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 usnever 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.
5 thoughts on “The IPA has captured our government”
Thank you for your investigation into the “Who’s Who” of this IPA. The next very important investigation into our Federal Parliament is to name the “Who’s Who” of Parliamentarians members in the Religious arena, namely the Evangelical Pentecostal Movement. They may also be the same people linked to the IPA. The Australian Public need to know.
Good overview, and there are no original ideas on the Australian right, now almost entirely imported from the US.
Evangelical support apparently emerged in the US post 1980s when the Koch’s realised that running for the Presidency as radical right libertarians would garner no more than 5% of the vote, hence, need to build coalition(s) to takeover the Republican Party, according to Nancy MacLean in ‘Democracy in Chains: Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America.
This broad and seemingly contradictory coalition included the NRA, pro-life conservatives, white nationalists, eco-fascists, evangelicals etc. coalescing round Koch eco system of think tanks including Cato, Heritage, etc., academia and the infamous ‘bill mill’ ALEC; Jane Mayer in ‘Dark Money’ outlines the corporate funds to support the ‘architecture’ and ‘media assembly line’.
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I am really just discovering all of this. It astounds me that Australian media have not hounded them out of public life. How about the ABC offering the likes of Switzer and Bolt and Roskam air time?
Australia does not have a media, while the media are too similar and chummy with MPs plus related corporate types, and themselves e.g. Insiders; while Australia’s cultural diversity is under represented if at all, in favour of nostalgic culturally specific WASP or ‘Anglo Saxon’ iconism (hence Cook, the flag, monarchy, Gallipoli, ANZACS etc. and constant dog whistling of ‘immigrants’ etc.) .
The ABC is being attacked on one hand and compelled to compromise on the other, like the BBC has been doing; a form of the ‘wrecking crew’ strategy if making government services and agencies unfit for purpose, while strangling budgets.
The glib description of the ‘Anglo sphere’ of presents day conservative nativist US, UK and Australia (excluding Canada, NZ and Ireland), is promoting WASP cultural exceptionalism with 19th century economics/business joined at the hip with a eugenics based class system; supported by too many (ageing) voters, even if against their own (or following generations’) interests..