Institute of Public Affairs

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This article is about the Australian free-market think tank. For the Polish think tank, see Institute of Public Affairs, Poland. For the Chilean institute, see Institute of Public Affairs of the University of Chile.
Institute of Public Affairs
Established 1943
Focus The free market of ideas, the free flow of capital, a limited and efficient government, evidence-based public policy, the rule of law, and representative democracy.
Chairman Rod Kemp
Executive Director John Roskam
Budget FYE June 2012
Income: A$4,002,427
Expenses: A$3,689,095[1]
Location Level 2, 410 Collins Street
Melbourne Victoria 3000
Coordinates 37°49′01″S 144°57′38″E / 37.8170°S 144.9606°E / -37.8170; 144.9606Coordinates: 37°49′01″S 144°57′38″E / 37.8170°S 144.9606°E / -37.8170; 144.9606

The Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) is a public policy think tank[2][3][4] based in Melbourne, Australia. It advocates free market economic policies such as privatisation and deregulation of state-owned enterprises, trade liberalisation and deregulated workplaces, climate change skepticism,[5] the abolition of the minimum wage,[6] the repeal of parts of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975,[7] In its own words, the Institute believes in "the free market of ideas, the free flow of capital, a limited and efficient government, the rule of law, and representative democracy."[2]


The IPA was founded in 1943, partly in response to the collapse of Australia's main conservative party, the United Australia Party.[8] The IPA was one of a number of groups which came together to form the Liberal Party of Australia, and became an important fund raising body for the Liberal Party in Victoria.[9] The IPA returned to prominence as a thinktank in the 1990s, following a merger with the Australian Institute of Public Policy, headed by John Hyde who became Executive Director.[8]

In 2013 the IPA celebrated its 70th anniversary. Notable in attendance at the celebrations were:


The IPA funded by its membership which include both private individuals and businesses. Among these businesses are ExxonMobil,[10] Telstra, WMC Resources, BHP Billiton, Phillip Morris,[11] Murray Irrigation Limited,[12] and Visy Industries.

IPA donors have also included Clough Engineering, Caltex, Shell, and Esso.[3] Other donors were electricity and mining companies, as well as British American Tobacco (BAT).[3]

In 2003, the Australian Government paid $50,000 to the Institute of Public Affairs to review the accountability of NGOs.[4]

Political links[edit]

The Institute has close ideological and political affinities with the Liberal Party in Australia. For example, IPA Executive Director John Roskam's byline on a 2005 opinion column in the Australian Financial Review declares that, "during the 2001 federal election he worked on the Liberals' federal campaign".[13] He has also run for Liberal Party preselection.[14] Prime Minister John Howard (Liberal Party) delivered the 60th C D Kemp lecture to the Institute in 2004, titled Iraq: The Importance of Seeing it Through.[15]

Research focus[edit]

Since the early 1980s, the Institute has argued the case for a range of free-market and libertarian public policies, such as:[citation needed]

The IPA has affiliations with think tanks in the U.S., Canada, UK and Asia.[citation needed] It has a close relationship with the American Enterprise Institute, a right-wing US think-tank.[citation needed]

The IPA has made the following criticisms of proposals by the Australian government to introduce plain packaging of tobacco products:

  • Plain packaging may not affect the consumption of those products and [18]
  • Plain packaging may infringe intellectual property rights in tobacco trademarks and logos.

The IPA adopts a position of doubt about climate change and finances several Australian climate change science doubters.[19]

In 2008, the institute facilitated a donation of $350,000 by Dr G. Bryant Macfie, a climate change sceptic, to the University of Queensland for environmental research. The money is to fund three environmental doctoral projects, with the IPA suggesting two of the three agreed topics.[20]

In 2014 the IPA called for the abolition of the minimum wage in Australia.[21]

Notable people[edit]

The following individuals are associated with the activities of the Institute of Public Affairs:

Name Title Date appointed Date ended Term in office Comments Ref
Janet Albrechtsen Director incumbent Opinion writer for The Australian and a former director of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation [22][23][24]
Chris Berg Senior Fellow incumbent Columnist [25]
James Bolt Communications Coordinator incumbent Son of Andrew Bolt, an Australian conservative political commentator [26]
Bob Day Australian Senator representing South Australia for the Family First Party [27]
John Elliott Australian businessman, former president of the Liberal Party, and former president of Carlton Football Club
Kevan Gosper Former Vice President of the International Olympic Committee [28]
Father James Grant Adjunct Fellow incumbent Catholic Priest and founder of Chaplains Without Borders, and Catholics in Business [28]
John Hyde Emeritus Fellow 1998 incumbent 18–19 years Economist, former politician, and former Executive Director of the IPA [28]
David Leyonhjelm Australian Senator representing New South Wales for the Liberal Democratic Party [27]
John Lloyd Australian Public Service Commissioner and the former Australian Building and Construction Commissioner [29]
Rod Kemp Chairman incumbent Former Australian Government minister, Australian Senator representing Victoria for the Liberal Party. Kemp's father, Charles Kemp, was a co-founder of the IPA. [30][31]
James Paterson Australian Senator representing Victoria for the Liberal Party [32]
David Penington Former Vice-Chancellor of University of Melbourne [28]
Jason Potts Adjunct Fellow incumbent Economist [28]
Gina Rinehart Chairman of Hancock Prospecting [28]
John Roskam Executive Director 2004 incumbent 12–13 years Formerly the Executive Director of the Menzies Research Centre, Canberra [33]
Tony Smith Research Assistant 1989 1990 0–1 years Liberal Party Member for Casey, Speaker of the House of Representatives since August 2015 [34]
Tom Switzer Adjunct Fellow incumbent Historian [28]
Tim Wilson 2007 2013 5–6 years Liberal Party Member for Goldstein, former Policy Director of the IPA, former Australian Human Rights Commissioner [28]


