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Media Releases - February 2017

Media Release, 28 February 2017

The Government must protect communities from racism, not facilitate hate speech

GetUp has responded to the report of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights' inquiry into Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act by calling on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to stand up to the hard-right of his party and preserve the legislation without change.

Shen Narayanasamy, GetUp's Human Rights Director, said that while the human rights committee has not made any specific recommendations regarding the removal or amendment of section 18C or 18D of the Act, the threat to the laws that protect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and members of multicultural communities remains.   

"The self-described 'deplorables', a group of hard-right members of the Liberal party, including parliamentary committee Chair, Ian Goodenough, remain hell bent on scrapping laws designed to protect communities, affecting people's ability to live safely in a diverse society.   

"The committee have effectively thrown the ball back into the Turnbull Government's court. Until now, the Turnbull Government has shown no leadership on the issue on racial discrimination. With the committee handing the decision back to him, Prime Minister Turnbull must act in the interest of safety for all Australians.

"Members of Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and multicultural communities feel increasingly threatened by growing racism and Malcolm Turnbull must choose to protect us rather than throw us under the bus.

"We do not want to live in a Trump-style nation where division and violence rule. There is a clear and obvious danger posed by rising far-right and their attitudes.

"The foundations of multiculturalism in this country remain under attack, with racist incidents on the rise. Any move to remove legal protections from discrimination would simply send a message that hate speech is acceptable in this country.

"Polls released last week show pandering to parties and people explicitly opposed to multiculturalism comes at a significant electoral cost - almost a third of voters in key Liberal-held marginal seats will reconsider voting for the Liberal Party as a result of the WA Liberal's preference deal with One Nation.

"The government must protect all Australians, and not send the message that hate speech is government-endorsed," said Narayanasamy

For more information call Kirsti Gorringe on 0431 047 358

Media Release, 27 February 2017

The opposite of independent: Government wields power to over-rule independent panel, appoints mining expert to board of ABC

GetUp said that the government's decision to dismiss an independent panel's findings and appoint Vanessa Guthrie to ABC board is a slap in the face to honest news coverage and is deliberately ideological.

Paul Oosting, National Director for GetUp said clearly the government had hoped the panel would choose their star, but when Dr Guthrie was rejected, they rejected the panel entirely.

"Just months after Matthew Canavan criticises the ABC's coverage of coal mining and energy security, they appoint a person with 30 years experience in mining and resources to the board.

"It's clear that the government is uncomfortable with the truth, so they've come up with a way to make news they and their mates in the fossil fuel industry want Australians to hear.

"The Turnbull Government just can't stop playing favourites with the fossil fuel industry, but to further endanger the independence of the ABC is a downright attack on democracy.

"The government has crossed a line by interfering with independent delivery of news. This is not a dictatorship, and Australians won't be force-fed information by people with clear motives that go way beyond a conflict of interest.

"The fossil fuel industry already has too much power, whether it's billions of dollars, free water, or expedited court hearings they're after, the fossil fuel industry has Malcolm Turnbull wrapped around their little finger," Said Oosting.

For more information call Kirsti Gorringe on 0431 047 358

Media Release, 27 February 2017

Corporate tax cut leaving on a jet plane, won't be back again

GetUp says Treasurer Scott Morrison's comments that "half of the benefits of the tax cuts would flow through to workers through higher real wages" were laughable.

Mark Connelly, Economic Fairness Director for GetUp, suggested Morrison was delusional, given research by tax experts from the University of Technology Sydney shows that a massive 40% of the corporate tax cut will flow to overseas shareholders.

"Billionaire companies are also aggressively cheating on their taxes, robbing schools and hospitals of much needed funding.  

"The game is up -- Australians know 'trickle down' economics doesn't work. They know Morrison's tax cuts for billionaire foreign corporations are going nowhere near Australian pay packets.

"If Turnbull and Morrison cared about lifting Australian wages, they would just reverse the cut weekend penalty rates of more than 700,000 workers who are about to have their pay cut by up to $6,000 per year.

"Instead, they want to make foreign corporations and shareholders rich, while taking Australians down the American path of working poor.

