W Harold Clough

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This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.

Harold Clough AO is the treasurer of the Lavoisier Group, a Director of Clough Limited, a mining and resource service company, and is on the board of the Institute of Public Affairs and the Asialink Council.

According to his biographical note he "joined the Clough family company in 1954, serving as Managing Director until 1988, and Chairman of Clough Limited until late 2002." [1]

"Harold's contribution to the development of Australia’s trade relations and the advancement of the engineering profession has been extensively acknowledged by a range of prestigious awards including Queen's Honours in 1977, 1979 and 1990 ... In April 2000, Harold was named one of Australia's Export Heroes. More recently in June 2005, Harold was presented with the Sir Edward 'Weary' Dunlop Asia Medal for his long term commitments to Australia-Asia relations," it states. [2]

Family fortune

The Clough family are libertarian (free-market corporate) conservatives who currently control the West Australian, the state's main newspaper. They are also known to be the backers of a number of Australian think-tanks and ultra-free-market projects, The family's main engineering and mining company (once called Clough Engineering, now Clough Ltd) is controlled these days by the South African firm, Murray & Roberts with 46% (to the 20% Clough family shares). The original Perth company dates back to a building firm 'J. O. Clough and Son' founded after the first world war. Through the 1950s to 1970s they expanded into civil engineering and infrastructure, with contracts in West Australia's Pilbara iron ore boom and then with an oil-and-gas on Barrow Island, and became closely aligned Gina Reinhart, Western Mining, and the West Australian Liberal Government. In the following two decades, they moved into the Middle East, Indonesia and Africa with branch offices and acquisitions, and the company listed in 1998. [1]

In the 2003 financial year the company dropped from a $30 million profit to a $9.5 million loss, and the CEO, (William) Harold Clough, stepped down in October 2007 (aged 77) while his son William (Bill) continued running the Asian operations (Indonesia and Burma). Another son John (Jock) has stood down also. [2] Harold Clough's personal fortune is estimated by the local Perth newspapers (which he chairs) to be in the billion dollar range.

Think-tank funder

For a number of years W Harold Clough had focussed his interests on the expansion of Australian libertarian think-tanks and on increasing ultra-free-market ideas and influence in the Liberal and National Parties. It is generally accepted that, over the years, Clough money has financed the creation of perhaps a dozen or so interconnected think-tanks in Australia. In this, he is virtually the Australian equivalent of the chicken-king, Sir Antony Fisher who claims to have started 200 think-tanks in North America, and of Lord Harris of High Cross, who ran the IEA, FOREST, ESEF and other libertarian and tobacco-industry operations in the UK. Clough didn't get a Baronette or a knighthood for his Thatcherite promotions in Australia, but he did get an OBE (Order of the British Empire) and AO (Australian Order) together with a prestigious place on the board of the Order of Australia Association which hands out these gongs.

In 2003, Harold Clough attracted unwanted publicity when it was discovered he was the financier behind the 1998 court bid (backed by the later Prime Minister Tony Abbott) to deregister Pauline Hanson's One Nation party. Unlike many of his fellow conservatives, the Clough family's interests in Asia do not show signs of racism. Clough also funds project that interconnect the Australian libertarian network (mainly the Institute of Public Affairs, the Centre for Independent Studies and the Tasman Institute/ACIL Tasman into the UK Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), the European Mont Pelerin Society (MPS), and the Atlas Foundation network with probably a hundred active think-tanks across USA and Canada. (Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), Cato Institute, Heritage Foundation, American Enterprise Institute (AEI) …etc.

Howard Clough has his own investment and private equity company McRae Investments, run by his sons. This company holds their Clough engineering shares.


Articles and resources


  1. About Us, Australia Indonesia Institute, accessed June 10, 2008.

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