Charles Roderick Kemp

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Charles Roderick ("Rod") Kemp is an Australian politician and a prominent member of the Kemp family which runs or influences many of the country's libertarian think-tanks -- most specifically the Institute for Public Affairs (IPA) in Melbourne and its subsidiaries. The IPA was co-founded by his father Charles D Kemp (often called "CD" or "Ref" Kemp), CJ Coles (the supermarket founder) and Keith Murdoch the father of Rupert Murdoch together with some manufacturing and mining magnates. It claims to be the world's first real think-tank, but it began life as a fund-raising vehicle for the United Australia Party before it evolved into the Liberal Party,.

The day-to-day activities of the IPA are in the hands of IPA staff and his Political scientist (Melbourne University) younger brother David Kemp (a prominent staffer in the Fraser Liberal Government) who became the Liberal Party member for a Victorian seat the same year that Rod Kemp was given his Victorian Senate seat. The Kemp brothers also exerted influence over the Cormack Foundation which became the Liberal Party's chief fund-raising vehicle after the IPA became more openly an ideological lobbyshop.

Between 1990 and 2008 'Rod' Kemp was a Liberal (conservative) member of the Australian Senate. (He was born 21 December 1944) His positions in the Federal Liberal Coalition government have been:

  • 1996 May 11 to 1996 Oct 14 Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Social Security
  • 1996 Oct 14 to 2001 Nov 26 Assistant Treasurer
  • 2001 Nov 26 to 2007 Jan 30 Minister for the Arts and Sport
    • 2008 Aug 1 Took over as Chairman of the IPA from Alan Stockdale.

During his time in the Federal Senate Rod Kemp held no official position with the Institute of Public Affairs, but behind the scenes both David and Rod Kemp maintained full control -- along with another Liberal politician John Hyde from Western Australia who had merged his Perth-based Australian Institute for Public Policy into the IPA. During this period it changed character from being right-wing conservative, to progressive free-market Libertarian, The funding support for the IPA now comes from many different corporations and industry groups, but for decades it was the main propaganda mouthpiece for the tobacco industry in Australia; Philip Morris often had two seats on the Board, held by Donna M Staunton and Eric Windholtz.

At that time the IPA was still closely affiliated with the Liberal party in Australia, and it linked the Australian Libertarian think-tanks with the Mont Pelerin Society (MPS) in Europe and Institute for Economic Affairs (IEA) in England. It also has a territorial agreement with the Sydney based Centre for Independent Studies (CIS), which has close connections through the Atlas Group network to a wide range of libertarian think-tanks in the USA. (Heritage Institute, Cato Institute, American Enterprise Institute, etc)