"7 of the top 20 corporations that stand to make billions under Morrison's plan are mining and energy companies. These companies are getting over $7.7billion in taxpayer-funded fossil-fuel subsidies.

"Two of the companies set to benefit big time are killer tobacco companies. Their products kill thousands of Australians each year, taking parents from children and loves ones from us all.

"When greedy giants are at the top, there's nothing  left to 'trickle down'. Our economy grows from the ground up and Australians are sick of wasteful government handouts to the top.

"The Turnbull Government has gone to war on working people. Penalty rates have been cut, wages have stagnated, fake debts have been imposed and the banks and power companies are running riot gouging and rorting everyday people.

"Meanwhile the Government is allowing companies to cheat on their taxes and send profits offshore. No wonder Australians are abandoning them in droves," Said Connelly.

For more information call Kirsti Gorringe on 0431 047 358

Media Release, 23 February 2017

Hanson and Turnbull join hands to screw workers for big business

Today's decision by the Fair Work Commission to do over workers by slashing their pay, enthusiastically backed by Malcolm Turnbull and Pauline Hanson, continues the government's war on working people for the sake of their  big business mates.

GetUp's Economic Fairness campaign director, Mark Connelly said this was an unacceptable and brutal Americanisation of Australians' working conditions.

"Income inequality and insecure working arrangements are putting huge pressure on many people, and today's decision will make life a lot harder.

"This savage policy is taking us down the American path of the working poor, where Walmart employees have to hold food drives to feed their families.. Australians, including One Nation voters, fundamentally reject this.

"It's also taking Australians away from their families. These days, both parents have to work full time just to afford their mortgage or rent. Making it cheaper and easier for bosses to make people work weekends pulls more parents away from their children. Pretty soon, they'll be no one on the sidelines of weekend footy.

"At a time when wage growth has fallen to a record low, as housing cuts skyrockets, cutting wages on a mass scale is not only cruel, it's idiotic. We're talking about people who do not just the working, but the paying in our communities. The economy grows from the ground up in Australia and Turnbull and Hanson have just salted the soil.

"Today provides further evidence that Turnbull is clearly in the pocket of big business, and Hanson is out of touch  with those she claims to represent.

"When you hear Ms Hanson claim to be on the side of the "grassroots" remember that she supported slashing the amount of money they have each week and pulling them away from their families.

"People rely on penalty rates. No one wants to work on a weekend. They do it because they have to. They deserve to be compensated for it, said Mr Connelly.  

For more information call Kirsti Gorringe on 0431 047 358

Media Release, 23 February 2017

Government and coal industry attacks on renewable energy industry destroy jobs, make power less secure and push up prices

Attacks on the renewable energy industry by the companies that mine and burn coal and their representatives in Parliament are destroying people's jobs and making power more expensive, said GetUp.

Miriam Lyons, Climate Justice Campaign Director at GetUp warned that attacks on the renewable energy industry from BHP, the Minerals Council and their vassals in Canberra will put renewable energy employees out of work and push up power prices.

"Over the last few months we've seen the coal industry and the federal government attack renewable energy in a concerted campaign designed to do one thing: get more profits for the coal industry.

"This attack will drive off potential investors in the booming renewable energy industry. It will bring on dangerous global warming faster. And it will cost people their jobs.

"People working in the renewable energy industry are only now recovering from Tony Abbott's war on renewables - his attacks destroyed thousands of renewable jobs. The sector can't afford another onslaught from Malcolm Turnbull's anti-renewable government."

"A report by the Australian Conservation Foundation found that strong action on global warming and clean energy would create 90,000 jobs in Queensland alone in the next decade.

"The economically reckless campaign by the Liberal Party and the coal industry is designed to kill off the growth of the renewable industry to help out a handful of coal companies.

"The government's unwillingness to embrace renewables is making Australia's energy less reliable and more expensive. We found out today in a report from AEMO that coal and gas were unreliable in NSW during the recent heatwave.

"Today the Climate Council released a report showing the cost of solar has come down 58% per cent in the last five years, with huge drops expected over coming decades. We need a real plan to modernise our failing electricity market, not a marketing plan to fix a failing government.

"The coal industry is aggressively self interested, we understand that. We understand that they are in bed with the Liberal Party. But what we cannot accept is them attacking renewable workers' jobs and denying millions of Australians the chance to have clean, reliable, affordable energy.

