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They’re here, they’re there, they’re everywhere. So beware!

When the IPA published their wish list of 75 plus 25 ways to “reform” Australia, they conceded that it was “a deliberately radical list. There’s no way Tony Abbott could implement all of them, or even a majority.”

They suggested that 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.”

Perhaps they were right but not in the way they intended.

Tony is assiduously working his way through their list and he has certainly shaken the Australian public out of their political apathy.

Even before we get to the list, the article introducing it gave us a picture of what was to come.

“The vast Commonwealth bureaucracies and the polished and politically-savvy senior public servants have their own agendas, their own list of priorities, and the skill to ensure those priorities become their ministers’ priorities.  Fresh-faced ministers who do not have a fixed idea of what they want to do with their new power are invariably captured by their departments.

So when, in the first week as minister, they are presented with a list of policy priorities by their department, it is easier to accept what the bureaucracy considers important, rather than what is right. The only way to avoid such departmental capture is to have a clear idea of what to do with government once you have it.

We should be more concerned that senior public servants shape policy more than elected politicians do.”

The IPA highlight “Gillard’s National Curriculum” as an example of ministers acquiescing when they should have been opposing.  And why should they be opposing?

“The National Curriculum centralises education power in Canberra, and will push a distinctly left-wing view of the world onto all Australian students.”

So, presumably, when you put a lawyer in charge of education he should not listen to his department, he should not listen to the state ministers, he should not listen to the education experts.  He should have already decided what he wants regardless of any advice from the public servants that have worked in that area for decades, and he should instruct them to implement his ideas.

But where does the lawyer get his ideas if not from all those paid to assist him?

Enter the IPA-aligned former chief-of-staff to Kevin Andrews, Kevin Donnelly, who has written many publications over the years arguing that the Australian school system is failing because schools have been taken over by radical educators who see their role as being to “liberate students by turning them into new-age warriors of the Cultural Left.”  Pay him to reaffirm those oft published views in a “review” of the National Curriculum.

And while we are at it, get the former head of the Business Council of Australia (BCA), Tony Shepherd, to do an audit commission which came out like a wish list of BCA/IPA policy prescriptions, neatly cut and pasted, but not very well backed by facts.

The IPA go on to warn us of the real danger posed by the Australian National Preventive Health Agency – “a new Commonwealth bureaucracy dedicated to lobbying other arms of government to introduce Nanny State measures.”

Sure enough, it was one of the first agencies to be axed in Joe Hockey’s contribution to the wish list.

As the Melbourne Age’s economics editor, Peter Martin, noted in a piece of post-budget analysis: “Big food, big tobacco and big alcohol have been thrown the carcass of the Australian National Preventive Health Agency.”

The IPA also demanded an end to food and alcohol labelling, and to end “all government-funded Nanny State advertising” against unhealthy habits such as smoking, drinking and junk food consumption.

And so in February last year we saw the health department ordered to take down its new healthy food ratings website, and then $130 million was cut from a program to tackle Indigenous smoking despite it making significant inroads into reducing the high percentage of smokers in the Aboriginal community.

The IPA also quoted a previous Intergenerational Report and came to the following conclusion:

“Australia’s ageing population means the generous welfare safety net provided to current generations will be simply unsustainable in the future. Change is inevitable.”

No mention of the generous superannuation tax concessions which will soon overtake the aged pension, a stance also adopted by this government.

Whilst Brandis may not yet have satisfied the IPA’s desire to abolish the Human Rights Commission, the government has cut $1.65 million from its budget, refused to renew the position of its disability commissioner and appointed – absent the usual due process – one of the IPA’s own, Tim Wilson, as one of the remaining six commissioners. Attorney-General George Brandis flagged an intention to “further reform” the HRC which seems to be what this attack on Gillian Triggs is all about.

Brandis also flexed his muscles when, a month after being sworn in, he announced the forced resignation of ABC journalist Barrie Cassidy from his new job as chairman of the Old Parliament House Advisory Council.

