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Media Releases - December 2016

Media Release, 20 December 2016

Thousands demand Turnbull stop wrecking our Reef with public cash handouts

Concerned communities will today join GetUp, the Australian Conservation Foundation, and Avaaz at a snap rally protesting Prime Minister Turnbull's broken promise to the Australian people that there would be no public money for Adani's Carmichael mine. 

The groups are delivering hundreds of thousands of signatures in petitions to the Prime Minister expressing outrage at the use of taxpayers money to help build one of the world's largest coal mines and send hundreds more coal ships through the waters of the Great Barrier Reef.

 Sandra Williams, business owner in the Whitsundays, gateway to the Great Barrier Reef said coastal communities rely on a healthy Reef for a healthy economy and the Adani mine would put it all at risk.

 "Locals, business owners and tourism operators are appalled at this government's decision to hand Adani one billion hard-earned taxpayer dollars, less than six months after they went to the electorate with a policy of no public money for Adani. 

"This deceitful backflip is despicable and people are rightly outraged. Our jobs are on the line. Mining and burning coal causes dangerous global warming which is killing our Reef.

 "If the Reef dies, so does our business. That's what this handout gets us. 

"At a time when our Reef is stressed and suffering like never before, our government should be doing and spending more to protect our greatest natural asset. Not giving special treatment to multinational billionaires to wreck it," said Williams. 

NSWNMA nurse and midwife Jacqueline Myers said the government's reckless decision would drive more frequent and intense heatwaves, killing people. 

"This mine comes riddled with disease. Burning coal gives us more heatwaves. Heatwaves which kill more Australians than any other form of extreme weather.

 "That's before we even think about the air pollution caused by coal-burning power, particularly in countries like India. Already, 100,000 people die every year from air pollution in India," said Myers. 

"There's no need to waste billions of dollar of taxpayers' money each year propping up polluting fossil fuel technology," says Alex Georgiou, Co-founder of ShineHub, a solar energy brokerage based in Sydney. 

"Instead, we should be investing in renewable energy projects that will provide jobs, as well as secure an affordable clean energy future for us all." 

Reef campaigners (GetUp, the Australian Conservation Foundation and Avaaz) say the handout is another example of the Federal Government bending over backwards for vested coal interests at the expense of everyday people. 

"The government should expect the public to be outraged over this. The overwhelming majority of Australians don't want their money being used to bankroll a monstrous Reef-killing coal project that threatens the Great Barrier Reef, existing jobs and our health - and sends profits offshore. 

"This is a deeply unpopular move – poll after poll shows that voters know there are better things to do with public money than waste it on a declining industry.

 "Funding from the Northern Australian Infrastructure Fund should be used for renewable energy projects that can provide tens of thousands of jobs without trashing our climate, our Great Barrier Reef and the health of our communities.

"It has been shown that Adani has destroyed environments in India, and engaged in corrupt practices. We believe the facts show that Adani can't be trusted with our Reef, it can't be trusted with our water, and its rail project certainly can't be trusted with one billion dollars of public money."

For more information call Kirsti Gorringe on 0431 047 358

Media Release, 19 December 2016

Corporate accountability saved as Turnbull Government dumps ASIC database sale

In a huge win for GetUp and people power, the Turnbull Government has today announced it will abandon its plans to sell-off the ASIC corporate database. Privatising this critical piece of corporate transparency infrastructure would've been a serious blow to corporate accountability.

The Turnbull government quietly backed down from the sale after facing huge pressure from the public warning that corporate control of the database would threaten the ability to uncover tax dodging, human trafficking, and labour exploitation.

Daney Faddoul, Economic Fairness Campaigner at GetUp welcomed the death of the sale, but warned the government has to go further and make ASIC's data free if it is serious about shining the light on shady corporate behaviour. Accessing just one set of company records currently costs $38, amongst the highest access fees in the world.

"Journalists, academics, and the public at large opposed this sale. The database is used to hold dodgy corporates to account and ensure that companies are paying their fair share of tax.

"Business filings to ASIC shouldn't be behind closed doors. We all benefit when corporations are held to the highest level of scrutiny.

"80,306 GetUp members signed a petition calling out the Turnbull Government for their hare-brained scheme to sell it off, 84 journalists from across print and electronic media wrote an open letter to Malcolm Turnbull, and workers from the ASIC database warned of the devastating impact a sale would have on corporate scrutiny.

