30 June 2014
In spearheading the latest Liberal attack on the environment movement, Federal member for Bass, Andrew Nikolic, made statements ranging from the hypocritical to the dishonest.
Mr Nikolic is apparently outraged that some environment groups registered as charities might be "engaged in political activism” and should therefore be stripped of their tax deductible status. He conveniently overlooks the fact that donations to political parties are tax deductible. Last time I checked, political parties do their fair share of "political activism” but Mr Nikolic has not moved any motions to take away their tax deductibility. Or perhaps he is saving that brave suggestion for the next meeting?
He then moves on to claim that donations to environment groups are used “for illegal activities”, an outrageous and dishonest statement. Having taken the trouble to name the Bob Brown Foundation is this undignified spray, perhaps he could explain what illegal activities we have been involved in? Let me save him the trouble of rummaging through his dirt file by providing the answer. None.
In fact the groups that he slanders, including the Wilderness Society, ACF, the EDO and The Bob Brown Foundation are doing exactly what charitable environment organisations are supposed to be doing. Working to protect the natural environment. Most recently these groups worked together to successfully stop the Liberal government's 'feeble' bid to remove 74,000 ha from the World Heritage Area. I understand that this was a humiliating defeat for the Abbott/Abetz camp but it is no excuse to penalise these groups for doing their job and protecting Tasmania’s environment.
This is nothing more than another craven attempt to silence organisations, and hundreds of thousands of their supporters, who hold views that challenge the government.
A democracy’s strength comes from encouraging and, yes, even financially supporting, different points of view. What a pity Mr Nikolic doesn’t share this faith in Australia’s mature and robust democracy.
The Bob Brown Foundation