Brandis said in his media release that Cassidy “accepted the importance of the Museum of Australia [sic] Democracy [in Old Parliament House] maintaining its apolitical and nonpartisan character”.

To have someone in the job currently engaged in politics, even if only as a political journalist, was “not consistent with that character”, Brandis said and then promptly replaced him with David Kemp who is a former Liberal minister and continues to practise politics through his work with the IPA.

The institute wants all media ownership laws eliminated along with the relevant regulator, the Australian Communications and Media Authority, and requirements put in place that radio and TV broadcasts be “balanced”.

Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull is duly considering changes to Australia’s regime of cross-media ownership. The likely outcome: more concentration in Australia’s media, already the most concentrated and least diverse in the developed world. More influence for the IPA and Rupert Murdoch.

Not that the IPA need more exposure.  In the year to June 2013, according to the IPA’s annual report, it clocked up 878 mentions in print and online. Its staff had 164 articles published in national media, mainly in the Murdoch press which, considering he is a long-time IPA director, is not surprising. They managed 540 radio appearances and mentions, and 210 appearances and mentions on TV.

The allegedly bias ABC, which the IPA would break up and sell off, gives the IPA a lot of air time too. One count, by Independent Australia, clocked 39 appearances by IPA staff in the year 2011-12 on The Drum alone. That’s almost as many Drum appearances as the combined total of all other think tanks, left, right and centre.

The repeal of section 18C of the RDA is number four on the IPA’s policy wish list, and before you knew it, Attorney-General George Brandis was up there championing the right to be a bigot.

On October 5, 2011, the IPA ran a full-page advertisement in The Australian supporting Andrew Bolt, paid for and signed by more than 1200 people including federal politicians Mathias Cormann, Jamie Briggs, Michaelia Cash, Mitch Fifield and Andrew Robb, to name a few, and literally dozens of other ex-pollies, staffers, and advisers.

Before he won the prime ministership, in April 2013, at a dinner celebrating the IPA’s 70th anniversary where Andrew Bolt was the MC, Abbott noted the IPA had given him “a great deal of advice” on the policy front, and promised them he would act on it.

“I want to assure you that the Coalition will indeed repeal the carbon tax, abolish the department of climate change, abolish the Clean Energy Fund. We will repeal Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, at least in its current form. We will abolish new health and environmental bureaucracies. We will deliver $1 billion in red-tape savings every year. We will develop northern Australia. We will repeal the mining tax. We will create a one-stop shop for environmental approvals. We will privatise Medibank Private. We will trim the public service and we will stop throwing good money after bad on the NBN.”

In fact, one might argue that Abbott under-promised at that dinner and has over-delivered since. Other major items on the IPA’s published wish list included stopping subsidies for the car industry (done), eliminating Family Tax Benefits (part-done), the cessation of funding for the ABC’s Australia Network (done), abandonment of poker machine reforms (done), the introduction of fee competition for Australian universities (part-done), and negotiating free trade deals with Japan, South Korea, China and India (almost done).

While several of the IPA’s wish list are being held up in the Senate, they do have flesh in the game, and even more so should PUP Senators hold to their threat of abstaining from every vote until the leadership turmoil is resolved.

Cross benchers Bob Day and David Leyonhjelm are both “long-term IPA members”.

Bob Day was a driving force behind the IPA front organisation, the Owner Drivers’ Association, which purports to represent the interests of independent contractors in the transport industry. In reality, says Tony Sheldon, National Secretary of the Transport Workers Union, the ODA has consistently campaigned against laws improving working conditions and safety for drivers.

Another IPA front organisation is the Australian Environment Foundation.  Two of its directors were IPA staff, including executive director Mike Nahan, now the treasurer in Western Australia’s Liberal government. For its first two years, the AEF shared the IPA’s postal address.

It was actually an anti-environment group. It opposed new marine parks and plans to increase environmental water flows in the Murray-Darling Basin, and supported Tasmanian woodchipping and genetically modified foods.  It also lobbied the World Heritage Committee in support of the Abbott government’s plan to de-list parts of the Tasmanian forests.

