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
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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]


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][13]

Political links

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".[14] He has also run for Liberal Party preselection.[15] 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.[16]

Research focus

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 [17][note 1]
  • 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.[18]

In 2008, the institute facilitated a donation of $350,000 by Dr G. Bryant Macfie, a climate change denier, 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.[19]


John Roskam is the institute's executive director. Prior to his employment at the IPA, Roskam was the Executive Director of the Menzies Research Centre in Canberra.[20]

Other notable staff include:[21]


The IPA Review is published quarterly.[22]

See also


  1. MORAN Chartered Accountants Institute of Public Affairs Limited Financial Report - 2012 (pdf)
  2. 2.0 2.1 About the IPA. Retrieved 22 November 2015
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Norington, Brad (12 August 2003). "Think tank secrets - National -". Retrieved 11 April 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 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.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Institute of Public Affairs calls for the abolition of the minimum wage". Sydney Morning Herald. 7 April 2014. Retrieved 12 August 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  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.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. 8.0 8.1 Seccombe, Mike. "Abbott's faceless men of the IPA". The Saturday Paper. Retrieved 29 June 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Robert Menzies in Office at the National Archives of Australia
  10. "The global warming sceptics". Melbourne: 27 November 2004. Retrieved 2 November 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "Thinkers of Influence". The Age. Melbourne. 10 December 2005.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Country Hour, 2004
  13. Charities under attack. Oxfam Australia, 2003
  14. Roskam, John (15 July 2005). "Sermons from the left". Financial Review.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. Koutsoukis, Jason (17 June 2005). "Party faces choice new blood or not". The Age. Melbourne.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. John Howard, 19 May 2004, Address to the Institute of Public Affairs.
  17. Chris Berg, IPA Research Fellow, The Age, 17 April 2001, [1].
  18. "The benefit of the doubt". The Sydney Morning Herald. 8 May 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. "Dispute over climate sceptic uni grant". The Australian. 7 May 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. John Roskam,
  21. People,
  22. OCLC 725153335 ISSN 1329-8100


  1. Reference shows the opinion of an individual, not the IPA

External links