In the words of Bob Marley, GetUp! – stand up.

Why are you hiding behind that bush Simon?

GetUp! should stand up and tell Australians who they really are.  Are they an activist organisation with a certain political leaning?  Are they a pseudo political party aligned with the Greens and Labor?  Are they truly independent in their views or do they take advice from particular political identities?

For a long time GetUp! has stood upon the mountain of moral superiority and preached to us ordinary ignorant slobs on everything from economic fairness and workplace relations to the price of petrol and the plight of battery hens.

GetUp!’s loud and proud website claims they don’t back any particular political party and seek only to build an “accountable” Australia. 

Having taken part in the political dialogue in this country for so long and having made the recent transition in leadership from Simon Sheikh to Sam Mclean, the time has come for GetUp! to practice what they preach and open themselves to the same scrutiny they so stridently seek to apply to our politicians.

Who determines their public policy? Who makes the call on what campaigns they run? Who are their backers and what influence do they have on GetUp!’s policy direction? How often do they meet with political party officials and on what basis?

The line between truly being independent activists and party political players is critically blurred for GetUp!, especially when they behave exactly like the political operatives they so vehemently deride.

GetUp!’s website states ‘GetUp! is a not-for-profit organisation and relies on small donations to fund its work and in-kind donations from the Australian public. GetUp! does not accept donations from political parties or the Government.’

In what must have been a momentary lapse in their ‘hard-line’ principles, Australian Electoral Commission financial returns documents from 2010-2011 reveal that GetUp! received a ‘small’ donation of $1.12 million from the CFMEU.

Accepting such a sum from one of Australia’s largest and most militant unions, with direct links to the Australian Labor Party, may explain some of GetUp!’s anti-conservative, anti-Coalition, anti-mining, anti-capitalist campaigns.

According to media reports the bulk of the money was spent on an advertising campaign during the 2010 federal election, personally attacking Opposition Leader Tony Abbott.

There is however a rancid irony considering GetUp!’s archives list one of their most vehement campaigns as advocating the complete end to donations to all political groups.

The line between pure social activism and dirty political manoeuvring is further blurred by some of GetUp!’s cynical tactics one would expect to see on an Aaron Sorkin television drama.

For example, GetUp! paid a relatively large sum of money to The Australia Institute to develop the 2012 anti-mining report ‘Pouring Fuel on the Fire.  The report decried the supposedly unfair rebates and exemptions available to the Australian mining industry – the most heavily taxed and restricted industry in the country.

Unsurprisingly the report was riddled with unfounded assumptions and technical inaccuracies, failing the most basic tests of fair and comparative research.

The document did feature a small print acknowledgment that GetUp! had commissioned the report however the exact amount of the commissioning ‘donation’ made by GetUp! was not mentioned.

In 2007 the Australian Electoral Commission was forced to chastise GetUp! over its website  as it breached the Commonwealth Electoral Act in that it was “misleading and deceptive”, always placing the Coalition candidates last.

One of the great freedoms we have in Australia is that people are permitted to gather in protest, and to form organisations with defined ideological views and particular political sympathies.

History has shown however, that the average punter detests being misled and has no patience for groups who loudly push a specific political barrow yet pretend they endorse no particular political movement.

In that context, GetUp! should stand up and admit who they really are or sit down and be quiet.

Comments on this post will close at 8pm AEST.

Most commented


Show oldest | newest first

    • Brian Taylor says:

      06:01am | 15/09/12

      As with everything…if you want to know who or what party Getup belongs too….Follow the money
      it is about time Getup was looked into

    • RobJ says:

      08:05am | 15/09/12

      .....And? Like I say further down they are no different to the IPA (except that they’re more effective) who take money from the tobacco industry, does the IPA need to be looked into?

    • Two Sugars says:

      08:42am | 15/09/12

      If you look carefully at the photo, you will see Tony Abbott in the background. He is clearly looking suspicious having just hit Simon over the head with it before running away, like the true political coward that everyone in the ABC reckons he is. Simon is clearly looking shaken and I stand witness to this awful crime.
      I’m inclined to see this is ‘proof’ that Tony Abbott was a woman-hating bully in his pre-school days, and should therefore not be trusted to walk down the street, let alone run the bloody country.
      Now if I could just find the number for the ABC newsroom this should get a pretty good run.

    • Denny says:

      09:21am | 15/09/12

      RobJ - how does the Tobacco industry and the IPA have any relevence to this article? Typical left way of approaching things trying to muddy the waters with irrelevence. perhaps you can tell me of the direct and intimate written association that Tobacco has with the LNP - other than donations (all parties receive donations from a variety of sources so that does not hold up)

    • Phil S says:

      12:39pm | 15/09/12

      I would take your suggestion of looking into Getup seriously Brian, if it wasn’t posted on an article written by someone who’s Biography on The Punch fails to mention they are the “Director of Media and Public Affairs at NSW Minerals Council”.

