Institute of Public Affairs

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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]

The IPA released a list of 75 policy initiatives (later adding another 25) to "transform Australia" which incapsulates the direction of the IPA.[16] [17] 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 [20]
  • 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.[21]

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.[22]

In 2014 the IPA called for the abolition of the minimum wage in Australia.[23]

In 2015 the IPA published a compilation of essays by prominent climate change skeptics titled Climate Change: The Facts.[24]

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 [25][26][27]
Chris Berg Senior Fellow incumbent Columnist [28]
James Bolt Communications Coordinator incumbent Son of Andrew Bolt, an Australian conservative political commentator [29]
Bob Day Former Australian Senator representing South Australia for the Family First Party [30]
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 [31]
Father James Grant Adjunct Fellow incumbent Catholic Priest and founder of Chaplains Without Borders, and Catholics in Business [31]
John Hyde Emeritus Fellow 1998 incumbent 18–19 years Economist, former politician, and former Executive Director of the IPA [31]
David Leyonhjelm Australian Senator representing New South Wales for the Liberal Democratic Party [30]
John Lloyd Australian Public Service Commissioner and the former Australian Building and Construction Commissioner [32]
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. [33][34]
Mike Nahan Executive Director 1995 2005 9–10 years Western Australia Liberal Party Leader and Leader of the Opposition since 2017 [35]
James Paterson Australian Senator representing Victoria for the Liberal Party [36]
David Penington Former Vice-Chancellor of University of Melbourne [31]
Jason Potts Adjunct Fellow incumbent Economist [31]
Gina Rinehart Chairman of Hancock Prospecting [31]
John Roskam Executive Director 2004 incumbent 12–13 years Formerly the Executive Director of the Menzies Research Centre, Canberra [37]
Tony Smith Research Assistant 1989 1990 0–1 years Liberal Party Member for Casey, Speaker of the House of Representatives since August 2015 [38]
Tom Switzer Adjunct Fellow incumbent Historian [31]
Tim Wilson 2007 2013 5–6 years Liberal Party Member for Goldstein, former Policy Director of the IPA, former Australian Human Rights Commissioner [31]


The IPA Review is published quarterly.[39]

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 Archived 13 November 2013 at the Wayback Machine.
  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. ^ "Institute of Liberal Party policy? What the IPA will get from Abbott". Crikey. 2013-09-06. Retrieved 2017-05-14. 
  17. ^ "IPA adds to its wishlist, and almost half are on Abbott's cards". Crikey. 2013-09-18. Retrieved 2017-05-14. 
  18. ^ "Ignore the hysteria: it's time we privatised the tone deaf, left-leaning ABC". The Age. 30 January 2014. 
  19. ^ "Australian public service allowances attacked: Institute of Public Affairs report". The Canberra Times. 18 December 2015. 
  20. ^ Chris Berg, IPA Research Fellow, The Age, 17 April 2001, [1].
  21. ^ "The benefit of the doubt". The Sydney Morning Herald. 8 May 2010. 
  22. ^ "Dispute over climate sceptic uni grant". The Australian. 7 May 2008. 
  23. ^ "Institute of Public Affairs calls for the abolition of the minimum wage". The Sydney Morning Herald. 7 April 2014. 
  24. ^ Moran, Alan; Delingpole, Dr Robert M. Carter ~ Rupert Darwall ~ James; Laframboise, Dr Christopher Essex ~ Dr Stewart W. Franks ~ Dr Kesten C. Green ~ Donna; Lindzen, Nigel Lawson ~ Bernard Lewin ~ Dr Richard S.; Moran, Dr Jennifer Marohasy ~ Dr Ross McKitrick ~ Dr Patrick J. Michaels ~ Dr Alan; Nova, Jo; Soon, Dr Garth W. Paltridge ~ Dr Ian Plimer ~ Dr Willie; Steyn, Mark; Watts, Anthony (2015-01-11). Moran, Dr Alan, ed. Climate Change: The Facts. Stockade Books. 
  25. ^ Caldwell, Alison (24 February 2005). "ABC critic appointed to board of directors". ABC News. Australia. Retrieved 30 April 2007. 
  26. ^ "ABC Friends label Janet Albrechtsen and Neil Brown panel appointments a declaration of war on independence". ABC News. Australia. 3 July 2014. 
  27. ^ "Janet Albrechtsen appointed to ABC and SBS board appointments panel". The Sydney Morning Herald. 2 July 2014. 
  28. ^ "Chris Berg". Institute of Public Affairs. Retrieved 7 June 2016. 
  29. ^ "Tips and rumours". Crikey. 1 May 2015. Retrieved 7 June 2016. 
  30. ^ a b Seccombe, Mike (31 May 2014). "Abbott's faceless men of the IPA". The Saturday Paper. 
  31. ^ a b c d e f g h "People". Institute of Public Affairs. 
  32. ^ "John Lloyd". Institute of Public Affairs. 
  33. ^ "Rod Kemp". Institute of Public Affairs. Retrieved 7 June 2016. 
  34. ^ Senator Rod Kemp (14 September 1990). "Senate debates, First speech". Parliament of Australia. 
  35. ^ "People: Mike Nahan". Institute of Public Affairs. Retrieved 22 March 2017. 
  36. ^ "People: James Paterson". Institute of Public Affairs. Retrieved 2 April 2016. 
  37. ^ "John Roskam". Institute of Public Affairs. 
  38. ^ "The Hon Tony Smith MP". Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 18 June 2016. 
  39. ^ OCLC 725153335 ISSN 1329-8100

External links[edit]