Source watch even lists Peta Credlin under former staff of the IPA.  I have not been able to verify that from any other source but she sure sings from their hymn book.

Not only are they determining policy and infiltrating all levels of government, they are also being rewarded with gifts.  Despite cutting $100 million from the Arts budget, Minister for the Arts Brandis found $1 million to give the Australian School of Ballet to put towards the purchase of a $5 million mansion to house their 28 students in luxury.  On the board of the school is Daniele Kemp, wife of former Liberal Minister Rod Kemp who is now the chairman of the IPA.

To paraphrase Pixie and Dixie…

They’re here, they’re there, they’re everywhere.  So beware!

As Jinx would say…

“How ree-dick-ul-luss.”

35 comments

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  1. CMMC

    Its called lobbying.

  2. Olivia Manor

    About time their pernicious running of what once was a democratic Australia is getting some exposure. Well done Kaye, for your well researched article.

  3. DanDark

    Great article Kaye
    Its about time the IPA were exposed to the larger public for being the faceless men behind the front men/woman that are doing a great job of implementing these lot of bonkers mens wishes who call themselves the IPA, set up by Keith Murdoch another idiot this country produced… Some mothers do av’ em’…..

  4. diannaart

    Abbott working his way through the complete list of the IPA’s wants and he still claims Australia is a democracy? Maybe Abbott doesn’t and never has been a democrat – clearly he’s implementing policy for an oligarchy – the IPA probably can’t believe that the “handful of these recommendations” has been taken on as the guiding policies for this government – must be drunk on the power of it all.

  5. Kaye Lee

    For those who were expecting satire about the Abbott government, I apologise for my personal indulgence of the pixie and dixie cartoon at the end. I remember watching it as a kid and I couldn’t resist a reminisce about simpler times.

  6. Zathras

    The IPA is to the Liberal Party what the Trade Union Movement is to the ALP and is the closest thing we have to our own Tea Party.

    While their corporate donors remain a secret, their membership is well known, although the term “faceless men” still applies.

    I recall their Director John Roskram last time he was on QandA speaking about when “we” implement “our” policies as if he was in fact the Government.

    It wasn’t a Freuduian slip, just a statement of fact.

  7. Matters Not

    Kevin Donnelly, who has written many publications over the years

    Not sure about that. My understanding is that he wrote a single article and then repeats same ad infinitum.

    Donnelly had ambitions to be a representative politician but was told he lacked ‘business’ experience. Accordingly, he left the education sector and became a proprietor of a Fish and Chip shop.

    But it failed; along with his political ambitions.

  8. Garth

    Thanks Kaye. I am also extremely disturbed to have heard that Bill Shorten is best friends with John Roskam, the Executive Director of the IPA (in fact, I understand he was Roskam’s best man at his wedding). That can’t bode well for Bill’s true world view. Friends can, of course, have differing political views but the IPA are a bunch of extremist nutters. I really can’t see their executive director being best friends with a true – blue leftie. Maybe I’m wrong and I hope I am.

  9. Kaye Lee

    Garth,

    I have a very dear friend who was my bridesmaid. She has become a very entrenched Liberal voter with very strong views about debt, asylum seekers, the unemployed etc. I find it uncomfortable to be with her now – it nearly always ends up with me getting cross unless we stick to totally benign chat about inconsequential things.

  10. Rosemary (@RosemaryJ36)

    My concern (and I am far from alone in this) is that Labor will lose votes by supporting the Metadata legislation and the TPP. Bipartisanship is not set in concrete in relation to security in particular. Shorten needs to be opposing TA every which way as by doing so he will be ensuring Labor in power at the next election and he can then modify the policies which have some merit. I saw the video for the first time and it was a delightful light-hearted moment of which we are having too few under this government!