The IPA Review is published quarterly.[35]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ MORAN Chartered Accountants Institute of Public Affairs Limited Financial Report - 2012 (pdf)
  2. ^ a b About the IPA. Retrieved 22 November 2015
  3. ^ a b c Norington, Brad (12 August 2003). "Think tank secrets - National -". Retrieved 11 April 2010. 
  4. ^ a b Millar, Royce & Schneiders, Ben. Sydney Morning Herald, 25 August 2013. Free radicals
  5. ^ "Big donors dump IPA on climate scepticism". Sydney Morning Herald. 25 August 2013. Retrieved 12 August 2014. 
  6. ^ "Institute of Public Affairs calls for the abolition of the minimum wage". Sydney Morning Herald. 7 April 2014. Retrieved 12 August 2014. 
  7. ^ "Conservative think tank the Institute of Public Affairs gives George Brandis race law ultimatum". Sydney Morning Herald. 1 May 2014. Retrieved 12 August 2014. 
  8. ^ a b Seccombe, Mike. "Abbott's faceless men of the IPA". The Saturday Paper. Retrieved 29 June 2015. 
  9. ^ Robert Menzies in Office at the National Archives of Australia
  10. ^ "The global warming sceptics". Melbourne: 27 November 2004. Retrieved 2 November 2009. 
  11. ^ "Thinkers of Influence". The Age. Melbourne. 10 December 2005. 
  12. ^ Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Country Hour, 2004
  13. ^ Roskam, John (15 July 2005). "Sermons from the left". Financial Review. 
  14. ^ Koutsoukis, Jason (17 June 2005). "Party faces choice new blood or not". The Age. Melbourne. 
  15. ^ John Howard, 19 May 2004, Address to the Institute of Public Affairs.
  16. ^ "Ignore the hysteria: it's time we privatised the tone deaf, left-leaning ABC". The Age. 30 January 2014. 
  17. ^ "Australian public service allowances attacked: Institute of Public Affairs report". The Canberra Times. 18 December 2015. 
  18. ^ Chris Berg, IPA Research Fellow, The Age, 17 April 2001, [1].
  19. ^ "The benefit of the doubt". The Sydney Morning Herald. 8 May 2010. 
  20. ^ "Dispute over climate sceptic uni grant". The Australian. 7 May 2008. 
  21. ^ "Institute of Public Affairs calls for the abolition of the minimum wage". The Sydney Morning Herald. 7 April 2014. 
  22. ^ Caldwell, Alison (24 February 2005). "ABC critic appointed to board of directors". ABC News. Australia. Retrieved 30 April 2007. 
  23. ^ "ABC Friends label Janet Albrechtsen and Neil Brown panel appointments a declaration of war on independence". ABC News. Australia. 3 July 2014. 
  24. ^ "Janet Albrechtsen appointed to ABC and SBS board appointments panel". The Sydney Morning Herald. 2 July 2014. 
  25. ^ "Chris Berg". Institute of Public Affairs. Retrieved 7 June 2016. 
  26. ^ "Tips and rumours". Crikey. 1 May 2015. Retrieved 7 June 2016. 
  27. ^ a b Seccombe, Mike (31 May 2014). "Abbott's faceless men of the IPA". The Saturday Paper. 
  28. ^ a b c d e f g h "People". Institute of Public Affairs. 
  29. ^ "John Lloyd". Institute of Public Affairs. 
  30. ^ "Rod Kemp". Institute of Public Affairs. Retrieved 7 June 2016. 
  31. ^ Senator Rod Kemp (14 September 1990). "Senate debates, First speech". Parliament of Australia. 
  32. ^ "People: James Paterson". Institute of Public Affairs. Retrieved 2 April 2016. 
  33. ^ "John Roskam". Institute of Public Affairs. 
  34. ^ "The Hon Tony Smith MP". Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 18 June 2016. 
  35. ^ OCLC 725153335 ISSN 1329-8100

External links[edit]