"The hundreds of people working at the ASIC corporate database in the struggling La Trobe valley now know that their jobs are safe and so is the data that is integral to investigating corporate affairs.

"The government must now take the next step in making corporate business behaviours transparent. Australia has some of the highest fees in the world to access corporate data, and journalists regularly run out of money when investigating corporate wrongdoing.

"In countries like New Zealand and the US, this data is free. At a whopping $38 a pop, the government is still holding this information ransom to those that can afford it.

"Mr Turnbull, if there really is nothing to hide make the corporate data free for us all to see.

"With the sale DOA, It won't be happy holidays for dodgy corporate behaviour. This shows what can be won through people power – even on an issue as wonky as the ASIC corporate database," said Faddoul. 

For more information call Kirsti Gorringe on 0431 047 358

Media Release, 19 December 2016

GetUp: "Mean" MYEFO rips funding from everyday people and hands it giant corporations

This years Mid Year Economic and Financial Outlook (MYEFO) has ripped $3.7 billion from vital income support programs, hurting the people struggling to get ahead in our society.

Daney Faddoul, GetUp Economic Fairness campaigner, said the MYEFO measures were mean and unimaginative.

"The Turnbull Government's big new plan to save cash is to harass single mothers who were paid a few dollars too much by Centrelink four years ago.

"Meanwhile they're still going ahead with their massive $48 billion handout to giant corporations. It sends a pretty strong message about this government's priorities.

"The Turnbull Government needs to abandon their bizarre dream of the corporate tax handout and use that revenue to reverse their harmful cuts to Medicare, hospitals and vital income support programs.

"They can't seriously say they want to address the budget deficit then go and give a massive tax handout to giant corporations. It's just dumb.

"It's like their first instinct is always to go after the people who can afford it least."

"Ripping money out of income support programs everyday people rely on, while also handing out taxpayer dollars to massive corporations sends a pretty strong message about this government's priorities.

"Many people are struggling to keep their heads above water, and cutting tax for big business would be galling for so many people who just want to provide a good life for their families.  

"We've seen relentless attacks by the Turnbull Government on people struggling to make ends meet.

"The relentless attacks on people come from as Scott Morrison tries to appease the hard right and the credit agencies who regularly put profits for millionaires and billionaires over prosperity for everyday people.

"This MYEFO, the government has failed once again to put of people over profits. They're deciding to  hand taxpayer cash to billionaires and rip funding away from  people who need  support.

"Given lining the pockets of billionaires has seen Malcolm Turnbull's numbers dive to record lows, we hope he can end his vain and inglorious attempt to continue to pander to the right wing of his party and end the disappointing management", said Mr Faddoul.   

For more information call Kirsti Gorringe on 0431 047 358

Media Release, 15 December 2016

Mark beats Goliath, Government's empty threats on Grandpa Mark exposed

The Turnbull Government's threats to sue a 66 year old grandpa for trying to stop the privatisation of medicare have been exposed as empty and baseless after the government backed off its legal threats today..

Economic Fairness campaigner for GetUp Daney Faddoul said it was a huge victory for Mark,the tens of thousands of Australians who rallied behind him, and anyone concerned about the freedom of political speech in Australia and public funded healthcare.

Last month, Grandpa Mark received a letter from the Solicitor General threatening 'damages and costs' if he didn't shut down his home-made website within 48 hours and agree never to use anything resembling Medicare branding again, including the word 'Medicare'..

"The government's petty intimidation tactics have failed. While they tried to silence Grandpa Mark, his brave response only made things louder, sending thousands of Australians flocking to his site in a given day.

"37,464 GetUp members rallied behind Mark, signing a petition calling for the Turnbull Government to back off with 3,591 contacting their local Coalition MPs.

"This is a win for the power of the people to stand up against the government's attempts to silence dissent.

"However, cuts to Medicare are still a big problem. We need more Grandpa Mark's prepared to stand up and fight for the future of our healthcare system," said Mr Faddoul.

Mark Rogers said community organisations are a key part of the democratic process, and this won't stop him from fighting to save Medicare.

"While the government has backed off of my campaign, their attacks on Medicare still continue. Recent innovations include the requirement that some family GPs will have to provide reduced rents to the few large pathology companies that dominate the industry. The community won't stand by as Malcolm Turnbull dismantles and white ants the public healthcare system we value so dearly.

