The most destructive organization in Australia (ODT)
Australia has a big problem. The democratic processes and freedom of the press is under threat. Not content with having an out of control Murdoch-owned media, the Institute of Public Affairs is now attempting to destroy the only balanced mainstream media outlet in the country: the ABC.
This deplorable organisation is made up of some of the wealthiest people in Australia. The IPA was founded in 1943 by none other than Rupert Murdoch’s father. It is a pressure group, and increasingly is now enmeshed into the political system itself, with over a dozen politicians in parliament affiliated with this partisan, extremist group.
The politically charged emails between the APS boss and the IPA have again highlighted its partisan nature — does this disqualify it from being a charity? Rosie Williams reports.
Senate Estimates this week have thrown a spotlight on relationships between the highest echelons of the Australian Public Service and rightwing “charity”, the Institute of Public Affairs.
Stephen Keim discusses Kevin Donnelly’s use of a discredited IPA study as a benchmark for university education content and the advancement of the Right’s long march into privilege, tyranny and ‘universal truth’.WHEN an opinion piece, starts by citing an Institute of Public Affairs’ (IPA) “forensic analysis of how history is now taught in our universities”, it is probably a good signal that I should read no further.
The success of the IPA in influencing the climate change debate will likely kill far more people than any terrorist organisation.
Many people claim that, because Malcolm Turnbull is personally wealthy, he is more qualified to oversee our economy. But if the ABS figures are anything to go by, Malcolm is taking us backwards at a rate of knots. Over the past 12 months, trend employment increased by 217,000 – a far cry from the 300,000…
The successful big business-led scam that let to the abolition of the road safety tribunal has revealed fatal flaws in our media and democracy.
As the MSM excitedly reports on truckie “owner drivers” rallying in Canberra for lower rates, managing editor Dave Donovan uncovers the sham organisations calling for the RSRT’s abolition.
The IPA, a noted critic of the national broadcaster, is invited to have input into an editorial review, and Fairfax delivers a royal apology to a Saudi prince
Question. When is libertarianism not liberating? Answer: When it’s the low-profile but remarkably influential Institute for Public Affairs.
When the IPA came up with their list of 75 plus 25 policies “that would make Australia richer and more free” they described it as “a deliberately radical list”. “There’s no way Tony Abbott could implement all of them, or even a majority. But he doesn’t have to implement them all to dramatically change Australia.…
. . or Public Apathy and 75 Ideas to Make You Shudder.
The Institute of Public Affairs is a free market right-wing think tank that is funded by some of Australia’s major companies and is closely aligned to the Liberal Party.
In April 2013 it held its 70th Birthday Bash with Rupert Murdoch as its keynote speaker. Andrew Bolt was the Master of Ceremonies. Special guests included Gina Rinehart, Cardinal George Pell and many other conservative luminaries. A special address by then opposition leader Tony Abbott was a highlight.
The IPA put forward 75 proposals for a future Abbott government to consider. They were accompanied by an article titled Be like Gough: 75 radical ideas to transform Australia and attributed to John Roskam, Chris Berg and James Paterson.
Here is a short extract:
“If he wins government, Abbott faces a clear choice. He could simply overturn one or two symbolic Gillard-era policies like the carbon tax, and govern moderately. He would not offend any interest groups. In doing so, he’d probably secure a couple of terms in office for himself and the Liberal Party. But would this be a successful government? We don’t believe so. The remorseless drift to bigger government and less freedom would not halt, and it would resume with vigor when the Coalition eventually loses office. We hope he grasps the opportunity to fundamentally reshape the political culture and stem the assault on individual liberty.”
In his speech Abbott acknowledged the Institutes input into LNP policy and took the opportunity to commit to a whole raft of big promises to radically change the culture and political landscape of Australia.
“I want to assure you,” he said, “that the Coalition will indeed repeal the carbon tax, abolish the department of climate change, and 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.”