"This love affair with outdated coal technology is economically reckless and putting people's livelihoods and futures at risk," said Ms Lyons.

For more information call Kirsti Gorringe on 0431 047 358

Media Release, 22 February 2017

Buffett Rule is common sense and must be adopted

The Australian Labor Party would do well to adopt the "Buffett Rule", where the wealthiest 1%  are forced to pay a minimum rate of tax, said GetUp's Economic Fairness team today.

GetUp has pushed for the introduction of a Buffet Rule to bring fairness back to our tax system for years now, since it commissioned The Australia Institute to develop the policy in the wake of the disastrous 2014 Abbott Budget.  

Mark Connelly, Economic Fairness campaign director said working people in Australia were being ripped off by the 1%who aggressively minimise their tax.

"We've seen time and time again the wealthiest 1% refuse to follow the same rules as everyone else.

"54 multi millionaires paid no tax in one year alone and spent an average of $1.7 million on accountants to avoid tax. That's money that should be going into our school and hospitals.

"At the same time as the Turnbull Government created an automated extortion racket to bully and harass people over debts they don't owe to Centrelink, they're letting their 1% mates rip off everyone else.

"It's simple. Multi-millionaires shouldn't be paying a lower tax rate than a nurse, a teacher or a builder. That's all the Buffett Rule is.

"If the ALP followed the recommendations from GetUp and introduced a "Buffett Rule" it would demonstrate that it stood for everyday working people over 1% tax cheats.

"That's why 76% of Australians support The Buffett Rule, including 77% of Liberal Voters. Only 8% of Australians oppose the policy, according to an Essential Poll commissioned by GetUp when we launched the campaign.

"Labor's policy to reduce the use of negative gearing and capital gains tax discount are very welcome. But when the 1% are spending hundreds of thousands on tax advice, they'll find other tax loopholes to jump through.

"The Buffett Rule ends the game of tax dodging whack-a-mole by dropping an anvil on the whole thing. The 1% can use tax deductions, like the rest of us, but they can't worm their way out of paying any tax.

The Buffett Rule makes sure the 1% pay at least what working Australians pay, who don't have the benefit of high-priced accounting firms.

"This is a simple and effective way to bring in more revenue to pay for schools and hospitals.

"By allowing more funding to go schools and hospitals, we can start to reverse the dramatic cuts put in place under the Abbott-Turnbull government.

"The Buffett Rule is for the common good. It's common sense. And it's overdue", said Mr Connelly.

For more information call Kirsti Gorringe on 0431 047 358

Media Release, 20 February 2017

Governments should invest in anti-racism education instead of fear-mongering

GetUp! has commended the Victorian Government's announcement today that it will invest in a comprehensive anti-racism strategy to combat racial vilification. 

Shen Narayanasamy, GetUp! Human Rights Director, said the policy announcement was a welcome change from the Federal Government's rhetoric.

 "It's clear that the Victorian State Government has picked up on the clear and obvious danger posed by rising far-right organisation and their attitudes. Members of Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and multicultural communities feel increasingly threatened by growing racism and we welcome any strategies that combat this.

 "It's great to see the Victorian government addressing issues like the challenges people of colour face in life due to racism, such as renting a property or getting a job. 

"It's most welcome to see a government exhibiting leadership rather than rolling over to some of the most divisive and dangerous views in our community.

 "The Turnbull Government has refused to show leadership on the issue of racial discrimination; rather they have rushed to pander to far-right sentiments and have essentially rolled out the red carpet for One Nation. 

"Turnbull is hostage to far right elements within his own party, people who are intent on perpetuating racial divisions which cause people harm.

 "One Nation's official policy is to abolish multiculturalism – for Malcolm Turnbull and his party to describe One Nation as 'more sophisticated' than they once were, is simply an endorsement of racism.

 "Cozying up to the far-right in this manner is a slap in the face to communities everywhere.  We need political leaders who stand for safety and harmony, not fear and division," said Ms Narayanasamy.

For more information call Kirsti Gorringe on 0431 047 358

Media Release, 18 February 2017

Liberals face voter backlash for One Nation preference deal

GetUp have released a new poll of two marginal federal Liberal seats, showing that the Liberal Party faces a voter backlash for doing preference deals with One Nation.

