stealth, and their inane policies are the reason this country is so conspicuously under-achieving.

There is not one thinker of note amongst its membership. Some of the current members appear to be the offspring of former members; a sort of self-replicating supply of not-so-bright apparatchiks. If you are searching for the reason behind the diminishing sense of pride attached to being Australian, the IPA is to blame.

Current or ex-members in Parliament

For a roll-call, these are some of the current members of the IPA, or their affiliates; Institute for Progress (AIP), Australian Taxation Alliance (ATA), who are current, or recent members of the current Parliament: Abetz, Birmingham, Cash, Christensen, Cormann, Evans, Fletcher, Frydenberg, Hawke, Hunt, McGrath, Morrison, Paterson, Porter, Roberts, Ryan, Stoker, Dean Smith, Tony Smith, Tehan, Tudge, and Tim Wilson.

All part of the global Atlas Network. That would be where we get the passion for no minimum wage, and no health care. Past members include Abbott, Howard, and let us never forget that our current PM is a fervent member.

They have been effectively bought by a handful of robber barons, who pay no taxes, and have no commitment to what was, twenty years ago, a democracy to be proud of.

They gaslight the entire community, with double-speak which would make George Orwell blush. As an example, in 2003 John Howard hired a conservative think tank (the IPA) to investigate NGO influence on some government agencies. The circularity of that sentence is dazzling.

“NGOs are becoming very influential today – they sit on various committees and are seen to influence governments and big business. As global players they need to be more transparent,” says Mike Nahan, executive director of the IPA. The lack of self-awareness in that statement is also noteworthy. Like appointing Mr Fox to investigate security at the chicken coop.

“IPA is unfit to conduct the study due to its demonstrated bias and ongoing vilification of organisations that campaign for human rights, corporate social responsibility and environmental protection,” Oxfam said in a media release.

Who better than an NGO on the lunatic right (IPA) to investigate the NGOs represented by such bodies as Oxfam and Catholic Health Australia?

When dealing with the IPA one is assailed by the extreme seriousness with which they promote their truly stupid, and truly callous policies.

Some of their policies

They do not like welfare. They have a history of being supported by Big Tobacco. They want to sell the ABC, possibly to Rupert, at a discount. They want to lower the tax rate to companies and millionaires, as they starve the unemployed, and continue to dismantle the NDIS.

They caused the destruction of the Aged Care System, and they continue to support the fossil fuel industry while paying lip service to climate change action. They wanted us to abandon the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, but were momentarily shamed into making some concessions in Glasgow. Matt Canavan might be the most honest member of the coalition, in that even he admits their commitment to saving the planet is nonsense.

They want the Racial Discrimination Act to remove the ban on offensive speech. They want the Fair Work Act repealed, which means the ten minimum employment standards will disappear. Who knows, maybe we can get to see adult Australians working for $7 per hour, plus tips.

They also have absolutely no plans for a national integrity commission. There is a lot of speculation about the reasons for this position, but the history of rorts and inappropriate ‘jobs for the boys’, the slipping of millions of our dollars into dodgy land and water deals, all add up. A proper integrity commission could send many government members either into retirement, or even jail.

What does this ragbag of policies remind you of? Donald Trump’s America is the right answer. Of course they also want to abolish Medicare, probably because it reminds them of Obamacare. Their policies are imported. Considering most of the current Cabinet are members, how sincere can they be in governing for the good of all Australians?

So why would Australia want such policies?

The people in the IPA, and their affiliates, all think in Social Darwinism terms. So they think society is not meant to be inclusive, and caring for the least among us, but a contest.

The Tim Wilsons and James Patersons of this world actually think that if we were all transported to an unruly savannah, crawling with sabre-toothed tigers and snarling hyenas, that they would prosper. Reflecting on the personnel, my money is on the sabre-toothed tigers.

IPA types are secretly longing for the Call of the Wild. It is an adolescent fantasy, where if the going gets tough, the tough get going. Many of these intellectual giants wield real power in our federal parliament. All I can say is, be afraid. Be very afraid!

As John Roskam recently said: “To control a virus that as yet has infected 5000 Australians, the response of doctors and politicians to this serious health crisis was to create also a humanitarian and an economic crisis. In the years to come Australians will quite rightly question whether there could have been a better way.”