True to his word he is making a decent hole in the list. He has stopped subsidies to the car industry, eliminated (partly) Family Tax Benefits, destroyed the ABCs Australia network, abandoned poker machine reform, introduced a fee competition for Australian universities, and negotiated free trade deals with Japan, South Korea, China and India. Albeit without much detail. The NBN is now nothing like what was originally intended or needed.
It doesn’t end there. He might not have abolished the Human Rights Commission, but has cut $1.65 million from its budget. It refused to renew the position of its disability commissioner and without due process appointed one of the IPAs own in Tim Wilson as a commissioner. Attorney-General George Brandis has flagged an intention to “further reform” the HRC.
The Australian National Preventive Health Agency also went and the Food, alcohol and tobacco companies fell over with gratitude.
The IPA not content with its list of 75 has added a further 25 items for the governments consideration. They may not get them all but the big fish is the institutes desire to have all media ownership laws eliminated, for example, along with the relevant regulator, the Australian Communications and Media Authority, and requirements put in place that radio and TV broadcasts be “balanced”.
The communications minister Malcolm Turnbull is apparently considering it with 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.
It makes you wonder just who is governing. The government or the IPA. Or it at the very least brings into question the influence lobby groups have over governments. Particularly extreme right think tanks like the IPA who seem only to exist for the benefit of big business, the rich and the privileged.
In a lifetime of following politics in this country I have never known the electorate to be in such a political malaise. A non-caring, non-knowing apathy seems to have gripped the nation. The polls tell us that a large portion of the population supports a government that is performing incompetently with a leader equally doing so.
John Howard recently said that people these days care little for ideology. He is correct. The undecided 10% that once decided elections has expanded to 20%. People just want good policy that represents the common good.
People need to remember that the isms, be it Capitalism, Socialism, Fascism, Conservatism, Liberalism or Communism are only THEORIES! They are nothing more than words written on paper. They are not active and they do nothing. Each theory is neither good nor bad. Each theory is ultimately what the people make of them. Democracy is nothing more than a theory. Our constitution is nothing more or nothing less than what we make of it. The US Constitution and Bill of Rights have no authority . . . they are nothing more than what the American people make of them. When, because of our apathy we choose to ignore and neglect our government it is easily influenced by self-interest groups like the IPA – to serve their own purposes and there is nothing that says that those who come to manage the government must be ethical, moral, or responsible to the people.
When good people neglect their government they are then governed by lesser people. We then end up with the government we deserve.
In an article I wrote just prior to Abbott’s election I said this:
“I am in fact absolutely frightened, no petrified by the prospect that he might win and the devastation he might create with his inane personality, his reliance on lobbyists and right-wing think tanks to form policy. Also on his Catholicism and the mediocre minds of his shadow cabinet cohort”.
The 75 IPA Ideas to send a shiver down your spine. You might also consider this list from Tracking Abbott’s Wreckage.
I had intended to comment on some of the individual proposals but on reflection thought it best to allow the reader to draw his or her own conclusions and comment if they so desire. The best advice I can give is to be seated while reading. A shot of whiskey might also help.
This of course is not to say that some don’t have merit.
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
Really they must be in need of mental therapy. I can suggest a good practitioner.
Bob Day and David Leyonhjelm – Are they our very first American styled ‘Busines-Elect’ Senators?
Notwithstanding all this government has done towards implementing its agenda, the IPA is still not satisfied. There are more items on its lists of aims and, as Roskam says, they’re continuing to “hold Abbott’s feet to the fire”.
Front organisations –
The other way the IPA gets its message out is through front organisations, such as the Australian Environment Foundation. It was publicly launched on World Environment Day, June 5, 2005, as a “membership-based environmental organisation having no political affiliation”. One which would take an “evidence-based”, “practical” approach to green issues.
In fact, 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, genetically modified foods. Above all, it promoted the work of climate change deniers.
Currently the AEF is engaged in lobbying the World Heritage Committee in support of the Abbott government’s plan to de-list parts of the Tasmanian forests.
These days, the IPA denies any formal ongoing relationship, but IPA members regularly speak at AEF events and the AEF’s head, Max Rheese, remains an IPA stalwart.