      This is a hypocritical piece of writing, that should only serve to inform readers that EVERYONE has a bias, and some form of political association, and you should take what you hear with a teaspoon of salt if the issue is even slightly political. The only way to navigate this minefield is to listen to both sides, find the evidence that supports BOTH sides, and then weigh the evidence before making a decision as to which you believe. Regularly look for evidence that contradicts your held view, and adjust your view accordingly if it becomes apparent your initial decision was wrong.

    • dovif says:

      04:10pm | 15/09/12

      Phil S

      Which side of Get Up! getting $1 million from CFMEU and producing ads against the Liberals in 2007 do you not get.

      Get up and do some research.

      All the presenters presented was factsl. Did you see Get up saying anything against the Malaysian solution or the recent backflip by the ALP?

    • A Concerned Citizen says:

      04:39pm | 15/09/12

      I believe that all lobby groups like GetUp, and the Unions, and the Institute of Public Affairs should be forced to disclose who pays them- and then BANNED from lobbying policy. They can stick to writing publications- but ONLY if they disclose who they are, and who recently paid them to write material that is in any way related to the articles.

    • acotrel says:

      06:22am | 15/09/12

      Get Up and Wikileaks are a tag wrestling team, giving the cynical amongst us guilt trips ?

    • Muggles says:

      01:28pm | 15/09/12

      @acotrel Speak for yourself.

      Do you feel guilty about something?  If so, own up to it.

      But don’t try and pass off your guilt as a validation of a left-wing, partisan political organisation that tries to pass itself off as independent.

    • A Concerned Citizen says:

      04:03pm | 15/09/12

      Wikileaks is a media organization that publishes leaked documents by and between governments, while GetUp is a lobby group that complains about our domestic policy- I don’t see the connection, other than certain people dislike both.

      Ultimately a healthy democracy means that sometimes organizations tell us things we don’t like to hear, so I believe we need BOTH groups.

    • craig2 says:

      06:52am | 15/09/12

      Wouldn’t and have never trusted this group. However, should the libs give a million, I’m sure they would be dancing to the libs tune, like anybody else, the only question is how much? Everybody can be bought no matter how dirty the money.

    • Futureproof says:

      08:05am | 15/09/12

      Why would the Coalition donate to these lefties?  GetUp would take the money and spew venom back at the Coalition.

    • Jackie says:

      11:08am | 15/09/12

      The liberals don’t have the union coffers to pull millions from, only labor has that privilege.

    • Phil S says:

      12:21pm | 15/09/12

      @Futureproof: So you admit that Getup policy is not influenced by political donations then? Or are you sticking to the line the article makes about Getup having their policy influenced by CFMEU donations? You can’t have it both ways, though I’m sure you’ll try and spin it somehow…

    • Futureproof says:

      03:06pm | 15/09/12

      Phil S.  What I am saying is that the Liberals, like any political party would want to make sure that their ROI targets their opposition - the ALP/Greens.  Do you seriously think that if the Libs donated to GetUp, there would suddenly be a plethora of anti-carbon tax and anti MRRT ads?

    • RobJ says:

      07:09am | 15/09/12

      I guess their like a left version of the IPA. Who take money from big tobacco.

    • acotrel says:

      08:57am | 15/09/12

      Are they involved in politics ?  (Is the Pope a catholic ?  Are the Kennedys gunshy ? )

    • Gai says:

      07:15am | 15/09/12

      What motives? To make the world a better place and protect Gaia from the evil rampages of man? What a terrible motive to own up to!

      GetUp is one of the only organisations that cares about all Australians. It understands Australians are parts of Gaia’s body and that these parts are sick. GetUp loves Australians so much because it wants to help them overcome their weakness. It knows what is best for Gaia and how to sooth her so she does’t expel the virus (us) from her body.

      People who only care about the economy and jobs are very selfish.

    • Futureproof says:

      08:08am | 15/09/12

      GetUp is one of the only organisations that cares about its own political ambitions.  Fixed your statement

    • Frances says:

      08:11am | 15/09/12

      Is this post for real?

    • Dewey Venlift says:

      08:18am | 15/09/12

      You could have made this post a whole lot more credible if you stopped referring to the earth as “Gaia”.

    • Blerghhh says:

      08:24am | 15/09/12

      surely your not series…?

    • Gaia says:

      09:06am | 15/09/12

      the earth is only part of Gaia.. we are also Gaia. We are one life together and we have a diease but we are the disease. Gaia needs to get better and GetUp is one of the many doctors working on the case.

    • Mayday says:

      09:22am | 15/09/12

      “People who only care about the economy and jobs are very selfish.”  These words have to have come from a member of Get Up LOL!

      The poor are extremely selfish wanting shelter, food and clothing.

      Perhaps all members of Get Up should Get Off their arses and do some time at the Smith Family or the Salvation Army to observe first hand what happens when there is no job and the economy flounders?

