While there are only a handful of Australian think tanks they have played a significant role in Australian political debate. The most prominent think tanks from the 1970's on have been the conservative think tanks - the Centre for Independent Studies (CIS) and the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) and its spin-off, the Sydney Institute.
The two long-standing think tanks loosely aligned with the Labor Party are the Australian Fabian Society, and the Evatt Foundation.
Locally based think tanks - such as the Brisbane Institute have emerged over the last decade while The Australia Institute, which could be loosely described as centre-left, has played a significant role in debate over social and environmental policies.
Some major political parties also fund their own think tanks, which receive government subsidies. These include the Menzies Research Centre (Liberal Party), the Chifley Research Centre (Australian Labor Party), and the Page Research Centre (National Party)
Australian tax laws allow some NGOs to be awarded charity status through an act of parliament. Many think-tanks have become registered charities through this provision, which has the benefit of conferring tax-deductibility without the usual transparency requirements. Groups like the Institute of Public Affairs and the Centre for Independent Studies are able to offer tax deductions to their corporate donors without having to make the relationship public.
Because the approval of new charities under this provision has to be passed by the Senate, it has traditionally been the subject of bipartisan compromise. In July 2005 the Liberal Party of Australia won the balance of power in the Senate, removing the need for compromise.
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|Australian think tanks|
- Australia Institute
- Australian APEC Study Centre
- Australian Business Foundation
- Australian Fabian Society
- Australian Farm Institute
- Australian Institute of Employment Rights
- Australian Strategic Policy Institute
- Brisbane Institute
- Committee for Economic Development of Australia
- Centre for Independent Studies
- Chifley Research Centre
- Evatt Foundation
- Foundation for Development Co-operation
- HR Nicholls Society
- Institute for Private Enterprise
- Institute of Public Affairs
- Lowy Institute
- Menzies Research Centre
- Network Insight Institute
- Page Research Centre
- Per Capita
- Sydney Institute
- World Growth
Defunct Think Tanks
Other Sourcewatch Resources
- Jo Kwong and Colleen Dyble, "Guidelines and recommendations for starting an institute", (Handbook for setting up and maintaining a radical neoliberal think tank), Atlas Foundation, Last updated 2 March 2006.
Think Tank Websites
Australian APEC Study Centre
Australian Fabian Society
Australian Farm Institute
Australian Institute of Employment Rights
Australian Strategic Policy Institute
Centre for Independent Studies
Chifley Research Centre
Institute for Private Enterprise
Institute of Public Affairs
Menzies Research Centre
Network Insight Institute
Page Research Centre
- Brad Norington, "The idea factories", Sydney Morning Herald, August 11, 2003.
- Brad Norington, "Deep pockets behind deep thought", Sydney Morning Herald, August 12, 2003. ("Think tanks attract secretive but tax-deductible funding from their supporters. The question is whether they return the favour by promoting certain issues or refraining from criticism")
- Evan Thornley, "With ideas, Labor can think about winning", Sydney Morning Herald, November 7, 2005.
- Ewin Hannan and Shaun Carney, "Thinkers of Influence", The Age, December 10, 2005
- Michael Duffy, "Modern Liberal Thinking", Counterpoint, Radio National, July 11 2005.
- Ewin Hannan and Shaun Carney, "Thinkers of influence", The Age, December 10, 2005.
- Dennis Glover, "Ideas with currency", The Australian, May 13, 2006.
- Sian Powell, "Fine time for think tanks", The Australian, May 29, 2008.
- Alex Carey, "Taking the risk out of democracy: Propaganda in the US and Australia", NSW Press/ Illinois Press, 1995.
- Sharon Beder, "The Intellectual Sorcery of Think Tanks", Arena Magazine 41, June/July 1999.
- Jim Green, "Corporate think tanks assault environmentalism", Green Left Weekly, 2000.
- Georgina Murray and Douglas Pacheco, "Think tanks in the 1990s", accessed May 2006. (This article is based on "The Economic Liberal Ideas Industry: Australasian Pro-Market Thinks Tank in the 1990s", Journal of Social Issues, May 2000.)
- Damien Cahill, "Neo-liberal intellectuals as organic intellectuals? Some notes on the Australian context", University of Wollongong, 2000.
- Sharon Beder, "Neoliberal Think Tanks and Free Market Environmentalism", Environmental Politics, 10(2) Summer 2001.
- 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)
- Damien Cahill, "The Right Values in Education: Neo-liberal think-tanks and the assault upon public schooling", "Overland" No 179, Winter 2005.
- Damien Cahill, "Contesting Hegemony: The Radical Neo-liberal Movement and the Ruling Class in Australia", in The New Australian Ruling Class, Nathan Hollier (ed), 2004, pp. 87-105.
- Damien Cahill, "The radical neo-liberal movement and its impact upon Australian politics", Refereed paper presented to the Australasian Political Studies Association Conference University of Adelaide, 29 September – 1 October 2004.
- Australian Neoliberal Think Tanks and the backlash against the welfare state, Philip Mendes, Journal of Australian Political Economy No 51.
- Mark Davis, "Towards Cultural Renewal", in The New Australian Ruling Class, Nathan Hollier (ed), 2004, pp.182-206.
- David McKnight, "Murdoch and the Culture War", in Do Not Disturb: is the media failing Australia?, Robert Manne (ed), 2005, pp. 53-74.
- Sharon Beder, "The Role of ‘Economic Education’ in Achieving Capitalist Hegemony", University of Wollongong, 2005.