Old_Notes

Attack on Environment groups

Cam Walker, FoE Australia writes:

The environment movement is under attack (again) and we need your help to see off the Federal government’s latest attempt to limit our work.

The long-running campaign kicked off by the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) and enthusiastically endorsed by conservative MPs, the right-wing media, and coal industry, is seeking to strip environmental groups of their tax deductible donation status that was. (Read history of the attacks here)

Tax deductible donations make up more than 90 percent 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 in its current form. This will be equally true for any environmental group which has staff and engages in advocacy and protest.

The Australian 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 ‘review’ of the management of charities are some long running items from the conservative’s agenda, in particular:

  • To limit the advocacy of environmental groups by forcing them to spend up 50 percent of their income on tree planting etc, and,
  • To ‘sanction’ or remove the tax status of groups that ‘promote’ illegal activity – and by this they mean protesting. There is even a bizarre recommendation that groups be punished even if ‘people not connected formally with organisation’ are engaged with illegal action like being arrested at a protest.

The right 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 trees — especially in the age of climate change and with the widely held understanding that our economic system that is driving the ecological destruction. 

Feds Going After Our Tax Status: Act Now!

You have probably heard that the federal gov is having another go at the tax status of green groups, including FoE Australia. This time through a discussion paper from Treasury. A number of the nasty recommendations from the House of Reps inquiry are included in this.
It would be great if individual people could send a submission (template here: http://www.foe.org.au/here_we_go_again_dgr_dot_points )
If you have allies in ANY other organisations please ask them to write a submission – unions, churches, aid groups, welfare orgs, footy clubs, etc etc. We really need maximum numbers of submissions on this one. And if you have any prominent allies please tell them about this risk.

This is probably the Coalition’s last chance to damage green groups before the next election so we have to expect they will pursue it vigorously. We need a major mobilisation to defeat it.

There is background info available here: http://www.foe.org.au/here_we_go_againSubmissions need to be in by July 14.

AGM election results

We had a well-attended AGM, and elected a number of knowledgeable and talented people to our Admin/Strategy collective.

In particular, we have a new Convenor, Susie Ruthenbeck; a new Secretary, David Faber; and an experienced treasurer, Richard Smith.
There was considerable discussion at the first meeting of this year about the anti-nuclear campaign against the National Dump; the push to speed up a just Energy transition to renewables; and what we might do for the coming state election. More details soon……

Gasfields or our land & water

The SA govt has given $6 million of our taxpayer money to a mining company for exploratory work re unconventional gasfields in SA. Note that gas licences and projected gas licences, if they are approved, will mean gasfields on 53% of Australia i.e. 408 million hectares while only providing 2% of jobs at the same destroying jobs in tourism, and agriculture (crops, meat & vineyards). This youtube link below shows the effect on people’s lives and farming land in Australia and the USA.

It’s very worth watching and only takes 40 mins (be informed while sipping a cup of coffee or tea).

 We need energy and we can get it through wind and solar farms which, surprise surprise, provide ongoing jobs & are much less detrimental to the environment.
Do we want to affect our food and water or protect both for our future use? A simple question really.

 Action

Can you spare an hour on Saturday the 8th July? Do you want to help keep our environment clean? If so please join us at the Water4Life roadside action on the corner of Glen Osmond and Greenhill Roads (parklands side) from 10.30am to 11.30am

 Writing to your MP is also useful. We need to let our MPs know what we want & where our votes will go. (Our MPs are our employees – we pay them, right?)

Money All gas mined will be exported, so we get it at a buy back deal where the price to us will be linked to global prices, not local prices. Hence price of our gas will go up in the next few years. 84% of mining profits go to overseas shareholders. Most income from mining fields go to pubs & property owners re increased rent.  But the affiliated loss of income to farmers is horrendous eg one farmer explained that his farm is his super – this will be affected by a gasfield near his place.…

No is Not Enough

 

Journalist Naomi Klein’s new book is out now; subtitled “Defeating the New Shock Politics”, it offers insights into the rise of Trump and suggests a toolkit for the resistance. In particular, she pinpoints why neocons are so actively resisting recognising the urgency of action against climate change.

“…climate change, especially at this late date, can only be dealt with through collective action that sharply curtails the behaviour of corporations such as ExxonMobil and Goldman Sachs. It demands investments in the public sphere — in new energy grids, public transit and light rail, and energy efficiency — on a scale not seen since the second world war. And that can only happen by raising taxes on the wealthy and on corporations, the very people Trump is determined to shower with the most generous tax cuts, loopholes and regulatory breaks. Responding to climate change also means giving communities the freedom to prioritize local green industries — a process which clashes directly with the corporate free trade deals that have been such an integral part of neoliberalism, and which bar “buy local” rules as protectionist.”

—  Naomi Klein, No is Not Enough, p81