Another political action from the past week has backfired on the Turnbull Government. Last week it successfully lobbied the Australian Electoral Commission to have left wing activist group GetUp classified as an associated entity, therefore requiring the organisation to disclose its funding. Their reasoning was that GetUp was a front for Labor and the Greens and not an independent grassroots organisation that they claimed to be.
Let us also remember that the raids on the Australian Workers’ Union offices by the Registered Organisations Commission were over a donation of $100,000 they gave to GetUp back in 2006.
Now this week GetUp has hit back and revealed the extent of its relationship with Liberal politicians and its strategy at the last election for protecting Liberal moderates.
First there was the revelation in the Saturday Paper that Defence Industry Minister, Leader of the House and South Australian moderate power Christopher Pyne back in 2009 lobbied then GetUp’s national director Simon Sheikh to help sure up Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership because of his support for the proposed Emissions Trading Scheme.
GetUp on Monday also confirmed that they “ran dead” in key marginal seats held by Liberal moderates by not handing out how to vote cards. The Liberals GetUp sought to protect were Craig Laundy in Reid, Christopher Pyne in Sturt, Chris Crewther in Dunkley, Sarah Henderson in Corangamite, Jason Falinski in Mackellar, Jason Wood in La Trobe, Ewen Jones in Herbert and Fiona Scott in Lindsay.
GetUp’s current national director Paul Oosting also revealed to Sky News that they had actually been working very closely with Craig Laundy to ensure he would lobby for issues important to GetUp such refugee and clean energy policy “In the situation of Craig Laundy, we have been in touch with him just as we have been with a whole range of MPs”. Laundy has also been pictured with GetUp volunteers which makes it harder for him to deny such a relationship exists.
It is certainly embarrassing for Turnbull and his allies to have used the resources of government to target GetUp for its connections to Labor and Greens when they have exposed to have been utilising GetUp’s power and influence to further their own political agenda when convenient.
These revelations have had a knock-on effect with media reports that Christopher Pyne had tried to unseat South Australia conservative Liberal MP Tony Pasin in the seat of Barker in 2013 by encouraging an independent to run against him. It would appear that efforts to unseat conservatives isn’t just confined to GetUp.
Nobody can deny the fact that GetUp is a left-wing organisation advocating against the positions of conservatives and have successfully defeated conservative MPs Sophie Mirabella and Andrew Nikolic. They have also pledged to target Peter Dutton in his seat of Dickson at the next election.
But it would appear that GetUp also wants to make the Liberal Party more left wing by protecting these moderate MPs, and it would seem there are MPs in the Liberal Party who behind the scenes are only too willing to help GetUp make that happen. Once again rather than this becoming an issue about undue leftist influence in Australian politics the targeting of GetUp by the Turnbull government over the past week has instead exposed the undue leftist influence in the Liberal Party.