So, that’s a headline, eh? Many people now know about the Institute of Public Affairs, a very right wing thinktank, whose 70th birthday (it was formed at the same time and by the same people who formed our very un-liberal Liberal Party) was celebrated by noted Australians including Rupert Murdoch, Gina Rinehart, Tony Abbott, George Brandis, and Andrew Bolt. Andrew Bolt’s son works for the IPA, just by the by.
Also there was Tony Abbott’s Opus Dei-connected confessor and friend, Cardinal George Pell, now hiding in the Vatican, lecturing on ethics and ignoring Australian police asking to interview him personally over child sexual abuse in the Church. So Australia’s great and good – or rich and snivelling, if you prefer.
The IPA gets a lot of money from its billionaire backers – and it’s linked to right wing thinktanks in the US, like the Heartland Institute, and not just a little bit. People (if we can call climate denialists that), who work for Heartland also work for IPA.
Much of IPA funding probably comes from Gina Rinehart, daughter of a West Australian mining magnate and very bad poet. The inclusion of ‘special economic zone’ status for the North of Oz (#42 on IPA List) comes right (lol) out of the Gina Rinehart Big Wishing Book for Right Wing Billionaires, right before “Rig system so i only pay workers $1 a day”.
The IPA list? Well, they came up with a list of 75 things Tony Abbott should do to transform Australia. He’s the former Liberal-National Coalition Prime Minister – Liberal in Oz meaning right wing, they’re economic liberals, not social ones, and like most rightwing parties, can’t hold government without alliances.
IPA reckoned Tony could be like Gough Whitlam. Gough was a former Labor Prime Minister, leftist, considered radical for things like ‘equal pay for women’. Tony (the IPA reckoned) should be radical for the Right the way Gough had been for the Left in the 1970’s. Sad that actual equal pay for women is still too radical for 2017 except in Iceland.
During a conversation on Twitter i
stupidly foolishly rashly volunteered to see how many of the IPA’s suggestions had been achieved. Tony Abbott of course is not PM any more, instead Malcolm “My Money’s in the Caymans” Turnbull is but the IPA influence continues unabated.
Before he was even PM, Abbott promised the IPA that the following would be done. Info from Barry Tucker‘s blog at The Sniper Takes Aim. These are the 10 Tony said were already agreed: Crossed out
like this are already done… 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
6 Repeal the renewable energy target
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 49 Privatise Medibank
69 Immediately halt construction of the National Broadband Network and privatise any sections that have already been built
Of course, the moment Tony Abbott won the election he went to work (thank you, Kevin Rudd, for losing an election that when you took over, Labor could have won easily .)
Tony didn’t manage his initial list of 10, but he did manage #1, Repeal the Carbon Tax. Because big polluters should not be penalised, at all. Most people’s energy bills have doubled since he did this, which he said would save everyone money. The Barrier Reef is in such bad shape our government had to throw a major shitfit to stop it being listed as In Danger in the UNESCO listings of World Heritage sites. It’s just in danger of being In Danger, so that’s alright. Already this year, (after last years ‘worst coral bleaching events ever’) the Reef is struggling.
The Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency (#2) went (in the UK, right wing PM May abolished hers too, seeing the pattern?), absorbed into the horribly wordy Department of Industry, Innovation, Climate Change, Science, Research and Tertiary Education. This was abolished less than a year later.
Abbott also shut down the Climate Change Commission (established to provide public information on the effects of and potential solutions to global warming).
The CCC said bugger off, in true Aussie fashion, switched to crowdfunding and became the Climate Council. Concerned Australians keep it going, because even if idiots in the Liberal National Party Coalition and the other right wing idiot fringe (yes, Pauline Hanson’s One Nation, we are looking at you) can’t see global warming, the rest of us can.
Tony tried to abolish the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (#3) and the Renewable Energy Agency (almost #6), but failed when some of the minority parties in the senate voted with Labor and the Greens. The LNP’re still chipping away, trying to make the money in the CEFC available to coal-fired power stations, providing they’re ‘clean coal’, something that’s a contradiction in terms.
Tony also directly broke pre election promises to not mess with the Renewable Energy Target but didn’t abolish it (#6). The Guardian has a list of Abbott’s worst 10 environmental decisions – truly scary.
Since his fall, the Liberals have continued his work, most recently with attempts to repeal 18C (#4) though they’ve settled this week for trying to pass changing the wording (which had worked fine for 20 years).
#42 – basically ‘make Gina the Queen of Northern Oz’, still being shouted about because without it Gina Rinehart’s money might not keep funnelling into Liberal Party coffers.
#43 – the Mining Tax was repealed after a bit of struggle. Clive Palmer’s PUP voted for it (he’s a mining magnate too) and it’s rather funny to note that while passing that, they passed the Income Support Bonus abolition and the Schoolkids bonus (welfare cuts). CORRECTION – Palmer voted for this on the condition that the Income Support and Schoolkids Bonus were put off. They’re due to zombie this year.
#44 – done – federal protections for the environment circumvented. This is why Queenslanders are now fighting the State government (which is afraid of losing votes if even 1 mining job is lost) over coal mines (the biggest in Australia!) and Barrier Reef destruction (weirdly, they don’t seem to give a crap about tourism, a much bigger provider of jobs – can only imagine Miner Adani’s hospitality must be better than anything offered in Queensland).
