From SourceWatch
Jump to navigation Jump to search

"The Crossroads group in Western Australia which was an informal, unstructured, and unincorporated initiative of Liberal Dry MPs John Hyde [1] and Jim Carlton which was a major political force in WA for many years (and which remains relatively unknown in that state and Australia as a whole.) It was a clandestine group that brought together about 40 radical Libertarian business and mining activist/executives with the specific aim of sharing and planning ways of furthering the radical neo-liberal agenda.

The name was derived from the then recently published movement manifesto Australia at the Crossroads written by 'movement' activists Wolfgang Kasper, Richard Blandy, John Freebairn, Douglas Hocking and Robert O'Neil. Should the existence of the group have been publicly discovered, it was planned to explain it away as a talk-shop devoted to discussing the implications of Kasper et al's book. [The 'movement' was another underground Libertarian group with political aspirations].

From its inception in early 1981 until 1986, the Crossroads Group met twice yearly." (Cahill, 2004: 116-117), but it provided a network of influence which extended throughout the Liberal party, and surfaced quietly also in Canberra and Melbourne.

John Hyde also ran the Australian Institute for Public Policy (AIPP) based in Perth at the University of WA with deputies J Ray Johnstone and Chris Ulyatt. He merged this think-tank with the Melbourne-based Institute of Public Affairs in 1988. The Kemp brothers, who ran the IPA up to this time, both won safe Liberal seats in the Federal government (one in the House, one the Senate). This triggered the West Australian take over of the IPA.

Hyde then held talks with the Centre for Independent Studies in Sydney to establish agreed territory borders, both geographical and in funding sources. This led to the split away of Gerard Henderson's Sydney Institute as a separate think-tank (it had been the NSW branch of the IPA). Phillip Scanlan from the Crossroads group - then also the Director of Communications (PR head) for the cigarette company WD&HO Wills (BAT Australia, also known as Amatil) became the inaugural chairman of the Sydney Institute.

The Clough family influence and funding also moved across the Nullabor to the IPA.

Cahill notes that "Crossroads should be regarded as an important development in the history of the radical neo-liberal movement." (Cahill, 2004: 117) It led to the election of many West Australian Liberal members in the State and in Canberra, including the foreign minister, Julie Bishop (who also joined the WA contingent as an important member of the IPA)

According to Cahill (2004: 210-211) the following capitalists were members of Crossroads:

The Crossroads group also had strong links to Western Mining (Hugh Morgan and the Clough Engineering family) and to other mining magnates (Gina Rinehart), and the right-wing HR Nichols Society.

John Hyde was never listed as a member, but clearly he provided the main links to the Australian Institute for Public Policy (Perth) and Institute for Public Affairs (IPA - Melbourne) and the Liberal Party.

Members of the Clough family are said to be the initial financiers of the organisation,
Harold Clough (the father) is currently the most active member in politics (Clough Ltd, Clough Engineering in mining, and the family's McRae Investments).
• Son William (Bill) Clough (WM Clough, Mirabell Nickle, Danford Equities Corporation). He runs the family's oil and gas exploration company Twinza Oil which is thought to have invested up to $40 million in its Burmese operations, the largest single investment from an Australian company, according to Wikileaks [2]

External links

  • Damien C. Cahill, "The radical neo-liberal movement as a hegemonic force in Australia, 1976-1996", University of Wollongong, PhD Thesis, 2004. (Available online from all Australian Universities)