"I want to thank the thousands who stood with me in outrage, this success is a great credit to our collective efforts. Our challenge remains the same, to provide a fully funded public healthcare system so all Australians can have confidence they, and their children, will be supported as they travel into Australia's rapidly changing future.

"I'll be following up with the [Solicitor General's] Department to confirm that they won't be using such heavy-handed legal tactics against others like me, and community organisations like Save Medicare Sydney, who are simply fighting to protect our public health system from vicious cuts and privatisation," Said Rogers 

For more information call Kirsti Gorringe on 0431 047 358

Media Release, 13 December 2016

Liberals assault our democracy

Liberal MPs are seeking to suppress our democratic right to participate in elections.   

Today, in the latest Liberal attempt to blame other people for a lack of support at the last election after being too influenced by the hard right, they are seeking to reduce people's ability to have their say on Election Day by proposing limitations on handing out how-to-votes.

Kelsey Cooke, Campaigns Director for GetUp, saw thousands of volunteers go out and have a wonderful time in this year's election day, sharing cups of tea, wearing orange t-shirts and provide people with information about the parties.

"Australia has a tradition of active, colourful election days, and we shouldn't seek to trample that.

"Clearly the Liberal Party don't like that people are highly motivated to stand up against their attacks on school and hospital funding, attacks on the Great Barrier Reef and renewable energy.

"In fact, these policy decisions motivate people to get involved. People like Bob, who handed out how-to-vote cards in Eden-Monaro because he wanted to talk to people in the community about issues he's deeply passionate about.

"Stopping how-to-votes, stopping people like Bob, is clearly an assault on our democracy. It's a suppression of political information and an attempt to shut down free speech. 

If the Liberal Party blocks everyday people handing out how-to-votes on Election Day, who will be left to participate meaningfully in democracy? Big business and their friends?

"We know that the hard right are anti-democratic and want to run minority viewpoints, and they're trying to change the rules of the game in their favour.

"More than 3000 GetUp volunteers handed out one million how to vote cards in the last federal election at over hundreds of polling booths. Our members won't stand for bullies who shout the loudest and put an end to people power.

"We will fight this, and we will win," said Ms Cooke.

For more information call Kirsti Gorringe on 0431 047 358

Media Release, 10 December 2016

Beep beep, Baird better watch his back

This weekend GetUp is strapping a giant billboard featuring Mike Baird in a Donald Trump hat to a truck, and driving around Baird's electorate of Manly, calling out his recent cynical political attack on ICAC.

GetUp Democracy Campaigner, Django Merope-Synge, said GetUp members were determined not to let Baird get away with gutting ICAC.

"Before Baird's attack, ICAC was the gold standard for political accountability in Australia, and has proved its worth exposing both major corruption on both sides of politics time and time again.

"Baird's move to gut ICAC looks a lot like revenge after it nailed 10 of his NSW Liberal colleagues for accepting dodgy donations.

"We're here to send all politicians a strong message: if you mess with ICAC, you mess with all of us.

"Sometimes it's hard to decide the best image for a new billboard, but this wasn't one of those times.

"We first created this image as a bit of a lark, but when we put it on Facebook it seemed to strike a chord with people right across NSW who feel conned by the Baird government.

"That's why we're going after the one thing Baird cares about more than anything else – his public image.

"This is a crooked move, and we want to make sure everyone in his electorate knows who to blame for politicians no longer having the same strong, independent oversight we've come to expect in NSW." said Merope Synge.

The billboard was funded by small contributions from 1670 GetUp members.

For more information call Kirsti Gorringe on 0431 047 358

Media Release, 9 December 2016

GetUp: Turnbull Government is flushing billions of dollars ($462,143,275,019) in potential tax revenue down the toilet

  • Adani Abbot Point Terminal Holdings Pty Ltd - $0 tax on $ 350,204,603 revenue
  • Chevron Australia Holdings Pty Ltd - $0 tax on $3,088,416,159 revenue
  • ExonMobil Australia Pty Ltd - $0 tax on $8,464,272,972 revenue
GetUp calls on the Turnbull government to stop holding open tax loopholes that allowed 679 major corporations in Australia to pay zero dollars tax last financial year, according to new figures released TODAY by the Australian Tax Office.

