Is there any institution more dismal and useless than the corporate shill-filled thinktanks that clog up the pages of our MSM with their stuff?
A couple of weeks ago, charities like Oxfam, Red Cross, Caritas Australia and World Vision were rushing to Indonesia to help the victims of the latest natural disaster, while at home, others like the Brotherhood of St Laurence and Smith family are gearing up to do what they do every winter in Victoria – helping those who are falling through the holes in our welfare system.
And what was one of our best-known think tanks doing to help? Well, they were fearlessly taking to their keyboards to produce nasty anonymous press releases, like this one in the AGE the same day (not on the web, as far as I can tell):
Charities and non-profit organisations are poorly regulated, lack transparency and are vulnerable to political manipulation, a report says.
A conservative think-tank, the Institute of Public Affairs, has warned that there are no clear rules governing the rapidly expanding sector, which accounts for up to 10 per cent of the economy and gets billions of dollars each year in tax breaks and donations.
The report said there were examples of organisations undertaking activities that were either “clearly not charitable in nature, not appropriate for an organisation of their status or directly break laws.”
(No byline– well, would you admit to stuff like that?)
Isn’t a blanket accusation that organisations are “break(ing) laws” defamatory? Is the IPA hoping the NGOs are too busy doing real work to protest or prosecute, or does the absence of a specific target make the statement too diffuse to attract a defamation charge?
The IPA is a pest which entwines through our public discourse like feral lantana. In the same edition of the AGE, on page one, Gary Johns – an IPA regular, though wearing his Bennelong Society / Menzies Research Centre hat– advocates taking from remote Aboriginal communities the last thing they own, namely, their cultural heritage. (Funnily enough, the IPA is inhabited by the kind of people who’d passionately resist removing the western “cultural heritage”, such as Shakespeare and Latin, from schools Down South).
Quelle coincidence, Gary Johns is also the originator of the “NGOs are crooks who ought to be investigated” report, which he wrote for the Federal government a couple of years ago. They took a fee from the government for “consulting” on that, but didn’t mention it until those pinko socialists at the ABC outed them. They also rarely mention their links to the American Enterprise Institute.
The rationale for this scattershot accusation and defamation is the idea that NGOs have too much influence and power. Since it’s unusual these days to open a newspaper without encountering some fresh IPAspeak, and their utterances are apparently taken seriously by government ministers (the last linked “report [was] endorsed by federal Education Minister Julie Bishop”, and Peter Costello absolutely loved the idea of muzzling the welfare NGOs). And yet we’re not supposed to be concerned about them?
Imagine coming to after an earthquake like the one in Java: instead of a Red Cross or Unicef worker, saline or bandages, food or water, the first thing you see is an accountant in a nice suit, with arch lever binders and laptop at the ready to give you a damn good auditing.