Owner Drivers Australia
This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's spotlight on front groups and corporate spin.
Owner Drivers Australia (ODA) - also known as the Owner Drivers Association - is a front group, set up by the Independent Contractors of Australia - another group with close links to right-wing think tank, the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) and the Centre for Independent Studies (CIS).
According to a report by Gerard McManus in the Herald Sun newspaper on May 25, 2006, the ODA "wants to overturn government policy aimed at protecting safety standards and minimum pay standards for truck drivers, couriers and others in the transport industry . . . But the Herald Sun has learned that large courier companies are secretly paying for the $100,000 campaign."
McManus also noted that "the group (ODA) wants total deregulation of the transport industry so drivers and companies can negotiate contracts without award standards. That would water down driver safeguards. The group was set up just over a month ago to lobby the Government not to change the Independent Contractors Bill to protect truck drivers in Victoria and NSW."
In an article in the Daily Telegraph on May 23, 2006, Australian Labor Party MP Tony Burke noted that "the Independent Contractors Association . . . are heavily linked to the Institute of Public Affairs and have just started a spin-off group called Owner-Drivers Australia.
Burke also noted that "MPs recently received a letter telling how a truck driver who attended a meeting for this group (ODA) reckoned he was the only owner-driver in the room."
Links to Independent Contractors of Australia (ICA)
The ODA's website states that they are "working under the ICA organisational umbrella for a period of time. This has made registration, accounting, Website construction, membership management and so on, easier. It has also given us access to ICA's vast network, information database and lobbying expertise. At this stage, we are formally a division of the ICA organisation." 
Links to the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA)
The only contact details on the ODA's website are for Don D'Cruz, a former employee of right-wing think tank the Institute of Public Affairs.
The ODA's website is designed by Fergco Pty Ltd, a web design company managed by Chris Ulyatt who was formerly Editorial Director at Institute of Public Affairs.
- Don D'Cruz: 0408 549 387
- Web: http://www.ownerdrivers.com.au
- Tony Burke, "Enjoy a victory while you still can", Daily Telegraph, May 23, 2006, p. 15. (not online)
- Gerard McManus, "Pollies' mugs are red", Herald Sun, May 25, 2006, p. 27. (not online)
- *Who's behind the Independent Contractors Act? Solidarity, June 21, 2006.