Sometimes you need to let libertarians speak freely. They do a better job of exposing themselves as empty vessels than any commentator could.

Lincoln Steffens studied corruption and malfeasance in American states in the 1890s. His unwavering opinion was that it was not the fault of the crooked politicians, nor the business people who corrupted them, but the apathy and the supine nature of the citizens.

As citizens of a once great democracy, we need to be vigilant, and to take care of what they are trying to unravel – our unique, caring society, free of Christian right wing nut jobs, with no knowledge of something known as social justice. Exercise your rights, before you lose them. Vote them out.


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  1. Margot

    Best compilation of IPA’s agenda. Includes all 100 of the IPA’s ideas to transform Australia plus videos of speeches by Tony Abbott, Rupert Murdoch and Andrew Bolt at the IPA 70th anniversary dinner in Melbourne on Thursday, 4 April, 2013

    IPA agenda to re-shape Australia
    March 2, 2013
    By Barry Tucker 2 March, 2013
    IPA agenda to re-shape Australia

    And see also

    20 Policies To Fix Australia
    Written by John Roskam and Daniel Wild
    12 April 2019

    20 Policies To Fix Australia

  2. pierre wilkinson

    totally agree

  3. Phil Pryor

    The IPA, or Idiotic pustular anuses, is a ring (hah) of far out right wing superstitious, fantasising, ktheorising, scheming, egofixated twisters who care naught for others, in opinions or needs. Roskam, a mediaeval fixated fool, drenched in righteous self praise and justification, has ignored centuries of well developed civilised progress in logic, science, reason, knowledge, balance, decency, analysis and enlightenment, to fixate on his version of a sin versus salvation primitive twisted culture of indoctrination. The Kingdom of fantasy, fraud and pits of fire in hell for unbelievers.., What SHIT has encrusted these IPA types. EVIL.

  4. Kaye Lee

    Senator James Paterson, of Wolverine fame (?), was one of the co-authors of those 75 points to transform Australia.

  5. Sully of Tuross Head

    The Name of the IPA is as preposterous as the Liberal party calling itself the LiberalParty!

  6. andy56

    James Paterson and Tim Wilson are two who graduated from IPA school. For the life of me, i cant work out what they believe. Oh sorry, self interest is emblazoned in neon. Both are willing to destroy the good for their perceived nirvana. The irony is, if they were left to run the country, revolution is the only trajectory in sight. They, my friends, would be first in line. They certainly have no concept of a healthy society, only a Randian nirvana.

  7. New England Cocky

    Perhaps the optimal method for controlling the IPA is to have public disclosure of donations exceeding $1,000 per rolling 12 months from individuals and corporations disclosing the corporate allegiances of the natural person donor. Membership lists of corporate executives should be publicly available o the IPA Internet website.

  8. RomeoCharlie29

    Labor, as one of its first acts in Government should remove the IPA’s status as a charity. Every one of its policy positions is antithetical to a fair and equitable Australia. I didn’t know just how far it’s tentacles reach into the Libs but hopefully one of the grubbiest, Timwilson in Goldstein will be shown the door. The Bloke who looks like a refugee from a Hitler youth brigade should also go but probably won’t and we might, finally see the end of Abetz who was gently roasted by Guy Rundle in Crikey. The idea that this fifth column of fascism can pass itself off as a charity is unbelievable.

  9. peter

    “..Of course they also want to abolish Medicare, probably because it reminds them of Obamacare.” my view is they see much profit in privatising medicare a la USA private insurance many 100$billion up for grabs. It’s not some ideology, it’s the damned profit.

  10. Albos Elbow

    Keith Murdoch’s son doing his best to destroy not only Australian democracy, but the whole earth, with Corrupt lies about climate change.

    His family owns Genie Energy Oil and Gas, has biilions of USD invested in Fossil Fuels and he sits on the boards of oil companies like Exxon and many other coal, oil and gas mining corporations.

    The Australian Centre for Independent Journalism in 2013 investigated Australian media coverage of climate change. It found our media was the most sceptical and biased about climate change in the world.

    Nearly one third of articles rejected the consensus scientific position – and this was all about News Corporation.

    In the Daily Telegraph 62 per cent of stories about climate change either rejected or suggested doubt about the scientific consensus.