The poll shows that almost a third of all voters will reconsider voting for the Liberal Party, as a result of the One Nation deal. Both of these seats have high proportions of people from non English speaking backgrounds.

The results are reminiscent of the voter backlash in metropolitan and multicultural seats faced by the Queensland Liberal Party after it preferenced One Nation in the 1998 election.

Shen Narayanasamy, GetUp's Human Rights Director, said that the results show pandering to parties and people explicitly opposed to multiculturalism come at a significant electoral cost.

"If you get into bed with racists in the One Nation Party, people who are impacted in their everyday lives by racism will be less likely to vote for you.

"People are very concerned that the Liberal Party appears to have been captured by anti-multiculturalists, and what this means for people's ability to live safely in a diverse Australia.  

"We will be running a significant campaign with multicultural communities in marginal seats across the country. The campaign will explain this to the Liberal Party in terms they can understand. If they get into bed with racist parties like One Nation they will face costs at the ballot box."

Ms Narayanasamy will present evidence to the Senate Inquiry to repeal 18c today.

A poll was conducted in two marginal Liberal seats with high proportions of people from non-English speaking backgrounds, Chisholm (Vic) and Reid (NSW).

Key findings:

  • The Liberal Party are ahead in Reid (53:47) on a two party prefered basis
  • The Liberal Party are ahead in Chisholm (54:46) on a two point prefered basis
  • 62.5 per cent of people in Chisholm and 54.4 per cent of people in Reid disagree or strongly disagree with Pauline Hanson's statement "I want multiculturalism abolished"
  • 60.6 per cent of people in Chisholm and 55.8 per cent of people in Reid are concerned with the Liberal Party's decision to preference One Nation in the WA election
  • 33.8 per cent of in Chisholm and 30.5 per cent in Reid indicated that the preference deal would make them less likely to vote for the Liberal Party
  • The turn-off was highest amongst undecided voters with 43.1% of undecided voters in Chisholm and 31.4% of undecided voters in Reid indicating the preference deal would make them less likely to vote for the Liberal Party.

For more information call Kirsti Gorringe on 0431 047 358

Media Release, 15 February 2017

Priorities couldn't be clearer: Government attacks people and gives free pass to tax cheating corporates

GetUp will be joined by members of Parliament, unions and civil society in order to call on the government to end it's automated debt program which is destroying the lives of working people.  

Paul Oosting, GetUp National Director said the government is shaking down everyday people, often for debts they do not owe and can't effectively challenge.

"The Turnbull Government's priorities could not be clearer. They want to extort money from people who are working hard, just to keep their heads above water, while failing to stand up to tax cheating offshore corporations.

"In 2014-15 alone, 679 major corporations paid not one cent in tax on $462 billion in revenue. That's billions of dollars that isn't going to Australian schools and hospitals.

"Malcolm Turnbull stands over everyday people just trying to go to work and pay the bills, while standing by companies shipping billions in profits to offshore tax hideaways.

"The Turnbull Government is attacking tens of thousands of Australians per week with threatening letters about false debts.

"Reports are that pensioners, families and people with disabilities are next.

"The changes to the onerous review process announced by Minister Tudge last night are an admission of what a car wreck this program is. Now he's trying to throw a new coat of paint on a wrecked car, but it doesn't change the fundamental fact that their faulty system is sending out tens of thousands of fraudulent debt threats.

"The entire automated debt program needs to be scrapped immediately. It's causing people stress, pain and real hardship, as more horror stories pour in every week.

"The fate of our pensioners and families shouldn't be decided by the Turnbull Government's faulty computer program. Australians deserve a human being on the other end of the line.

"Yet we see no action against the multinational dirty energy companies robbing us of the tax they owe.

"In just one year Chevron generated over $3 billion in revenue with our natural resources and paid zero dollars in tax. And if things don't change, they're projected to pay no tax on more than $42 billion in revenue over the next ten years. That's a sick joke.

"So GetUp are launching a billboard slamming the government's failure to go after corporate tax cheats, like Chevron, while attacking everyday people with false debt claims. And we're parking it on Parliament House lawn tomorrow, where it can't be missed," Said Oosting.