There are other examples, such as 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.
A driving force behind the ODA was Bob Day, an alumnus of both the IPA and another right-wing think tank, the Centre for Independent Studies. He is particularly interesting for he is now a senator. Not for the Liberals, but for the Family First Party.
Day and David Leyonhjelm, who was elected as a Liberal Democrat, are both “long-term IPA members” who Roskam expects to be “a breath of fresh air” in the parliament.
Which is to say, they represent the right-wing, libertarian views of the institute even more faithfully than the Liberal Party itself.
Not only have the IPA’s front organisations now penetrated the federal parliament, they will be crucial to the passage of the Abbott government’s legislation through the senate.
Notwithstanding all this government has done towards implementing its agenda, the IPA is still not satisfied. There are more items on its lists of aims and, as Roskam says, they’re continuing to “hold Abbott’s feet to the fire”.
For the IPA, the concern is that this government is not tough enough.
#BlockSupply #DoubleDissolution #NotFitToGovern #TheWilkieWay
The Real News Channel Australian Labor Party The Australian Greens The Saturday Paper
This one’s got to hurt.
And for those saying it can’t be, here are some quotes from Mein Kampf:
“Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord.”
“Thank the Lord, Germanic democracy means just this: that any old climber or moral slacker cannot rise by devious paths to govern his national comrades, but that, by the very greatness of the responsibility to be assumed, incompetents and weaklings are frightened of.”
“The unprecedented rise of the Christian Social Party… was to assume the deepest significance for me as a classical object of study.”
“Even less could I understand how the Christian Social Party at this same period could achieve such immense power. At that time it had just reached the apogee of its glory.”
“As long as leadership from above was not lacking, the people fulfilled their duty and obligation overwhelmingly. Whether Protestant pastor or Catholic priest, both together and particularly at the first flare, there really existed in both camps but a single holy German Reich, for whose existence and future each man turned to his own heaven.”
Certainly sounds like a conservative Christian to me, regardless of his later relationship with the church
Also sounds like he had messiah complex. Says a lot really. Abbott and his cronies display very similar symptoms.. Just looks at Morrison!
Economists are refuting the three big picture claims made by the government: 1) We have a budget emergency 2) We have a debt crisis and 3) The carbon tax was ruining the economy
There’s a joke about economists: if you ask five economists the same question you’ll get six different answers. Granted, it’s not a very good joke, but it’s a fair call. Ours is a complex field, and a growing number of economists are acknowledging that the theory sitting behind mainstream economics is mostly rubbish. As a result, it’s very difficult to find consensus on real world events.
But that’s where Abbott and Hockey have achieved what many thought impossible: a true consensus. Unfortunately for the coalition government, the consensus is entirely against them. The Abbott government’s agenda has been driven by three major claims, all of them economic in nature. Let’s see how economists view these three themes:
1) There is a budget emergency
Number of economists who agree: zero
2) The federal government has a debt crisis
Number of economists who agree: zero
3) Carbon pricing is an economic wrecking ball
Number of economists who agree: zero
The above represents a very slight exaggeration. You can find people with some economics qualifications who agree with the government but, without exception, they either work for the Coalition or for some entity with ideological motives (like the IPA or News Corp).
While most would agree that there are serious structural problems with the budget, none would call it an emergency. Chris Richardson, economist and partner at Deloitte Access Economics, said:
We don’t need a surplus tomorrow, we don’t even necessarily need it in five years’ time. I’m more than happy with us getting back to sustainable fiscal finances over the long term. The politics would tend to suggest moving earlier rather than later but on the economics there’s no rush.
Saul Eslake, chief economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, said that to call the Australian debt situation a crisis was “to abuse the English language.”
Similarly, Nobel prize winning US economist Joseph Stiglitz used terms such as “absurd”, “crazy” and “a crime” to describe some of Hockey’s budget measures, and dismissed the perceived debt and deficit problems, noting that any Australian who worries about debt “must be out of their mind.” Richard Holden, professor of economics at the Australian School of Business, put it this way: “First, Australia does not have a debt crisis. Or, to put it another way, Australia does not have a debt crisis.”
