In December 2013, Joe Hockey declared on the 7:30 report, “There’s no free lunches from government. The days of just handing out cash and helicoptering money out is just not possible.”
Ignoring his ironically prescient use of the word ‘helipcoptering’, it seems the cash handouts are still flowing to some.
On the 20th of February 2014, just before the budget from hell, the Department of Finance gave $234,371.50 to The Menzies Research Centre Limited for “Nominated purposes and general expenses of the Centre.”
On February 14th, 2015 the Department of Finance gave them another grant of $239,764.80 for
- Conducting roundtables and seminars on social and political policy issues;
- Development of website to disseminate information and production of articles and publications;
- Conducting research and other projects approved by the Board within the objects set out in the Constitution of the Centre; and
- Covering the general expenses incurred in conducting the activities noted
The receipts of the Centre in 2014-15 were $538,690 coming from corporate and private sponsors as well as government grants, including $66,000 from Google Australia Pty Ltd.
On 11th of February 2016 the Department of Finance made a further grant of $245,279.10. The purpose of the grant was exactly the same as the previous year.
The Menzies Research Centre Ltd is an Australian public policy think tank. It was founded in 1994 on the Centenary of Robert Menzies birth. In disclosure returns lodged with the Australian Electoral Commission, it disclosed that it is an associated entity of the Liberal Party naming Peta Credlin’s husband Brian Loughnane as financial controller.
The Centre makes donations to the Liberal Party. Without doing an extensive search, it donated $230,639 to the party in 2001-02 and $39,603 in 2013-14 as two examples.
When Malcolm Turnbull was federal Liberal Party treasurer, he donated $150,000 to the Centre, where he was the chairman at the time.
Andrew Robb is one of the current Directors and a former Chairman. John Howard is a former Director as is Julian Leeser, who just replaced Philip Ruddock as member for Berowra.
Nick Cater works for them and endlessly churns out their agenda in the pages of The Australian. One of their latest missions is a campaign to include Howard’s documentary on Menzies in every school curriculum.
“The MRC has acquired the educational rights to Howard on Menzies allowing us to distribute the program to schools.”
When so many charities and community groups have had their funding cut by this government, and as people on welfare face even further cuts, it is astonishing to think that the government is funding their own party think tank every year who then kindly donates the taxpayer funds back to the Liberal Party. How many Parakeelia type set-ups do these guys actually have to milk public funds into party coffers?
NB It should be noted that the same amount has been given to the Chifley Research Centre Ltd, the Labor equivalent. We give a lot more to the parties than we realise.