The Australian political action/activist group Getup has been flexing its muscles in Australian elections for years now, nearly always to the benefit of Green or Australian Labor party candidates, but always for solidly left wing reasons. Lately Getup has been supporting (and being asked for support by) members of the supposedly “conservative” Liberal Party.
Getup origins and connection to the phenomenon of “astroturf” – colluding/organised individuals bombarding organisations and corporations in unison to try and give impressions that they are spontaneous expressions of outrage from the public in general will probably come in later posts. This is because the history and practices of Getup are so international they deserve illumination. However, Getup is so ubiquitous in Australian elections now that their current campaigns are very relevant to events occurring at the beginning of this election year.
Suffice it to say that apart from its international impetus, Getup was formed with plenty of official ALP influence (Bill Shorten, the current leader of the ALP being on its board and financing of it with tens of thousands of dollars from the Australian Workers Union which Shorten led). Since then they have received millions of dollars from left sources (including another $million-plus from the most militant trade union in Australia), but it’s equally-important focus is on all things Green – both party and policy. A former leader of Getup actually stood for the Greens at elections and his girlfriend/partner ran a youth climate coalition and was a favourite of the progressive media.
This also matched ALP interests of course, the ALP being long into climate alarmism and determined to cut our coal use and gas exploration. While we were once one of the cheapest energy nations we are now one of the most expensive, all because of this climate/renewable energy obsession.
While Getup has been fighting hard to stop itself being classified as a political player (it claiming it is non-partisan saves it from intrusive book-opening as to finances), it has been known to accept money which cannot be ruled out as coming from overseas funders. The Wikileaks/Podesta emails indicated that money from various US left wing funders were sent to Australia through the Sunshine Project and that was in aid of a campaign to reverse Australian government policy in the acceptance of coal to export and for use in our own economy.
What is raising questions is the issue of Getup intermingling of funds from overseas for various projects to deal with the environment (the Sunrise-type monies) and money actually passed on to use in electing politicians. In many countries – the USA being particularly prominent now – the use of foreign money(directly or indirectly) in influencing elections of other countries has been looked on as very bad and in many cases highly illegal. Scandals in the Clinton administration and the latest Russian allegations in the USA are very relevant.
Of particular interest today, though, is that an Australian law was passed to disallow overseas money to flow directly to be used in election campaigning. Where it is relevant to Getup is that in December 2018 it received two large sums of money from overseas-linked entities, some half a million of which was directly conceded to be for the use of Getup in the 2019 federal election. It came from the Sunshine Project and certain background is important to consider.
While it was claimed that it was all from local sources this has not been proven and getting money from overseas and allowing an organisation to comingle funds in the manner described above could be overseas involvement in practice. The $496,000 to be used for the election campaign would then be used for direct campaigning.
Another large overseas amount of nearly $100,000, however, (also, fortuitously, just prior to the cut-off point for political money from overseas), was sent from the European Climate Foundation, an organisation part of whose funding and control links can be traced back to the Soros family and other usual international political and funders of so-called “progressive” causes through the Climateworks Foundation.
Getup hasn’t announced just what that large amount will be used for but one can see an arguable case might be able to be made that by pushing advertisements about the environment during an election campaign (OR against a particular politician) it might be argued that it is for a purpose to protect the environment, but a counter argument that it is (and must be) seen as being directly invested into a campaign.
When Getup publicly announce that they will attack various conservative politicians in the forthcoming federal election campaign, Tony Abbott and Peter Dutton in particular, much attention is needed to be placed on the campaigns of those two men to see just what happens and how the Getup money/funding comes to be used.
That this is extremely relevant is shown by matters concerning the new candidate against Tony Abbott, Ms Steggall, to whom we will now turn.