Attack on environmental campaigning

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The Australian government is soon to launch an inquiry into environmental organisations and the tax deductibility of their donations. The committee consists of 6 coalition and 4 labour party members, chaired by Alex Hawke, who has this to say on climate change:

To say that climate change is human induced is to overblow and overstate our role in the scheme of the universe quite completely over a long period of time.

Which is interesting, because on his Wikipedia page there don’t seem to be any science or climate qualifications…

The crux of the inquiry is to potentially take away the DGR (deductible gift recipients) status of 100-150 environmental groups (currently 600 organisations have DGR status), on the basis that they are taking part in campaigning activities.

Campaigning versus action

The argument the coalition is putting forward, is that DGR status should only be awarded to organisations taking part in active work – for example, tree planting, rubbish removal, tackling soil salinity issues, etc, and not in any campaigning activities.

What is campaigning? Campaigning could include raising awareness for large environmental catastrophes where there is no active way to actually participate in pure action – for example, current organisations at risk use some of their funds to raise awareness and campaign for the Great Barrier Reef, The Kimberly, The Franklin, Kakadu and other special places, which are either already actively being destroyed or are slated for environmental tampering.

In a nutshell, this inquiry is an attempt to silence groups who use their funds to bring about awareness of environmental issues. This is potentially a huge blow to many organisations who work tirelessly to protect our planet with very limited resources.

Meanwhile, the government has just spent $100,000 on travel costs to send environment department officials to campaign and lobby countries not to have UNESCO list The Great Barrier Reef as being in danger.

You can help

Lodge your submission with this form by May 21st, 2015 – note: Do not use the text in this form – write your own or heavily modify the existing copy. If you simply add your name and press send, your submission will go into a ‘proforma’ pile, and be less effective.

Read more from Friends of the Earth, the ABC and The Conversation.

Disclaimer: We actively donate to environmental organisations through our 1% for the Planet giving.