Thursday, 19 April 2018

Institute of Public Affairs Limited (IPA) has a single broad focus - to infiltrate government in order to reduce workers to a powerless underclass

Given representatives of the Institute of Public Affairs Limited (IPA) turn up as guest commentators so frequently these days on television, radio and in newsprint - usually without mention of who they actually represent - perhaps it's time to update deatils of the corporate structure, finances and aims of this group.

This highly partisan, conservative political pressure group thinly disguised as an independent research group-cum-think tank was registered in Melbourne Victoria in 1987 and its legal owner appears to be The Trustee For Institute Of Public Affairs Research Trust. This trust was created on 10 July 2007.

In the 1990s it appears to have merged with the the Australian Institute of Public Policy.

IPA became a Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) from 30 Mar 2006, though it is hard to make out on exactly what factual grounds it became an Approved Research Institute (ARI) with charitable status.

It guards its individual and corporate membership list closely, but does admit to 4,559 members as of 1 July 2016.

IPA's founding members as then captains of industry, wealthy graziers and conservative politicians (Charles Denton Kemp, Sir Robert Gordon Menzies, B A Santamaria, Sir Keith Arthur MurdochSir George James Coles, Harold Gordon Darling, G.H. Grimwade, H.R. Harper, W.A. Ince, Fredrick Earnest Lampe MBE, Sir Walter Massy-Greene, Sir Leslie James McConnan, C.N. McKay, William Edward McPherson, Sir Ian Potter and The Hon. A.G. Warnerare reasonably well-known, as are a handful of current members.
Over the years a number of members of the IPA (past & present) have also been members of the Liberal Party (or worked for Liberal politicians), including David Kemp, Rod Kemp, John Hyde, John Roskam, Tim Wilson, James Patterson, Mitch Fifield, Nicholle Flint, Allan Pidgeon, Mike NahanMichael Kroger, Tom SwitzerAndrew ShearerRichard Allsop, Simon Breheny, Ross Maclean, Peta Credlin and Tony Smith.

A significant number of IPA supporters are easily identified because this pressure group published the names of around 1,261 of its supporters in 2011.

Its board and company directors are now known due to the fact that it has finally published annual reports from 2000-01 to 2016-17.

IPA states that: 86 per cent of the IPA's revenue is donated by individuals, 12 per cent is received from foundations, 1 per cent from businesses, and 1 per cent from other sources such as interest. The IPA neither seeks nor receives any funding from government. In addition to the membership fees contributed by IPA members, the IPA received 2,913 separate donations during 2016-17.

It also supplies this graph of modest through to rather generous individual and corporate donations in its 2016-17 Annual Report:

The Institute of Public Affairs updated its policy aims in 2012 as it geared up to fight against Australian Labor Party and Greens policies during the 2013 federal election campaign:

1 Repeal the carbon tax, and don’t replace it. It will be one thing to remove the burden of the carbon tax from the Australian economy. But if it is just replaced by another costly scheme, most of the benefits will be undone.
2 Abolish the Department of Climate Change
3 Abolish the Clean Energy Fund
4 Repeal Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act
5 Abandon Australia’s bid for a seat on the United Nations Security Council
6 Repeal the renewable energy target
7 Return income taxing powers to the states
8 Abolish the Commonwealth Grants Commission
9 Abolish the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
10 Withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol
11 Introduce fee competition to Australian universities
12 Repeal the National Curriculum
13 Introduce competing private secondary school curriculums
14 Abolish the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA)
15 Eliminate laws that require radio and television broadcasters to be ‘balanced’
16 Abolish television spectrum licensing and devolve spectrum management to the common law
17 End local content requirements for Australian television stations
18 Eliminate family tax benefits
19 Abandon the paid parental leave scheme
20 Means-test Medicare
21 End all corporate welfare and subsidies by closing the Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education
22 Introduce voluntary voting
23 End mandatory disclosures on political donations
24 End media blackout in final days of election campaigns
25 End public funding to political parties
26 Remove anti-dumping laws
27 Eliminate media ownership restrictions
28 Abolish the Foreign Investment Review Board
29 Eliminate the National Preventative Health Agency
30 Cease subsidising the car industry
31 Formalise a one-in, one-out approach to regulatory reduction
32 Rule out federal funding for 2018 Commonwealth Games
33 Deregulate the parallel importation of books
34 End preferences for Industry Super Funds in workplace relations laws
35 Legislate a cap on government spending and tax as a percentage of GDP
36 Legislate a balanced budget amendment which strictly limits the size of budget deficits and the period the federal government can be in deficit
37 Force government agencies to put all of their spending online in a searchable database
38 Repeal plain packaging for cigarettes and rule it out for all other products, including alcohol and fast food
39 Reintroduce voluntary student unionism at universities
40 Introduce a voucher scheme for secondary schools
41 Repeal the alcopops tax
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
43 Repeal the mining tax
44 Devolve environmental approvals for major projects to the states
45 Introduce a single rate of income tax with a generous tax-free threshold
46 Cut company tax to an internationally competitive rate of 25 per cent
47 Cease funding the Australia Network
48 Privatise Australia Post
49 Privatise Medibank
50 Break up the ABC and put out to tender each individual function
51 Privatise SBS
52 Reduce the size of the public service from current levels of more than 260,000 to at least the 2001 low of 212,784
53 Repeal the Fair Work Act
54 Allow individuals and employers to negotiate directly terms of employment that suit them
55 Encourage independent contracting by overturning new regulations designed to punish contractors
56 Abolish the Baby Bonus
57 Abolish the First Home Owners’ Grant
58 Allow the Northern Territory to become a state
59 Halve the size of the Coalition front bench from 32 to 16
60 Remove all remaining tariff and non-tariff barriers to international trade
61 Slash top public servant salaries to much lower international standards, like in the United States
62 End all public subsidies to sport and the arts
63 Privatise the Australian Institute of Sport
64 End all hidden protectionist measures, such as preferences for local manufacturers in government tendering
65 Abolish the Office for Film and Literature Classification
66 Rule out any government-supported or mandated internet censorship
67 Means test tertiary student loans
68 Allow people to opt out of superannuation in exchange for promising to forgo any government income support in retirement
69 Immediately halt construction of the National Broadband Network and privatise any sections that have already been built
70 End all government funded Nanny State advertising
71 Reject proposals for compulsory food and alcohol labelling
72 Privatise the CSIRO
73 Defund Harmony Day
74 Close the Office for Youth
75 Privatise the Snowy-Hydro Scheme

By 2014 a few more policies made it on to the IPA list according to The AIM Network:

* “Immediately halt construction of the National Broadband Network and privatise any sections that have already been built”

* “Rule out the introduction of mandatory pre-commitment for electronic gaming machines”

* “Extend the GST to cover all goods and services” and

* “Negotiate and sign free trade agreements with Australia’s largest trading partners, including China, India, Japan and South Korea”.

Liberal Party prime ministers have been working their way through IPA's policy agenda since such lists were first created.

Federal Government regulation now means there is some degree of transparency with regard to IPA finances, which like the finances of other 'charities" are subject to disclosure.

Annual Information Statement declared by The Trustee For Institute Of Public Affairs Research Trust (Charity ABN 33886902896), October 2017, excerpt:

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