Over 72,000 people signed a petition calling on the Turnbull government to stop the automated Centrelink debt letter threats immediately.


For more information call Kirsti Gorringe on 0431 047 358

Media Release, 15 February 2017

"The Adani Files": bribery, corruption, power price ripoffs, diamond laundering, worker abuse, environmental destruction, tax evasion and sinking coal ships

"The Adani Files", exposes the offshore coal company Adani's track record of ruining marine environments and precious water resources in order to personally enrich themselves.   

These are findings which should disqualify them from operating and owning the Carmichael coal mine but instead governments are giving them special treatment by giving them free access to billions of litres of water, denying farmers legal recourse, allowing them to dredge the waters of the Great Barrier Reef and plough coal ships through the Reef, said GetUp  

"The Adani Files" show a rogue billionaire company that has engaged in corruption, bribery, worker abuse and underpayment, failed to clean up a major coal ship spill and avoided tax obligations by hiding assets in exotic tax havens.  

Now, Adani seeks a billion dollars from Australian taxpayers to build a dangerous mine that will create as much pollution as a medium-sized country. It has far too much power over government.

Key findings of "The Adani Files":

  • Use of dodgy tax havens in the Cayman Islands to hide assets and revenue, including the subsidiary which is seeking a taxpayer-subsidised billion-dollar loan from NAIF;  
  • In 2011, a ship carrying Adani coal sank devastating beaches, tourism and marine life. Now Adani wants to ship coal through the Great Barrier Reef;
  • Exploitation of workers including deaths, injuries and widespread underpayment;
  • Adani's Australian CEO oversaw the destruction of a river that people relied on to survive, then hid it from the Australian government;
  • Adani is under investigation for artificially inflating the price of coal, equipment and diamonds;
  • Adani stands accused of bribing customs officials, the police, and State pollution control board;
  • Adani has rigged power prices in order to rip off consumers and increase profits, according to media reports.

"The Adani Files" is based on research into hundreds of court documents by Environmental Justice Australia and Earthjustice, and other publicly available evidence. It reveals Adani did nothing to clean up the mess when its coal ship sank, causing a major oil spill and spilling 60,054 metric tonnes of coal into the ocean -- destroying the local tourism industry in India. It also reveals that Adani's Australian  CEO failed to disclose his role overseeing the destruction of a river in Zambia.

GetUp is today launching a new campaign in order to protect water, the Great Barrier Reef and people from dangerous global warming against the threat posed by the hard right of Australian politics. It will feature a campaign in Liberal marginal electorates across the country with 50,000 phone calls going into the targeted electorates.  

Miriam Lyons, Environmental Justice Campaign Director at GetUp said Adani is a reckless company. They get special treatment because they have too much power over our government.

"While Malcolm Turnbull and his mates are in Parliament playing with lumps of coal and trashing renewable energy, large parts of the country are on on fire or enduring record heatwaves. Adani threatens people's lives and livelihoods across Australia.

"Their track record reveals they put profits ahead of people, every time. If Adani wins, the Reef, our water and people everywhere will lose.  

"They have avoided paying tax in Australia, preferring to hide their assets in the Cayman Islands. If the Turnbull Government can't make them pay tax, how can we make sure they don't ruin the Reef or wreck our water tables?

"It's time someone actually stood up for farmers and tourism, they are billion-dollar industries that supply people with food, lasting employment, and the opportunity to access the Great Barrier Reef.

For more information call Kirsti Gorringe on 0431 047 358

Media Release, 10 February 2017

Turnbull cannot turn a blind eye to MPs fundraising for hate groups

Getup has demanded that Malcolm Turnbull act decisively on Coalition MP George Christensen attending a fundraiser for conservative lobby group 'The Q Society' tonight.

A fundraiser by the same group last night in Sydney was marked by speakers attacking the Muslim people, and joking about the execution of members of the LGBTQI community.

Shen Narayanasamy, GetUp Human Rights Director, demanded that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull condemn these events and ban members of his Government from attending or supporting them.

"It is utterly unconscionable for a sitting Prime Minister to allow a member of his Government to actively associate with - let alone fundraise for - a group that preaches such extreme and vile rhetoric.