This goes with LNP’s federal legislating that the Environment Minister is above the law – giving then Environment Minister Greg Hunt legal immunity against future legal challenges to his decisions on mining projects – and they made it retrospective, which got Labor’s vote to pass the legislation.Yep. Don’t really have words other than horrifying.
“At the same time, State governments are seeking to ‘fast track’ major developments, such as coal mine and coal seam gas projects, reducing public participation and removing legal rights of local communities to mount legal challenges.”
#49 is quite funny – Medibank used to be a not-for-profit health insurer owned by all Australians, until it was sold off. So privatising it, as Abbott did in 2014, is like this huge joke on ALL of Oz. Technically, he was fulfilling a Howard government promise from 2007.
#69 Tony Abbott put now-PM Turnbull on the job of completely fucking up the NBN. Malcolm did an excellent job. It wasn’t stopped, not completely, nor privatised, just gutted, buggered, and ruined.
Malcolm decided that Fibre to the Home was no longer an option (despite him investing in companies delivering FTTH in Europe) but we would have the cheaper Fibre to the Node – which might be come off the optical cable a long way from your home, and be part-carried by the decayed Telstra copper network. Telstra’s been neglecting this for a decade while they waited for the NBN or some other form of cable broadband to come in. This charming article “Nope, copper network still rooted (and maybe worse than first thought)” explains. So it would be slow. Very very slow.
In fact, Turnbull succeeded so completely that the NBN is in parts slower than Telstra’s rather pathetic ADSL2 (this can be completely destroyed by any errant radio frequency – in my last house, the Adsl2 went down every time neighbour’s badly-wired solar panels kicked in).
It’s also MORE expensive than the original by billions – he literally doubled the cost, then kept going – as this article explains “from $29.5 billion to $41 billion, and then last year to “up to” $56 billion. And instead of delivering 25 Mbps by 2016, now the MTM network isn’t expected to be finished until 2020 – only a year earlier than Labor expected to finish its rollout.”
So today in Oz you might be forced off your decent ADSL2 (if you think 10mbps on a good day is good) onto the NBN, and get LESS speed. Oh – and Turnbull called it the MTM – Multi Technology Mix – but nobody noticed.
People on Twitter still type angry tweets about the NBN. We’ve fallen to 51st in internet speed worldwide.
— Craig Thomler (@craigthomler) March 15, 2017
So. if we look back at the IPA’s list of 100, Tony did 5/10 he promised, we’ve covered 1-4 and 6 of the first 10 and several Tony decided were important. Next on the IPA list were…
- abandon Australia’s bid for a seat on the United Nations Security Council
Far as i can tell, this is still ongoing – the bid currently underway (we won a seat on the UNSC back in 2012 for 2 years, when Abbott was still in Opposition) culminates in seats available in 2029. *UPDATE – opposition abandoned when LNP decided being King Dicks at the UN felt good.
- return income taxing powers to the states
Kneejerk IPA hatred of Federal powers and their desire to apparently set up tinpot dictatorships in most states notwithstanding, though this has been put forward it hasn’t been made law, and the states don’t seem that keen.
- abolish the Commonwealth Grants Commission
This is an independent statutory body, that advises the Federal government on aid to the States and Territories. Why IPA wants it gone, i don’t know – except as above ‘tinpot dictatorships’. It’s still there.
- abolish the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
This one’s easier to figure out as to why – the ACCC is the only thing standing between most Australians and being ridden over (totes rough-shod) by various businesses or between businesses as some big Liberal donors set up monopolies or duopolies and get to rort the whole of Oz, something they’ve been happy doing since approximately the First Fleet.
Riding rough-shod over people is a Liberal and IPA right, so they want the ACCC gone. It’s still here.
May God bless the ACCC.
- withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol
Pollution is ok, says the IPA – now i’m writing slogans for them.
Air to breathe is not a right the IPA want to defend, not like ‘free speech’ that US import that seems to only be for the right when they want to call someone names because of their ethnicity, sex, sexual proclivities, or religion. Breathing doesn’t affect IPA members, most are reptiles who breathe through really cool filters in their skin. (Ok, so i’m not 100% on that, but why else would they try to poison the air and water and earth? Does anyone know?)
Anyway, our commitment to Kyoto was lukewarm and we even had a special land-clearing allowance in it. This meant we could get to meet emissions targets without actually reducing pollution.
As Crikey points out in the article linked to above:
“Which is why at the same time that we’re on track to meet our target, our emissions from electricity and transport had soared by more than 50% and 40%.”
You’d think the IPA would be totes behind keeping Kyoto seeing it’s so easy for us to fulfil, but ALL pollution deserves to run free, and be able to make up false rumours about minorities if it wants to.
- introduce fee competition to Australian universities
This was scrapped, then it wasn’t, then it was, then they cut university funding in the 2014 budget that became the 2016 budget, and at time of writing they’re still trying to pass as the 2017 Omnibus.
That’s me done for now – phew. I’ll come back to this in a new post. Which i will of course link from here.
If you have ideas on why the above are so important to the IPA, leave a comment, if it solves a question or corrects the above, i’ll edit to include it.
Next, we will try to do 12-at least 20.
EDIT – Amazed myself – did the full 100 – here, A Right Wing Thinktank II
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