Daney Faddoul, GetUp Economic Fairness Campaigner, said Australians were sick and tired of swiss cheese tax laws with loopholes that allow massive corporations to pay no tax on billions in revenue.

"When 679 massive corporations pay zero tax on $462,143,275,019 combined total revenue in 2014-15, the system is screaming for reform.

"It's simply not okay for giant multinational corporations to pay a smaller chunk of their earnings in tax than everyday hardworking people.

"Research commissioned by GetUp earlier this year found that an average nurse had a higher effective tax rate than 76 major corporations.

"Everyone loses out when corporations dodge taxes, because the funding isn't available for schools, hospitals and creating jobs.

"Instead of handing out freebies to billionaire corporations, the Turnbull Government should put their foot down and act in the interest of everyday people.

"On the one hand there's loopholes that allow corporations to legally pay nothing, and on the other, the Turnbull Government threatens prison for overpayments to people on Newstart and other income support.

"In a case like Chevron, they're actively engaged in avoiding taxes by shifting profits offshore.

"Malcolm Turnbull, what is it about these greedy companies that's so special they're allowed to stuff their pockets with cash and rip off everyday people?

"More and more Australians are angry about the Turnbull Government letting giant corporations ride roughshod over our community, and you can bet they'll be asking questions in the lead-up to the budget next year," said Faddoul

The companies exposed for paying zero tax in 2014-15 financial year include:

Adani Abbot Point Terminal Holdings Pty Ltd - $0 tax on $ 350,204,603 revenue
Chevron Australia Holdings Pty Ltd - $0 tax on $3,088,416,159 revenue
ExonMobil Australia Pty Ltd - $0 tax on $8,464,272,972 revenue

For more information call Kirsti Gorringe on 0431 047 358

Media Release, 9 December 2016

REVEALED: Government options for companies to operate camps on Nauru and Manus Island are three construction companies, and one with shocking human rights record

The Department of Immigration has been forced to reveal the companies it is sounding out to provide welfare and garrison services in Australia's offshore detention camps, one which has a reputation for human rights abuse and three other construction companies with no experience providing welfare services to people seeking asylum.

The details emerged in responses to Questions on Notice the Senate Budget Estimates Hearing from the Immigration Department, after questions by the Greens into who would replace Broadspectrum (now owned by Spanish company Ferrovial) and Wilson Security after the companies' scheduled departure in October 2017.

Matthew Phillips from No Business in Abuse and the Human Rights Director at GetUp said that the list of companies is further evidence that the government's policy of offshore detention regime is shambolic and unviable.  

"These companies should be aware that taking contracts with the Australian Government to operate  the abusive camps  will see them subject to the same public campaigns, and  investor pressure  that Broadspectrum experienced.

"Profiting from Australia's offshore detention regime makes a company complicit in the human rights abuses such as  indefinite, illegal detention, including of children. This complicity exposes the company, its investors and financiers to overwhelming legal, financial and reputational risk.

"The Australian investment community spoke with its feet when it came to Broadspectrum. After a widespread public campaign, and over 25 million dollars of public divestments from Broadspectrum, the parent company Ferrovial announced it would end its involvement in the multi-billion dollar contract after it finishes in October 2017.      

"A public campaign was also in the process of being rolled out when Wilson Security pulled out, with nine local government authorities - including the City of Sydney - refusing to do business with companies involved in detention .

"It would appear from today's revelation that there is no longer any respectable private sector appetite for involvement in Australia's abusive offshore camps. .

"Serco has a record of human rights abuse in Australia and the United Kingdom. According to a training manual from the company leaked in 2014, guards were instructed to abuse people under their "care".

"The other three companies, Decmil Services Pty Ltd (Decmil), Canstruct Pty Ltd (Canstruct) and Ostwald Bros Pty Ltd (Ostwald) are all construction companies, with no record of providing welfare or garrison services for vulnerable people.

"We are also deeply concerned that the Australian government has no real plan to get people out of offshore detention, and will continue to leave people languishing in these centres.

"In announcing arrangements to resettle the people unlawfully detained on Manus Island and Nauru in the US, the government has already conceded that the offshore detention policy is a dead end."

"Rather than desperately scraping the bottom of the barrel, looking for a company willing to maintain its abusive regime, the government must evacuate the camps by the end of this year, and provide everyone currently detained on the islands with safe, humane pathways to safety – including in Australia." Said Phillips.