  11. Garth

    That’s what worries me Kaye. A person with extremely strong views on a topic tends to grate unnervingly when up against someone who believes the polar opposite. Given Roskam is ED for the IPA and Shorten leader of the federal opposition I would imagine politics is a regular topic of conversation. Add in that the IPA are an extremely arrogant organisation (and don’t suffer other views too well) and you can understand my concern for where Billy truly falls on the political spectrum.

  12. philgorman2014

    Than you Kaye, for your usual cogent analysis.

    The IPA is not a genuine think tank. It is front organisation set up by big business in 1943. Its aim has always been to subvert the the governance of the democracy once known as the Commonwealth of Australia. The IPA has achieved much. The corporate takeover of our country is nearing its completion.

  13. Kaye Lee

    Conversations with my friend go….

    HER: I just got retrenched and I am really worried about our mortgage repayments

    ME: But your asset base is great. You own a beautiful home in the Eastern suburbs and an investment unit with the best views of Sydney Harbour I have ever seen. If worst come to the worst, you can sell the unit and be debt free or sell some shares to service the debt.

    HER: Oh no, I don’t want to do that. I want it as an income stream in retirement.

    ME: Is that a new diamond ring you are wearing?

    HER: Yes.

    ME: Why did you get that if you are cash strapped?

    HER: Because I deserve it

    And then she subjects me to a tirade about Labor’s debt and deficit disaster. It’s the disconnect that drives me insane. On one hand she understands the value of investing and building an income stream through your asset base and she condones “deserved” expenditure even when under debt pressure, yet can’t translate that to government debt and spending. She KNOWS I am a maths person but she won’t listen and it upsets me that she has forgotten the respect she once had for my opinion on such things buried beneath a wall of ignorant repeated lines from the Liberals with whom she now associates.

  14. darrel nay

    The fascists love it when the people are mired in the left/right paradigm – it allows them to entrench systemic control (TPP). Many people believe we need to shift our focus to liberty versus authoritarianism. Adults don’t need governments telling us how to live – governments can barely mind their own business.

  15. Loz

    Good article but very scary. What a awful awful government we have with the most ignorant, greedy and narcissistic personalities that make up the LNP.

  16. Robyn Oyeniyi

    Kaye, removing food labelling really worries me. After all I’ve researched lately. VERY SCARY!

  17. lawrencesroberts

    Paranoia be my friend: Why does team Australia take on Team Humanity all the time.

  18. John Fraser

    <

    Once everyone starts CC ing their emails to Brandis I think he will soon get the message about metadata.

  19. Kaye Lee

    I remember when I was teaching, one of the hierarchy decided that someone had to know exactly where we were at all times. Our response was to put yellow post-it notes on the head teacher’s desk – “gone to toilet” followed by “back from toilet, gone to photocopy room”. Then we would ring him to tell him we were going from the photocopy room to the library. On the way past the staffroom from the library another post-it note would let him know we were going to the canteen to get some lunch. It only took us about a week before the head teachers were screaming for mercy 🙂

  20. totaram

    Thank you for this article. It just shows how these people work. The latest is the installation of their chosen neo-con economist John Fraser, as head of treasury. After that, everything else will go their way. It’s literally putting the fox in charge of the hen coop. The trouble with labor is that even when they do come in they don’t remove all these appointees in a “show of bipartisan niceness”. Completely deluded to allow these snakes and scorpions to linger on. (Apologies to real snakes and scorpions, who are simply trying to live.)

  21. Frank

    Mkaes me feel sick. But at elast we know is really running the country.

  22. Kaye Lee

    The IPA’s Chris Berg, co-author of the 75 point plan, suggests that Fraser wants to shift focus from the demand side of the economic equation to the supply side. In his Friday speech Fraser said repairing the budget was “an immediate priority”.

    He rejected the idea that the economy could grow the budget back to surplus in the short term – the policy settings had to be changed. He told estimates that “I do not like public debt”.

    It should be noted that the decision to sack Martin Parkinson and appoint Fraser was another captain’s pick – Hockey was not consulted.

