Editor’s Note

June 2013 Editor's Note

The Institute of Public Affairs is a right-wing, free market–cheering think-tank that gets significant support from Gina Rinehart and Rupert Murdoch. No one outside of the IPA knows how much, but it’s a lot – enough, as Media Watch pointed out on Monday, for the IPA to spruik Rinehart’s distinctly anti free–market notion to create a special economic zone in tropical Australia. 

In April, the IPA celebrated its 70th birthday at the National Gallery of Victoria with a dinner speech from the News Ltd chairman, whose father, Keith Murdoch, helped set up the Institute. Tickets were $495, or double that if you wished to meet the mogul. Tony Abbott was there, as was George Pell. News Ltd’s Agent 007 – and the apple of Rinehart’s eye at Channel 10 – Andrew Bolt, was MC. For his speech extolling the “morality” of free markets, Murdoch was presented with a drawing of himself as a knight in shining armour. Rinehart, too, was on hand, to receive the IPA’s “Leadership in Free Enterprise” award. Further prizes were auctioned off to help top up IPA funds. A tour of the Reagan ranch in Santa Barbara went to Rinehart, for $25,000, and a behind-the-scenes look at The Bolt Report was snapped up for the same amount by her daughter, Ginia (the loyal one). Guests other than the Rineharts were left to bid for a morning tea with Murdoch columnist Janet Albrechtsen and friends, or a visit to Murdoch’s Fox News studios in New York. Each sold for $20,000.

One of the IPA’s chief laments has always been that a left-wing, latte-sipping, chardonnay-quaffing, politically correct intelligentsia is wrecking the country for the rest of the population. Coincidentally, this theme has also been the driving obsession of Murdoch’s other key voice in this country, the Australian. On 13 May, the two mouthpieces joined as one, with the IPA hosting the Melbourne launch of The Lucky Culture, a book by the Australian’s chief opinion editor, Nick Cater. 

The Lucky Culture is not exactly fresh, being more or less a slap-together of commentary pieces Cater has been flogging ad nauseam on his pages over the years. And the launch was the fifth in a week – were it a boat, you’d be suspicious: all that champagne against the bow, and still no one knows if the thing can actually float. 

Still, the chagrined old white men of the IPA shuffled in droves to hear Cater, an Englishman, affirm that generations of Australians were being over-educated to the point of disagreeing with them. Down with mass university enrolments; it only breeds leftist group-think. Australians have been dumbed-up, as it were – the country would be much better off if we’d all been left to think for ourselves, or, rather, if we’d all been left to let the old conservative elites continue to do the thinking for us. 

Meanwhile, Rupert Murdoch continues to twiddle with our collective IQ via his daily tabloids in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Darwin, Hobart, Cairns, Townsville, Geelong and beyond. With this in mind, the Monthly welcomes the arrival of the Guardian to Australia’s online media landscape. Call us stupid, but we reckon an educated readership isn’t such a terrible thing.


John van Tiggelen

John van Tiggelen is a freelance writer and the author of Mango Country.

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