"We do not want to live in a Trump-style nation where division and violence rule.  Yet it seems that Mr Turnbull has few ideas other than allowing the right wing of his party to drag us there."

For more information call Kirsti Gorringe on 0431 047 358

Media Release, 9 February 2017

GetUp welcomes Senate Inquiry into automated Centrelink debt threats

GetUp today welcomes the Senate inquiry into the Turnbull Government's Centrelink robo-debt debacle, and called on the entire debt letter program to be scrapped immediately.

Paul Oosting, GetUp National Director, said that the automated system should be brought to an immediate halt.

"An inquiry will answer the question on everyone's minds - how did a government-driven system get it so wrong?

"But in the coming months, as the Senate investigates, false debt letters will continue to be printed by the minute, and the Turnbull Government will still be attacking tens of thousands of Australians with threatening false debt letters.

"The Turnbull Government is hitting 20,000 new people a week. It's unreal.

"It's clear to anyone with eyes and a brain just how botched this program has been from the very beginning.

"But instead of scrapping it, they're doubling down. They say they're going to expand it to target pensioners and people with disabilities next.

"Malcolm Turnbull's got the power to pull the plug on this one.

"Based on the number of brave Centrelink whistleblowers and wrongly targeted people that have appeared in the media so far, we're predicting this Senate Inquiry is going to be very uncomfortable for Malcolm Turnbull and his Government.

"But instead of seeing sense and shutting down the robo-debt scam, Malcolm Turnbull is continuing to let his government bully pensioners and people living with disabilities for cash they don't owe.

"Labor, Greens and the Senate crossbench are listening to the urgency from GetUp members by getting this inquiry up the first week back in Parliament.

"It shows just how politically isolated the Turnbull Government is on their fraudulent debt threats.

"The entire GetUp community will continue campaigning to end this horrible attack on everyday Australians like Jenny," Mr Oosting said.

Case study:

Jenny, 54 is a nurse from Revesby Heights with two grandchildren. She severed the tendons in her thumb in an accident at home, and went to the hospital where the laceration was glued.

She was unable to work as a result of the injuries, a situation compounded by being given the wrong treatment, and required five additional surgeries to rectify the mistakes. During part of this time, she received sickness benefits from Centrelink for approximately nine months.

Worried she was going to lose her house, she rang Centrelink to find out whether she could perform casual work in a computer role. Hours worked and monies earned were reported to Centrelink each time.

There was eventually a settlement paid by the hospital's insurance company due to negligence with the original treatment she received.  

Despite being out of work for 15 months, she received no further benefits from Centrelink, but in November, she received a letter for $4,121.44 debt.

She called Centrelink to explain that the money she had received as sick benefit had been repaid to Centrelink by the insurance company as part of winning her negligence case, but there was no record of this on hand and not considered.

Hours into her second call with Centrelink, she was informed that she was able to appeal the decision, but the debt management team give her no explanation for her false debt.

In January, she received letters from Centrelink saying she has no debt, and letters dated the same day from the debt collectors saying her payments are overdue.

For more information call Kirsti Gorringe on 0431 047 358

Media Release, 2 February 2017

We can't trust Trump, but we can bring them here

Malcolm Turnbull's reported humiliation at the hands of Trump on the US deal demonstrates that the Australian government cannot and should not trust Trump.

Shen Narayanasamy, GetUp Human Rights Director said we can't trust Trump, but we can bring the people in offshore detention here.

"This is ridiculous. It's time to end stop relying on a dangerous US administration who have humiliated the Australian Prime MInister and scorned the agreement.

"We need to end the abuse and recognise that Australia is a safe country, evacuate the camps and bring them here," said Ms Narayanasamy.

For more information call Kirsti Gorringe on 0431 047 358

Media Release, 2 February 2017

GetUp! to launch advertising campaign in multicultural marginal seats targeting Liberal Government for racism

GetUp is launching an advertising campaign tapping into growing multicultural and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community unease with Liberal Party associations with One Nation, and attempt to remove legal protections against Racial Discrimination.

Shen Narayanasamy, GetUp's Human Rights Director said posters and billboards would go up in key multicultural marginal seats in NSW and Victoria with the aim to make racism cost votes for the Liberal Party.

