Menzies Research Centre

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The Menzies Research Centre (est. 1994) is a conservative think tank run by the Australian Liberal Party which "undertake[s] research into policy issues which will enhance the principles of liberty, free speech, competitive enterprise, limited government and democracy." [1]. It is partially funded by the federal government, but also makes large donations to the Liberal Party.

It is used by the Liberal Party to funnel donation, since donations to the Centre are tax-deductible. The MRC is one of only seven organisations mentioned by name in the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 as tax-deductible gift recipients [2].

Australian Prime Minister John Howard has called the Centre "an organisation with a unique place in the Liberal family." [3]

Liberal Party Donations

The Centre has been a very large donor to the Liberal Party, donating $327,000 to the party between 1998/9 and 2003/4 [4]. In 2004/5, the Centre donated $30,179 to the Liberal Party, according to the Australian Electoral Commission. [5]

Public Funding

The Menzies Research Centre receives regular funding from the Federal Government:

  • 2004/5 The Department of Finance gave a grant of $100,000 for ... "general expenditure of the centre to enable it to undertake general research into globalisation related projects, a public lecture series, website development, and production of an issues magazine and policy digest." [6] The Government has given the same amount to the Centre in other years as well [7].
  • 2016 Dec 11 The Sydney Morning Herald reported that the Menzies centre had an income of $330,000 (as disclosed to the Australian Electoral Commission in 2014/15.
  • The Department of Finance contributed $240,000
  • Google and businessman Paul Espie gave $90,000

Since 2012 the Finance Department has given partisan think-tanks almost $3,2 million in public money in the past five years. Both the Chifley Research Centre (ALP) and the Menzies Research Centre (Coalition) have received over a million each through its Grants-in-Aid program to "advance public policy debate". Smaller grants went to the Green Institute (Green Party) and the Page Research Centre (Nationals).

Corporate and Individual Funding

The Centre receives funding from a number of corporations and individuals. For instance, in 2001/2 BHP donated $110,000 to the Centre, after the Howard Government in June 2001 gave it permission to merge with Billiton to create BHP Billiton. [8]

In 2001/2, businessman and MRC chairman Malcolm Turnbull donated $150,000 to the Centre. In 2004, Turnbull received Liberal preselection, and was elected to the House of Representatives as Member for Wentworth. In 2004/5, Turnbull was still the Centre's biggest individual donor, donating $15,000. He is now the Liberal Prime Minister.

For a list of all donor to the MRC over $1,500, download the Australian Electoral Commission disclosure document here.


Contact Details

RG Menzies House
Cnr Blackall & Macquarie Sts
Barton ACT 2600
Tel: (02) 6273 5608
Email: info (AT)

Other Sourcewatch Resources

External Resources