It doesn’t stop here. The Age recently conducted its annual economics survey of 25 prominent economists. They select economists from a broad range of backgrounds across the spectrum of economics and their views vary widely on almost all issues. None of them agreed with the government on any of the above three topics.
This unique consensus among economists makes it clear that the entire government agenda is based on false premises. How has this exposure affected the Coalition’s agenda or their messaging? Not at all. Not one bit. Not one iota. Let’s be clear about this. We know they’re not being honest about their real motives for policy. They know we know, too. They don’t care.
As I’ve explained previously, the Abbott and Hockey budget, if fully implemented, would have taken us a long way towards the free market social and economic model of the US, and away from the social democracy model of much of Europe. But the question remains as to why they would do this. Who benefits from a US style free market system where government minimises its involvement?
The answer of course is the wealthy and those who already wield power. The greatest beneficiaries of Abbott and Hockey’s policies are their largest financial backers, including the financial industry, the mining and energy industries, gambling interests and real estate companies.
For all the talk about this being the most ideologically driven government in living memory, the reality is something much simpler and more familiar. This government is simply delivering to big money what big money wants.
One of the clearest examples of this is the winding back of the Labor government’s Future of Financial Advice (FoFA) reforms. We know that many financial advisors have been preying on their clients. They make use of clients’ lack of understanding of complex investing and other financial options to direct them to financial products that are not in their interest, but rather in the interests of the advisor. This has been costing consumers huge sums of money, which primarily flow into the hands of the banks.
Labor’s reforms were aimed at making such conflicts of interest for advisors illegal in order to address this complex problem. The Coalition have wound back Labor’s changes and have provided not one defensible reason for doing so. Compliance costs and red tape have actually increased, so that cannot be used as the excuse. Meanwhile, we allow the banks to continue to profit from ripping off their customers.
The same is at play when you examine climate policy. You can’t find an independent economist who thinks the government’s “direct action” plan for tackling climate change is more efficient or effective than a carbon tax or trading scheme. Who likes direct action? The polluters of course. Instead of paying to pollute, they get paid not to pollute. Here’s the real con: one argument we are given is that the carbon tax was too big a burden on consumers. Who’s going to pay the polluters to reduce pollution? The government. Where do they get the money? From all of us. Consumers pay anyway.
The clarity of these examples reveals the sad reality of this government. They are not ideologues, they are just puppets dancing to the tune of those pulling their strings.
Originally published on http://polyfeministix.wordpress.com/
Despite the IPA’s urgency for “Abbott to be more like Whitlam” because Whitlam ‘changed Australia, more than any other Prime Minister ever has,’ the IPA’s agenda for Abbott is very different.
In the 1970’s Gough Whitlam was seen as the first progressive Prime Minister, who stood for the people. He stood for workers, battlers, migrants, everyone. He wanted to shift Australia to a more inclusive and progressive society.
Gough shifted Australia from a stagnant, mediocre nation, to a nation of ideas, progress and voices.
For so many years, the voices of the worker, the battlers and migrants had been silenced, by the collective group of individuals who could manage just fine on their own; whether that be through the privilege of money, position in society, family heritage or education, is neither here nor there. The crux of the what Gough Whitlam did, was to bring more people into this exclusive collective by opening up opportunities, thought a hand up, a fair go for all. Gough’s vision was to propel the nation forward, through ensuring that individual Australians could achieve enormous success; even if they were in a previously ‘excluded group’ under the Liberals. He wanted every single Australian, to be the best that they could be.
Gough Whitlam propelled this country forward, and these changes became the status-quo we all accepted and still do:
- Access for all to Higher Education
- Needs based funding for schools
- The beginning of what we know today as Medicare – Medibank
- National funding of hospitals and community health centres
- The creation of the single mother’s pension (now parenting payment-single)
- The handicapped children’s allowance (now known as carer’s payment).
