The New ‘New Right’ in Australia

Howard Guille reports on the ‘business plan’ of the Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance (ATA)

The political right has made effective use of think tanks and lobbying organisations like the Centre for Independent Studies and the Institute of Public Affairs. A body that wants to shift public discourse and policy even further to the right has now arrived.

The 31 page “business plan” of the Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance (ATA) became available in early October. The organisation was launched on 1st May 2012 and aims, in its own words, to become ‘Australia’s leading and most influential centre-right (sic) grassroots advocacy body.’

In its own words, the ATA is not a “think tank”, but a “do tank”. It is a design for ‘an innovative grassroots activist body, dedicated to fighting Australia’s crippling levels of taxation, over-regulation, and government waste.’ It wants to ‘shift Australian political debate in a small government direction’ and ‘to transform Australia to a new level of free market public policies by focusing on cutting tax, regulation and waste.’…

The solutions are to reduce taxes, simplify the system including flatter taxes, reduce stifling regulation and oppose the “nanny state” and taxes and controls on “lifestyle choices”. The latter include restrictions on alcohol, tobacco and ‘fat taxes’.

The ATA also claims it will expose waste in public expenditure and try to establish ‘transparency’ in the spending of ‘taxpayer dollars’.

(editors note:  uh oh, is this starting to sound familiar?)

The ATA is well connected. Executive Director Tim Andrews, worked in Washington with the ‘Americans for Tax Reform’ and was a participant in the Koch Associate Program. The Koch Brothers are very, very large funders of free market and libertarian advocacy groups in the US and, as argued by many, the Tea Party…

At the same time, the ATA could be more open about its sources. For example, it espouses ‘Model legislation for the establishment of taxpayer expenditure portals drafted by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).’ Yet it fails to say that ALEC is funded by corporations and corporate foundations and that is, according to the US liberal magazine, Nation, virtually the legislative arm of the Koch Brothers. Moreover, and going back to accountability, ‘Koch funding has helped “tutor” hundreds of judges with all-expenses-paid junkets at fancy resorts, where they learn about the “free market” impact of their rulings.’

Now the right-wing agendas of ALEC, the Cato Institute, the Kochs and numerous other groups are being brought to a web-site near you by the Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance or one of its associated entities…

To read the rest of this article which is further exposing ALEC and the Koch Brothers influence in Australia, please click here