  23. crypt0

    Kaye … “”I have a very dear friend ” etc.
    I know exactly what you mean … right down to the debt and deficit , the lefties and the lefty ABC, but nary a cogent argument to be heard.
    Any reply (email) mentioning facts and/or nuances fails to attract a reply.
    I guess my friend is just not who he was, or who I thought he was… or something.
    Life is too short to waste talking about inconsequential things..
    Too bad.

  24. lawrencesroberts

    What is the ‘end game’ of this disastrous right wing procedure which impoverishes huge sections of the population for the benefit of an all ready rich minority.Is there something we are not being told? I note the American right wing are moving to bring in sterilization of the poor.

  25. Kaye Lee

    Compulsory sterilization laws were adopted by over 30 American states that led to more than 60,000 sterilizations of disabled individuals. Many of these individuals were sterilized because of a disability: they were mentally disabled or ill, or belonged to socially disadvantaged groups living on the margins of society. American eugenic laws and practices implemented in the first decades of the twentieth century influenced the much larger National Socialist compulsory sterilization program, which between 1934 and 1945 led to approximately 350,000 compulsory sterilizations and was a stepping stone to the Holocaust. Even after the details of the Nazi sterilization program (as well as its role as a precursor to the “Euthanasia” murders) became more widely known after World War II (and which the New York Times had reported on extensively and in great detail even before its implementation in 1934), sterilizations in some American states did not stop. Some states continued to sterilize residents into the 1970s.

    http://www.uvm.edu/~lkaelber/eugenics/

  26. Kaye Lee

    Darrel,

    The sources of that story are very dubious.

  27. stephentardrew

    Great article. I have said it all before however we need you to keep feeding us facts. Thanks Kaye

  28. darylmarshman

    Thanks Kaye for a very good article, to add to the scariness of this, David Marr’s article ‘Abbott running from the law’ in the Saturday Paper, just tops it off. Makes a reasonable person feel sick in the stomach wondering how we will ever recover any civil society after this lot go.

  29. Kyran

    As always, I am confounded by the absence of anything resembling fact in the IPA hysteria. Ms Lee mentioned their high profile on the ABC and I note there is a weekly round up on ABC local radio here in Melbourne, with the IPA present every week. Highly un-recommended listening. What is most infuriating is their lies are never challenged by the ‘moderator’.
    The National Curriculum is a good case in point. On an economic basis, we are a population of some 24mill people with nine education departments. I can’t fathom any argument that suggests this is cost effective. With regard to the curriculum itself, how could anyone argue that a child in one state should have a different educational criteria or standard to a child in another state? With regard to inherent discrimination in the system (social, ethnic, economic, etc), Gonski was meant to be a decent step down an equal pathway.
    Their dismissal of all this is appalling – it “will push a distinctly left-wing view of the world onto all Australian students.” Where is the evidence?
    Every week on the ’round up’, you can rest assured of the allegation of left wing bias being inherent in the ABC. Every week, it is unchallenged and no one points out the rigorous complaints system in the ABC and the lack of substantiated or ‘found’ complaints relating to bias. As opposed to the voluntary, self regulated complaints structure for the MSM, whose rulings are, at best, suggestions. There are no enforcement processes. My optimistic side hopes more people are waking up! Thank you Ms Lee, take care

  30. lawrencewinder

    Good article (correction: The Australian Ballet School, basically the feeder school form The Australian Ballet) about the Catholic Pharisees who run this fascist outfit.

  31. Harquebus

    “30 Cease subsidising the car industry” Tick.
    It is my understanding that the IPA and the CIS are sub branches of the Mont Pelerin Society which, I believe has connections to the Council on Foreign Relations and The Club of Rome.
    A shadowy underworld of elites who are trying to construct a one world bank that they will control and which, in turn, will control a future one world government.

    Something related which I watched recently.
    Propaganda-Behind Big Media-WE are BEING LIED to in a BIG WAY by the TV! TURN IT OFF!
    https://www. utube.com/watch?v=FKjKaeOZ57Q
    (Repair URL to view)

    Well done Kaye Lee.

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