Cam Walker, FoE Australia writes:
The environment movement is under attack (again) andÂ we need your helpÂ to see offÂ the Federal government’s latest attemptÂ to limit our work.
The long-running campaign kicked off by the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) and enthusiastically endorsed by conservative MPs, theÂ right-wingÂ media, and coal industry, is seekingÂ to strip environmental groups of their tax deductible donation statusÂ that was. (Read history of the attacksÂ here)
Tax deductible donationsÂ make up more than 90Â percentÂ of FoE Australia’s income.
If the government finally succeeds in removing our DGR status, it will be the end of Friends of the Earth inÂ itsÂ current form. This will be equally true for any environmental group which has staff and engages in advocacy and protest.
TheÂ AustralianÂ Treasury has announced a review of Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status organisations, with environmental groups selected for extra special attention.
Wrapped up in a fairly benign looking â€˜reviewâ€™ of the management of charities are some long running items from the conservativeâ€™s agenda, in particular:
- To limit the advocacy of environmental groups by forcing them to spend upÂ 50Â percentÂ of their income on tree planting etc, and,
- To â€˜sanctionâ€™ or remove the tax status of groups that â€˜promoteâ€™ illegal activity â€“ and by this they mean protesting. There is even a bizarre recommendation that groups be punished even if â€˜people not connected formally with organisationâ€™ are engaged with illegal action like being arrested at a protest.
TheÂ rightÂ wing has tried this several times and each time with YOUR support we have staved off these ideologically driven attacks.
Environmentalism is much more than just planting treesÂ — especially in the age of climate change and with the widely held understanding that our economic system that is driving the ecological destruction.Â
This threat is an acknowledgement that advocacy and protest WORKS and that the work we are doing threatens the Right wing and their fossil fuel interests.