The Turnbull government’s attack on GetUp is still going on. The first stage was to accuse the online campaign group to be an “associated entity” of the Labor Party and the Greens. The next is to push through perverted law that claims to be against foreign political donations, but is really a vehicle to restrict and silence the not for profit sector in Australia.
Many of these organisations are dependent on donations, both domestic and from overseas, to do their work. One that is the particularly vulnerable is the Save the Children Fund. The organisations that are under threat cover a whole range, including advocating for the poorest, providing a range of community services and advocacy, striving to protect the environment and giving a voice to those without one.
If the intent was really to stop foreign political donations, something would be done to target donations coming in from foreign corporate sources and their Australian subsidiaries, that flow into political parties. They would do something to restrict the massive lobbying industry that is known to be a massive source of political corruption. A law would be introduced to do something about companies that donate to that Australian government, receive lucrative contracts and are provided with the opportunity to carry out large scale tax evasion. Many of them are foreign based.
If the government gets its plan through, it will used as a tool to try and silence critics of the government and attack those who involve ordinary Australians in activities that make a difference. It is also certain that if this gets through, it will not stop here.
The good news is that people are not just lying down and taking it. Thousands are rallying to support GetUp. Other not nor profit organisations, have been forced by the circumstances to raise their own voices.
A backlash against the government’s plan is building and it will continue to press on at its own peril.
People can contribute to GetUp’s civil defence fund. This will help to bring in the resources needed to fight the law in the courts, which will help to build the challenge outside the courts.