The Institute of Public Affairs is one of the country’s most powerful think tanks (this wishlist shows just how many of their policies the Abbott government promised or delivered), but just how it is funded has long been a mystery. Member for Goldstein Tim Wilson and Senator James Paterson are ex-IPA employees now elected to Parliament, and they probably won’t be the last. While the IPA’s annual report shows the think tank had revenue of $4.96 million in the last financial year, 91% of which is from individual donations, details about those individuals are rarely released. An email from IPA boss John Roskam to members late last week sheds some light, revealing a “generous bequest” from former board member Hilton Nicholas is helping to top up coffers after he passed away in January. Nicholas, who was an heir to the Nicholas Aspro company, was also a former chair of the Victoria Racing Club.

Roskam emphasised that the IPA received no government funding, which helped ensure its work was “relevant, important, and makes a difference to creating a better country”.

So it turns out people who advocate for the abolition of the minimum wage, and the removal of the paid parental leave, the baby bonus and the first-home buyers’ grant (handily captured here) are the kind of people who can afford to make private donations to promote those messages. Who would’ve thought?

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Peter Fray

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