For more information call Kirsti Gorringe on 0431 047 358

Media Release, 5 December 2016

Time for Turnbull to decide whether to make taxpayers prop up big polluters, or make big polluters pay their way

The Turnbull Government's confused response to responding to global warming continues apace, as it announces it is considering a carbon price while handing over one billion dollars of public money to prop up Adani's massive coal project.

Miriam Lyons, Environmental Justice Director for GetUp said it is counterproductive to collect a carbon price from big coal with one hand and give them taxpayer-funded handouts with the other.

"This is the moment of truth for Prime Minister Turnbull. If he lets Senator Matt Canavan go ahead with a billion-dollar handout to big coal he'll wipe out any good he might do by making coal-burning power stations pay a bit more to pollute our air.

"The Turnbull government is talking about carbon pricing because they know that we cannot continue to burn coal and keep our land, air and water safe.

"But at the very same time, they're contemplating the absolute hypocrisy of offering the Adani coal mine a billion-dollar free ride.

"Giving a billion dollars to a big multinational coal company is giving it a huge headstart. A huge headstart that isn't afforded to renewables, and a huge headstart on heating our planet to dangerous temperatures.

"Making some polluters pay through a price on carbon for power stations would be a step in the right direction, if the price reflects the full damage to our health and livelihoods from local air pollution and global warming. But these benefits would be wiped out by allowing Adani to open one of the biggest coal mines in the world.

"It's time for Mr Turnbull to pick a side. Taxpayer handouts to billionaire polluters, or making big polluters pay up for the damage they've caused?

"Mr Turnbull - you cannot placate the people fighting for a safe energy future by acknowledging that coal must end in your press releases, while propping up this defunct industry in practice.

"The alternative is right before us. It's shining down on solar panels on 1.5 million rooftops, it's turning turbines in farmers' fields across the country, it's under the hood of every electric car.

"Clean energy will create clean jobs and drive billions in investment. Australians backed the Liberal Party's move to trade in Tony Abbott for a more modern Prime Minister, but now they're losing faith. It's time for Turnbull to live up to their expectations, by trading in his party's support for old-model energy and upgrading his support for a renewable future." Said Lyons

For more information call Kirsti Gorringe on 0431 047 358

Media Release, 3 December 2016

Train to nowhere: Federal government to waste a billion in taxpayer cash on a project that will kill people and the Reef

Reports the Federal Government could spend one billion dollars of taxpayer cash on billionaire Adani's dangerous, Reef-killing coal and rail project shows that the company has too much influence over government, said GetUp.

"Australians waiting on much-needed investment in local public services deserve better than a government that turns the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility into a lucky dip for any company that wants a spare billion to prop up its latest white elephant.", said Miriam Lyons, Environmental Justice Director at GetUp.

"This is another example of the federal government bending over backwards for offshore coal interests at the expense of everyday Australians who'd rather see the money go to local infrastructure, hospitals and schools.

"Yesterday the government confirmed that it had no plan to save the Reef - or the 69,000 jobs that depend on it - from the impacts of global warming. Now, just months after Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg ruled out Commonwealth investment in the project, we hear that his government may actively subsidise the Reef's destruction.

"Mining and burning this coal will fuel global warming, causing more coral bleaching and threatening tens of thousands of jobs in the Great Barrier Reef tourism industry.

"The mine is also set to be given billions of litres of water for free, which is a slap in the face to drought-plagued farmers.

"It will be responsible for deaths from air-pollution in India, where over 100,000 people already die a year from pollution from coal-burning power. And its contribution to global warming will come back to bite us with more killer heatwaves, bushfires and floods.  

"The government should not be wasting taxpayer cash on the business interests of offshore billionaires. This is a deeply unpopular move - poll after poll has shown that voters know there's better things to do with public money than waste it on a declining industry.

"The coal industry has too much power over government. This special treatment is further evidence.

"The government who claims it has a budget problem is set to bankroll a killer coal project that threatens jobs and people's health and will ship the profits offshore. They should expect mass public outrage over this.

"Adani has destroyed environments in India and Africa. It's been shown to be engaged in corrupt practices. It can't be trusted with our Reef, it can't be trusted with our water, and its rail project certainly can't be trusted with one billion dollars of public money." said Ms Lyons.

For more information call Kirsti Gorringe on 0431 047 358