    Sky News, News Limited and countless other Murdoch media outlets are stacked with climate deniers and pathelogical liars.

    We may have reached a tipping point, as in the US elections, where the average citizen has awoken to the Murdoch Media corruption and bias and does not freely accept that what you see and hear in the Murdoch Media has anything remotely to do with the truth, but is designed to win power, political influence and create more family wealth for the Murdochs.

  11. Andrew J. Smith

    Good article and one cannot stress enough how much influence not just the IPA has, but the broader fossil fueled ‘Atlas Network’ cited in the article, or using the US taxonomy ‘Koch Network’ has over government policy & legislation, media and voters; not just the Anglosphere but includes e.g. think tanks in Hungary, (have been publicly) close ally of Putin’s PM Orban & Anglosphere visitors.

    For a broader, but US overview, Jane Mayer’s ‘Dark Money’ described them as ‘radical right libertarians’ showing their ‘architecture of influence’ from research centres through to media astroturfing, and Nancy MacLean’s ‘Democracy in Chains’ found influence from segregation era by Kochs channeling James Buchanan’s ‘public choice economic theory’; both conclude it’s a ‘long game’ of manipulation that transcends electoral cycles.

    It’s a pity only a few people locally in media and research see the clear transnational links, agitprop e.g. ‘the great replacement’ and similar ‘architecture of influence’; with much linkage to fossil fuels, auto, finance and industry.

    For example ‘Voter ID’ laws were mooted in both Australia and UK simultaneously, but viewed as organic and evidenced issues, not. It comes top down and ‘oven ready’ from a US based Koch influenced corporate donor ‘bill mill’ ALEC (which lists a NewsCorp journo under Australia). Similarly, when fossil fuel protagonists have the same talking points and strategies e.g. aka ZPG blame immigrants, population growth or question the ‘science’.

    Locally it seems the IPA ‘wolverines’ and the National Party are able to influence their Liberal coalition partners on fossil fuels etc. via internal lobbying; this seems to replicate ALEC modus operandi via the ‘owned’ GOP ‘Freedom Caucus’ blocking any Democrat bill passing through the US Senate (inc. not voting to fund Ukraine); ‘whatever it takes’.

    In the UK it’s 55 Tufton St. several Koch linked think tanks or ‘charities’ (& one of John Tanton’s too) including the IEA, direct equivalent of the IPA, promoting Brexit and many questions about Russian influence with Parliamentary support from the anti-EU Tory ERG European Reform Group.

    The EU is an important metaphor of what these types dislike intensely i.e. liberal democracy, open society, climate science, environmental &/or fossil fuels regulation, women & minorities, young people, education and empowerment; reeks of old eugenics, while positive narratives round the EU & immigrants, are disappeared.

  12. Terence Mills

    Newscorp (and SKY) no longer try to hide their bias and have dropped all pretence at balance and impartial reporting : opinion has taken over from reporting news.

    SKY are now trying to brand Albanese as antisemitic using some thirty year old film footage of him supporting a two-state solution in Palestine – it used to be the international response supported by UN Resolutions.

    This probably won’t take off as the night that SKY (Sharri Markson) started the campaign against Albanese, we were seeing footage of Israeli riot police attacking mourners and pall bearers at the funeral of Al Jazeera Palestinian/American journalist, Shireen Abu Akleh.

    Newscorp/SKY are absolutely committed to a re-elected Morrison government and there is no much energy going into their quest that I can only assume that there are large bonuses at risk should Morrison no be re-elected. The question has to be, what quid pro quo will Murdoch demand from the Morrison government should he be returned – doesn’t look good for the ABC (or us).

  13. David Baird

    The IPA and its malign influence are an important part of the revolution from above that is corrupting the fabric of this country and has been for many years. Its members’ actions tie in beautifully with the strategies and tactics detailed in Robert Kuttner’s ‘Can Democracy Survive Global Capitalism?’, a history worth reading, if somewhat depressing. I used to tell my departing History students, and this was twenty-five years ago, to keep their bullshit detectors finely tuned and to prepare for the fact that, in general, the real bastards out there win. I didn’t suggest they become bastards themselves but to be prepared to confront them. The IPA is the example par excellence of utter bastardry.

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