The Turnbull Government has launched an unprecedented attack targeting GetUp with new legislation introduced to Parliament.
The Bill – ostensibly to ban foreign donations – contains a clause designed to curtail the participation of GetUp in Australian political life.
The so-called “GetUp clause” broadens the definition of an “associated entity”, attacking GetUp’s independence by forcing it to either associate with one or more political parties or radically scale back its work.
GetUp National Director Paul Oosting said the people-powered GetUp movement would vigorously fight off any attacks on its independence.
“This is an unprecedented case of government overreach. Plain and simple, hard-right politicians are using the powers of government to gag their political critics.
“The GetUp movement is independent to our core, independence is in our DNA. We campaign on the issues our million-strong membership care about, whether politicians like it or not.
“GetUp is made up of everyday people coming and working together to create the change they want to see, like protecting our environment and livelihoods from climate change, treating asylum seekers and refugees humanely and ensuring all Australians get a fair go in life.
“This new ‘GetUp clause’ is aimed squarely at shutting down Australians from working together, independent of political parties, to make our country a better place to live.
The move comes on the heels of attempts by the Turnbull Government to force GetUp to become an associated entity of the Labor Party and the Greens. Its most recent efforts have centred on an investigation being carried out by the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC).
“It’s not hard to see what’s going on here. The Turnbull Government has understood that the AEC’s investigation into GetUp is likely to determine that we’re 100% independent of any political party. So they’re trying to change the rules.
“This kind of vindictive suppression of political speech is the sort of thing you’d expect in Putin’s Russia, not Australia.
“If the Turnbull Government is expecting our movement to back down, they’ve got another thing coming. We’re going to fight this tooth and nail, every step of the way.”
The so-called “GetUp clause” (see 287h subsection 5 of the Electoral Funding and Disclosure Reform Bill) changes electoral law to reclassify any organisation that spends significant resources campaigning for or against policies held by a political party or candidate, as an associated entity of one or more political parties.
This would impact GetUp – despite GetUp not being affiliated with, exchanging funding with, campaigning for, or having any formal relationship with any political party or candidate.
- GetUp has never donated, or received a donation, from any political party – ever.
- GetUp already discloses above and beyond what is required of political parties.
- 97% of donations to GetUp are under $100
- GetUp receives almost no foreign funding. Only 0.5% of donations over the organisation’s lifetime have come from overseas.
- The AEC has twice investigated GetUp’s independence and twice determined that GetUp is independent..
- This new legislation comes after months of relentless attacks on GetUp from senior hard-right figures in the Turnbull Government.