Institute of Public Affairs Research Project | Media Bias


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February: NSW branch of IPA founded. June: SA and QLD branches of IPA founded. Ideological and strategic differences meant that the organisation never federated.
"The world is ruled by little else": Australian neo-liberal think tanks during the Howard years, PHd by Andrew Thackrah published in 2012 by UWA


The IPA (through Matthew Freedman) arranged for the US climate warming sceptic beauracrat, Scott Pruitt, to meet with Australian political leaders while on a talking tour. The tour was cancelled due to an extreme weather event in the USA. Details of IPA involvement came to light after US environment group, the Sierra Club revealed improprieties via FOI. 'Pruitt faces 11 federal investigations in the US, including into his spending on travel and his business relationships with lobbyists. Freedman worked on national security-related issues for Trump's transition team but was removed after using a personal email address to conduct government business.'
'Climate sceptic group IPA suggested as co-host of Australian visit by Trump's environment chief', Adam Morton, The Guardian, 4 May, 2018.


In 1981 Antony Fischer founded the Atlas Economic Research Foundation, also known as the Atlas Network. The Atlas Network has over 450 think tanks in 100 countries globally. 'In the most widely cited and influential index of think tanks in the world, the University of Pennsylvania's 2016 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report ranked Atlas Network among the top 1 percent of organizations in the world in the following ranking categories: "Best Managed Think Tank," "Best Think Tank Network," "Best Think Tank Conference," "Think Tanks with the Best Use of the Internet," and seven other categories.'
'Our Story' page on the Atlas Network website


'...Generation Liberty saves its presence for the wider culture wars that play out on campus and in society; adding a student voice to conservative arguments, and working to build social license for the IPA's agenda.'
'The hidden roots of Generation Liberty Uncovering the latest campus political organisation', Felix Faber, Honi Soit, September 4, 2018


"In 1943 the political opposition to the Labor Party in Australia was in disarray. The catstrophic federal election defeat and the virtual collapse of the United Australia Party meant that some major reorganisation of Australian conservatism was seen as essential by both politicians and business interests. In these peculiar circumstances, the Institute of Public Affiars of Victoria was founded. The Institute was, from the outset, a dual-purpose body. On the one hand, it was intended as a research and publicity organisation on behalf of the recently established and dynamic sectors of secondary and tertiary industry in Australia. On the other, it was to be, at least initially, the business catalyst in the reconstruction of non-Labor political organisation. The disputes between the Institute in New South Wales, which wished to continue primarily as the eminence gris of non-Labor politics, and the Victorian Institute, whose purposes were much more ideological, have been outlined by Lonie and Aimer.The triumph of the Victorian 'line' after the loss of the election in New South Wales in 1943 did, however, ensure that a programe for post-war reconstruction would be the prime contribution of the Institute of Public Affairs."
The institute of public affairs and social policy in World War II. This is a revised version of a paper given at the Seminar on Post?War Reconstruction organised by Professor Robin Gollan at the Australian National University in August 1981. The research was made possible through the assistance and co?operation of C.D. Kemp, Research Officer, Director and now Consultant to the Institute of Public Affairs. All references in this article are to the Institute of Public Affairs of Victoria, unless otherwise noted. The Institutes in other states, particularly that in New South Wales, were sociologically and politically quite different. I.P.A. material cited is held in the Institute's archives. J.R. Hay Pages 198-216 | Published online: 29 Sep 2008


'In 2006, the then Federal Labor frontbencher Kelvin Thomson MP, wrote to members and potential supporters of the IPA, intimidating them because of the IPA's position on climate change (see letter attached). It is because of actions like those of Kelvin Thomson MP the IPA does not disclose its membership list. However, members are welcome to disclose their membership of the IPA.'
Andrew Poon, Marketing Manager, IPA in correspondence with ABC Mediawatch


' is clear that corporations comprised a high proportion of movement supporters. From the late 1970s until the late 1980s, corporations (who paid a higher rate) accounted for between one third to one-fifth of subscribers to the IPA.'
Cahill, Damien C, The radical neo-liberal movement as a hegemonic force in Australia, 1976-1996, PhD thesis, History and Politics Program, University of Wollongong, 2004


The NSW branch of the IPA becomes the Sydney Institute under the direction of Gerard Henderson.
Cahill, Damien C, The radical neo-liberal movement as a hegemonic force in Australia, 1976-1996, PhD thesis, History and Politics Program, University of Wollongong, 2004


An investigation into the Australian Public Service Commissioner (John Lloyd) is called by the Acting Australian Public Service Commissioner.
Federal politics reporter with the ABC news, journalist Henry Belot posted a screenshot of the letter to Twitter at 5:23 PM on 21 Jun 2018


'The IPA obtains its funds from more than 4,000 private individuals, corporations and foundations. No one source accounts for more than 6.5 per cent of the total and no one industry sector provides more than 16 per cent. No donations from political parties or grants from government are accepted.'
IPA Review, Vol. 46 No. 3, 1993, p56 hardcopy/ p66 PDF.