- Funding community grassroots social welfare organisations and volunteer organisations (now collectively known as ‘the community sector’) who served a need to assist individuals in their communities.
- Enacted the Social Housing Act for States, which has housed so many Australians from low income/disadvantaged households
- Outlawed discrimination against Indigenous people
- Handed back land to Indigenous people
- Funded legal services for Indigenous people
- Enacted Human Rights protection through International Acts
- Funded urban transport projects
- and connected homes to sewerage – the beginning of the end of the thunderbox
It is well known that Gough Whitlam’s legacy is very vast, therefore, I have only chosen a few for example. To read more go to: The Whitlam Government’s achievements
In the 1970’s, the Liberals, not happy at all with such changes to our society, sought a means to attack this progress and ‘return Australia to its Status Quo – to the mediocre way Australians had lived before under the Liberals.” Through political mechanisms within our system, the LNP stamped their feet and got their own way.
The reason why I have highlighted the above is to me, the correlation between the attack on Julia Gillard and Gough Whitlam. Why do I see this as a correlation between the two? Because both have the underlying construct of:
Shifting the status-quo to exclusion of groups, the notion that only ‘those who try succeed’, that everyone is equal, and the disadvantaged and unemployed are the burden of society’
In ways that Gough Whitlam shaped Australia, Julia Gillard was also attempting to do so. Policy highlights such as Gonski reforms (needs based funding for education), NDIS (Peace of mind for every Australian, for anyone who has, or might acquire, a disability), A price on Carbon (a leader ahead of many other western countries, now adopting a price on carbon), the Royal Commission into Child Abuse, an attack on Work Choices and the introduction of Fair Work Australia and Modern Awards, the National Broadband Network (which would give fast internet nationwide, including regional & rural), Plain packaging for cigarettes (a leader ahead of other nations wanting to adopt the same) and an apology to all persons affected by forced adoption practices, to name a few.
In fact, the IPA, the right wing think tank of Australia, found Prime Minister Gillard’s progress for Australians, so threatening to the Liberal way of life, they have issued a list to Abbott in 2011, to which he has agreed to implement.
The threat to the Liberal’s right-wing side of politics, that these progressive changes of the Gillard Government would become norm and adopted as the status quo amongst Australians, was a serious concern and action needed to be taken.
Indeed action was taken. The Liberals did not hold the balance of power in the senate, as they did in 1975, so they needed to adopt ways and means of bringing down a progressive and effective Government. They needed to ensure that the Liberals gained power. To do this, they needed to taint the left as corrupt, a shambles and not to be trusted.
The onslaught on Julia Gillard during her Prime Ministership was relentless, astounding, hateful and most of all untruthful.
The right, did not care if Prime Minister Gillard was not a criminal. The fact of the matter is, they had to paint her as a criminal to bring her down. Once the trust of the electorates where broken, through this tactic, they were home and hosed.
The idea behind the IPA’s list of ideas to Abbott is so that reforms could be torn down, as quickly as possible and that a push to the right through Liberal policy can shift the status quo to the hard right. The reasoning behind this, is once this becomes status quo, it will be extremely hard for any left Government in power to shift policy back to the progressive left.
This is summarized in this quote below from John Roskam, James Paterson and Chris Berg of the IPA:
Only radical change that shifts the entire political spectrum, like Gough Whitlam did, has any chance of effecting lasting change. Of course, you don’t have to be from the left of politics to leave lasting change on the political spectrum.
Essentially, the IPA has requested Abbott push the country as far right as possible, so it then becomes adopted by the public as the status quo and becomes normal over time. This is the impetus behind the relentless attacks on the Prime Minister Gillard and her Government.
Now we have a situation where the former Prime Minister, Julia Gillard has been cleared of all criminal activity. The question is, how did this play in the minds of voters at the election in 2013? How did this sway the votes to the ‘trusted right?’ The question we need to ask ourselves now and in the future, is now we understand the true agenda of the Liberal party, do we vote again in 2016/17 for a progressive Australia, or the Liberals return to mediocrity?