There is a very amusing piece in the AFR this weekend:
The Grattan Institute is the exemplar of a political and economic centrism that sets the Australian policy agenda. Call it the new orthodoxy.
But even the Melbourne-based think tank is now examining why this agenda generates so much hostility, or – to adopt the word used by Grattan boss John Daley when referring to the impact of globalisation – “fracturing”.
From tightening superannuation tax concessions to advocating changes in negative gearing, promoting teacher monitoring and savings in health costs to suggesting ways to lift Australia’s sagging productivity, the Grattan Institute is an economic efficiency overlord, exerting a powerful, centrist influence on the government and opposition.
However, it, too, is now looking at what’s motivating the growing ranks of the disgruntled, according to Grattan’s John Daley.
This year’s election and recent opinion polls show voters are leaving the major parties in droves for the right wing, nativist, One Nation Party which means they are rejecting the Grattan-encouraged liberal free market consensus. According to the latest Fairfax Ipsos poll the putative minor party vote – largely Greens and One Nation – has vaulted to 34 per cent, or more than a third of the electorate.
Yes – you read that correctly. The Grattan Institute encourages a “liberal free market consensus”. The Grattan Institute is “an economic efficiency overlord, exerting a powerful, centrist influence on the government”.
The Grattan Institute is a left-wing, Labor government funded, research institute located within the University of Melbourne to lobby government to implement Labor party policy. I’m sure the Macquarie Dictionary could define that as being “centrist” perhaps even “independent”.
The AFR repeats this strange story:
Grattan’s start-up was based on an agreement between the Howard government and the then John Brumby-led Victorian Labor government.
But by the time the documents were drawn up, the Howard government was in caretaker mode. The Rudd Labor government, which succeeded it, re-pledged $15 million in federal money, matched by the state government.
I have twice asked senior Howard government ministers about this version of events and I have twice been told that it is not correct.
Back to the main story …
… John Daley says a new Grattan Institute inquiry will examine “what’s motivating” the fast-growing group of the socially disposed and will be “treating their concerns seriously. This is something we are thinking about. It’s an important input into policy.”
But the Grattan inquiry is laden with irony. It is, in effect, an examination by the Grattan Institute into why policies strongly pushed by the Grattan Institute, and often partially or fully adopted by the major parties, are generating so much hostility.
Should be a short inquiry – answer – people are tired of left-wing extremists stealing their money, regulating their lives, and telling them what to do.