"Turnbull's weak response to Trump and his own right-wing extremists shows softly softly has no place here. Multicultural communities vote. And they will and should, vote against politicians that trade in racist fear mongering.

"The Australian newspaper, the IPA and the far right of the Liberal National Party have worked themselves into a lather to defend people's right to be racist. Continually broadcasting this sentiment alone sends a message that it's ok to racially abuse people.  

"Watering down or removing Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act would be outright permission.

"This is a country where almost a third of the population are from a non-Anglocentric background. For most Australians, there's little demand for the right to be a bigot.

"However, if you are a person of colour or one of Australia's First Peoples, this is a serious issue which impacts your quality of life.

"Australia actually needs stronger laws and greater efforts by government to protect people against racial discrimination. Indigenous people have been the subject of racist abuse for generations and this law gives them some redress.

"This campaign is only one prong of a wider racial justice campaign we will be running on a key issue that affects Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and multicultural migrant communities.

"The Coalition is trying to make short-term gains from Trump-style divisiveness by cosying up to One Nation, but we are determined to show that there are long-term electoral costs associated with victimising minorities." Said Narayanasamy.

Billboards will be launched in key multicultural marginal seats in Western Sydney and Melbourne.

Street posters will also be released across a range of electorates in multiple languages.

For more information call Kirsti Gorringe on 0431 047 358

Media Release, 2 February 2017

GetUp has self to blame for campaign success

In a bizarre twist, GetUp is poised at the edge of an exciting campaign victory banning offshore political donations, courtesy of Malcolm Turnbull pandering to far-right conspiracy theories about GetUp.

"We can't believe our luck," said GetUp National Director Paul Oosting.

"We've been campaigning to get a ban on offshore donations for ages. And right now, right wingers like Senator Eric Abetz are using GetUp as a reason for banning offshore donations.

"Sure, it's based on some weird delusions around George Soros – but if that's what gets an offshore donation ban across the line, we're not going to complain.

"This is one time we're glad the Prime Minister is being led by the alternative reality inhabited by his far-right colleagues.

"The vast majority of funding for GetUp campaign comes from small donations from everyday Australians. Only 1% has come from offshore, principally from like-minded ally organisations (not George Soros).

"It's the political parties and dirty energy industry that leads the charge in offshore money.

"Not only our our members happy to see it go, they've been actively campaigning for it, to stop multinational dirty energy companies from polluting our politics," Mr Oosting said.

GetUp's petition for reforms to get Big Money Out of Politics (including a blanket ban on any donations from offshore entities) has over 50,000 signatures.

For more information call Kirsti Gorringe on 0431 047 358

Media Release, 1 February 2017

GetUp slams Malcolm Turnbull's $1.75m bid for The Lodge

GetUp today responded to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull (finally) admitting he donated $1.75m to his own election campaign.

GetUp National Director Paul Oosting said Mr Turnbull's last-minute cash-injection may just have bought him the keys to The Lodge.

"In an incredibly close election, and with the Liberal Party in financial trouble thanks to their own violation of political donation laws, Malcolm Turnbull exploited his wealth to hold onto his power.

"Mr Turnbull clearly likes his job and was willing to shell out a cool $1.75m of his own cash to keep it.

"Few other Australians could manage that trick if they underperformed in their job as badly as Mr Turnbull has.

"This whole episode demonstrates yet again the need for us to get big money out of politics and rebuild the public's faith in our democratic system.

"No-one should be able to donate such a massive sum to any politician or political party. It's  a recipe for corruption and the purchase of power.

"Time and time again Mr Turnbull's government has chosen to act in the interests of large corporations and wealthy individuals, at the expense of the everyday Australians they were elected to represent.

"Whether it's corporate tax cuts instead of funding our schools and hospitals, or shaking down hard-working Australians with a fraudulent debt program instead of getting corporate tax cheats to pay what they owe.

"It's government of the 1%, for the 1%, by the 1%.

"And everyone else is supposed to accept what trickles down, because they don't have a few million dollars, or corporate backers, to buy their way into power.