'Targeting those aged 16-25, it bridges the gap between the next generation and the ideas of free markets, individual responsibility, capitalism, and democracy.'
IPA Website accessed on 15th October 2018


'The Institute of Public Affairs is funded by the voluntary contributions of our 3256(as of this morning) members and supporters. We are very grateful for their support and we respect their privacy, but they are free to identify themselves if they choose.'
James Paterson, Director Communications, IPA, 10th May, 2013 in ABC Mediawatch


The Victorian branch of the IPA was founded by Charles Denton Kemp, an economic policy commentator.
Limb, Peter. "Monash University EPress". Retrieved 2018-04-19.


In late 2017, former IPA Senior Fellow, and a well-known crictic of the charity sector Gary Johns was appointed as the Head of the charities regulator, the ACNC. Johns has made claims that Indigenous women in receipt of income support are kept as 'cash cows' and should be forced to accept contraception to receive income support.
ProBono Australia, Wendy Williams, 2017


Simon Cowan of Center for Independent Studies argues that thinktanks (many of which are Approved Research Institutes enjoying DGR status with ATO), should not have to reveal their donors.
Should think tanks be forced to disclose their funders?, Simon Cowan, The Canberra Times, 4th August, 2018.


Mike Nahan takes over as Executive Director of the IPA after the merger with the Australian Institute of Public Policy. Nahan held this position with the IPA till 2005. Prior to this Nahan had held the position as head of the state policy unit with the IPA.
SourceWatch page on Michael Nahan, accessed on 15 October, 2018.


The IPA and the CIS are both members of the Atlas Network.
The Atlas Network 'Global Directory' page


The establishment of the IPA is seen as a response to the 1943 election win of Labor and the consequent collapse of the United Australia Party.
The Institute of Public Affairs and social policy in World War II, Journal of Historical Studies, RJ Hay, 2008


Executive Director of the IPA, Mike Nahan announces that the IPA will make public their donors in the next Annual Report. (No evidence that this ever occurred has been located)
Think tank secrets, Sydney Morning Herald, 12 August, 2003.


Andrew Shearer becomes deputy head of the Office of National Assessments -to be renamed Office of National Intelligence (ONI). The ONA/ONI has been given an oversight role over other intelligence agencies with the director-general to be the principal advisor on intelligence to the Prime Minister. The appointment of Andrew Shearer is considered notable for his position as CD Kemp Fellow at the Institute of Public Affairs.
Turnbull and China: don't blame the messenger, Tony Walker, SMH, 2018


Former Executive Director of the IPA, Mike Nahan, becomes WA state Treasurer for the Liberal party until the party's defeat in the 2017 state election.
Wikipedia page for Mike Nahan accessed 15 October, 2018


Former Executive Director of the IPA, Mike Nahan becomes WA Treasurer for the Liberal Party in 2014, holding this post till the 2017 electoral defeat by Labor.
Wikipedia page for Mike Nahan accessed on 15th October 2018


The Free Trade Party and the Protectionist Party fused to become the Commonwealth Liberal Party under Alfred Deakin, Australia's second Prime Minister in response to Labor's electoral success.
Wikipedia page on the Liberal Party of Australia

Rosie's IPA articles

The IPA's long march through the bureaucracy

Posted on 05 Sep 2018

This article follows on from the article on the OAIC and traces the early years of the Australian Charities and Not for Profit Commission as the Abbott government attempts to abolish the office. The ACNC is the Commonwealth charities regulator responsible for governing the multi-billion dollar charity sector.

Baird unleashes on her audience, revealing right wing bias

Posted on 13 Aug 2018

For the last two weeks I've been busily building a couple of datasets and developing a site to track ABC panellists, their affiliations and number of appearances.

The bumpy road to think tank transparency in Australia

Posted on 11 Aug 2018

During the week I received a response to my enquiry to the ATO requesting a list of Approved Research Institutes (some of which are think tanks like the IPA) however, as you will see from the respo

Getting to the bottom of the IPA's right to DGR status

Posted on 28 Jul 2018

If people are going to challenge the activities of the IPA, it is important to have a thorough understanding of the legislation governing its activities. While I do not pretend to be an authority

Correspondence: Andrew Thackrah re IPA

Posted on 09 Jul 2018

I finally got a very disappointing response from Andrew Thackrah which sheds no light on why he has claimed the IPA had tax ex

Is the IPA the tail that wags the dog?

Posted on 22 May 2018

This article is also published on Medium and Independent Australia under

Correspondence: ACNC re IPA

Posted on 01 May 2018

Hi Rosie, sorry about that! We thought we responded to your email. We'll respond asap. Apologies for the inconvenience.

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