Abbott's faceless men of the IPA

31 May 2014

The data is in, and it shows Australia now overwhelmingly thinks Prime Minister Tony Abbott is a man whose word cannot be trusted. Depending on which poll you look at, and the exact nature of the questions asked of respondents, somewhere between two-thirds and three-quarters of voters think the first budget of the Abbott government was nasty, unfair and littered with broken promises. They consider the man himself to be a liar.

But Abbott didn’t lie about everything, and there are some people who can trust him to keep his promises. They are his people, the ones who moulded him and his party, who shape its policies, who helped him to power.

We are talking about the members and generous benefactors of the Institute of Public Affairs, Australia’s – and, it claims, the world’s – oldest right-wing think tank.

So old is the IPA that when his father helped establish it, Rupert Murdoch was but a callow youth of 12. Gina Rinehart, another of its most prominent members, was not then even a gleam in the eye of Lang Hancock. But age has not wearied it. The IPA has never been more powerful than it is right now...

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