"How else can you explain the Turnbull Government letting 679 of the biggest corporations get away with paying literally zero tax on billions in revenue, all the while hounding pensioners and single parents with fraudulent debt threats from Centrelink?

"This isn't the first case of a wealthy individual using their own money to gain political power. Recently, we've seen Donald Trump in the US and Clive Palmer closer to home," Mr Oosting said.

For more information call Kirsti Gorringe on 0431 047 358

Media Release, 1 February 2017

GetUp slams "friends with benefits" relationship between political parties and big corporations, calls for immediate reforms

The 2015-16 donations disclosure data released by the AEC today demonstrates yet again the staggering extent of Big Money payoffs from major corporations into political party coffers.

Prime Minister Turnbull's own donation to the Liberal party was due to be disclosed this morning, but remains hidden from the AEC data.

Paul Oosting, GetUp National Director said that it seems Turnbull deliberately held the donation back until the last day of the election campaign, as it fell in a new financial year and would avoid detection for another 12 months.

"Malcolm Turnbull was able to 'gift' his own campaign an outrageous amount, possibly up to $2 million. But now we're forced to wait another year to know what actually happened, because Malcolm's donation was snuck through the system in the final hour.

"Malcolm Turnbull knows that Australians are fed up with multi millionaires like Clive Palmer and Donald Trump buying their way into parliament. He's paid millions to keep his keys to the lodge, but he doesn't want us to know about it.

"Intentionally keeping the details of his donation from the Australian people for as long as possible is just plain shady.

"Meanwhile, billionaire corporates are able to flood the political system with vast sums of money and drown out the voices of everyday people.

"Time and time again we see politicians looking out for the interests of massive corporations over everyday people, and the numbers released today give us a good idea why.

"When corporations are willing to splash so much cash buying political influence, is it any wonder they get special treatment?

"Is it any wonder that some of these corporations funnelling eye-watering sums to politicians are the very same that didn't pay a cent in income tax?

"Is it any wonder that voters see red when politicians choose to harass pensioners and single parents with fraudulent debt letters instead of cracking down on corporations paying literally zero tax on billions in revenue?

"Our system of disclosure is woefully inadequate. Voters aren't able to find out who's bankrolling the political parties until after the damage is done. There's no excuse for this shocking lack of transparency.

"And because the election fell at the start of the a financial year, many donors deliberately snuck donations in after the disclosure period to avoid detection for another 12 months.

"That's why we've put together a Five Point Plan to get Big Money Out of Politics and we're calling on both major parties to commit to it, and start to rebuild the public's faith in democracy," Mr Oosting said.

GetUp's Five Point Plan to Get Big Money Out of Politics:

  1. Stop the money game: Cap the amount any individual or corporation can donate at $1000 per financial year, and introduce expenditure caps on election campaigns to remove incentives to amass huge political fighting funds.
  2. End the shroud of secrecy: Require all donations above $500 to be publicly disclosed on the internet in real-time, including donations to and from affiliated entities.
  3. Stop offshore entities buying political influence: Prohibit any corporation or entity not registered in Australia, or any individual who doesn't have citizenship or residency, from making donations.
  4. A corruption watchdog with teeth: Create an independent federal corruption watchdog with broad investigative powers.
  5. Close the revolving door: Prevent Members of Parliament from engaging in lobbying work for a period of three years after they leave office.

Some major donations in today's release include:

  • $1,450,000 from Paul Marks to the Liberal Party. Paul Marks is a mining executive best known for having the then Prime Minister Tony Abbott fly a taxpayer funded private jet to attend his birthday party. 

Mr Marks was also invited by the Australian Government to China to a meeting between the then Prime Minister Abbott and Chinese President Xi Jinping, which resulting in him signing a lucrative deal with a Chinese mining company.

  • $715,840 from Parakeela to the Liberal Party. Parakeela was exposed last election as a software company controlled to syphon taxpayer funded parliamentary entitlements into the Liberal Party's campaign coffers.

  • $312,152 from the gambling lobby to Labor.

  • $283,100 from the gambling to the Liberal Party.

  • $27,500 to Labor and $22,000 the the Liberal Party from Thales, one of the companies that was awarded the lucrative submarine contract.  

For more information call Kirsti Gorringe on 0431 047 358