    • craig2 says:

      09:27am | 15/09/12

      Blerghhh: Serious not series…

    • craig2 says:

      09:30am | 15/09/12

      Gai: I think you’re very eccentric but i’ll wear the comment about being selfish but the rest of the post is bollocks.

    • Taryn says:

      09:38am | 15/09/12

      No, they do not care about all Australians. I know they’ve ignored an issue that has on more than one occasion been a top issue in their surveys of people cause they basically thought it wasn’t sexy enough. They care about populist issues that are already on the public radar. Point to one hard-hitting campaign that Get Up have run on an issue that has little public profile where they have actually educated and informed people about something that they might not have been paying attention to.  Point to one well though out policy solution they’ve advocated for beyond a simplistic and immediate objective.

      Take for example their refusal to engage with people with disabilities and their family on national reform for disability support - a top ranking issue in their surveys on more than one occasion but they refused to take it on. But once the hard work of getting it on the radar was done, and it got to COAG and a couple of recalcitrant Premier’s didn’t seem to want to play - lo and behold who comes to the party and decides to agitate in one State. I hope they took no credit for the outcome by the by because it wasn’t done to them.

      And how exactly are they activists? Signing up to a cause and forwarding on a few emails doesn’t make you an activist. It might make you feel like you’re doing your bit.

      People don’t truly get mobilized in Australia because life is so relatively easy that politics just doesn’t have a real and immediate effect in their lives like it does in other countries. What have we got to really fight for.  You want to see real activism and by part of it, go and look at your local community and interest groups that are working on things that are important to them. They understand their issue, they have solutions and objectives they are working for. When Get Up shows me it’s value adding to that kind of activism then I’ll take it seriously.

    • TChong says:

      07:37am | 15/09/12

      Get-Up ! is about as independant as Gerrard Hendersons “The Sydney Institute”, or the “Institute Of Public Affairs”, two conservative organisations funded by Big Biz, with agendas not always too transparent- they too should makeit very clear who funds them, as well.

    • marley says:

      08:30am | 15/09/12

      Fair is fair, Chongy.  The IPA has taken plenty of hits from its critics over the murkiness of its funding sources;  GetUp! should be no different.  It certainly can’t claim to be on higher ground if it’s being financed by one of the less savoury unions here. 

      As for Henderson’s outfit, I’d have said it’s a bit different, since, so far as I know, it doesn’t actually lobby for policies, unlike the other two.

    • TChong says:

      09:28am | 15/09/12

      agree marley
      All lobby groups, think tanks, focus groups etc that seek to involve and influence politics should state quite clearly who organises, finances their activities

    • A Concerned Citizen says:

      04:28pm | 15/09/12

      I would agree with Marley;
      Though I would point out that we cannot actually say the IPA doesn’t lobby for policy if it isn’t transparent a transparent organization either.

      Of course, neither GetUp nor the IPA should be allowed to lobby policies at all. If it were so important, it should be put to a vote instead.

    • Sherlock says:

      07:45am | 15/09/12

      Could you imagine the uproar if this was a conservative organisation like the Tea Party? The left would be in apoplexy. So assured of their self-appointed infallibility, the left are outraged when somebody has the gall to have different opinions to theirs.

      You only need to see the bile they throw at Andrew Bolt who simply has a blog on a newspaper website. The left are so obsessed with him it’s actually funny. Could you imagine the reaction they would have if there was a major right wing organisation in Australia like Get-up accepting million dollar donations from associations connected with the Liberals?

      Yet while the right wingers may have concerns about get-up life simply goes on as normal. The only issue I have is this non-biased with no political ties affiliations rubbish.

      The should “get-up” and loudly state that they are a left wing political organisation that support left-wing ideals and they will always support the ALP and they’re proud of it. It’s a free country and if that’s what they are then good for them.

      Any claim of non-political affiliations went out the door the second they accepted money from the unions.. To continue to claim this simply makes them appears as fools. The union didn’t give them money to promote right wing free market ideals.

      Pick a topic and most intelligent people can predict with 99% accuracy Get-up’s stance on it with referring to the website.

    • Mayday says:

      09:25am | 15/09/12

      Yes fools and tools of the left who assume we are all naive.

      Laugh of the day to Get Up claiming to be “an independent body.”

    • craig2 says:

      09:34am | 15/09/12

      Sherlock: As a moderate right leaner, i’m all for capitalism and big business. Sadly, it will be you and I who will continue to fund this socialist state Get Up is proud to promote. Absolute pits.

    • Mouse says:

      09:55am | 15/09/12

      I honestly don’t understand how anyone can take them seriously. As soon as they said that they where apolitical I knew they were crackpots.  You only have to listen to their opening lines to know that that certainly ain’t the truth!
      You are right Sherlock, if they supported the Libs, gillard, swannie and co would be al over them, but because they lean, or should I say topple over, left, they are OK!  They are fools, unfortunately very loud ones.  Oh well, we live in a country that allows them to have their opinions and voice them as they will. The rest of us can just smile as we pass and have our opinions of them as well.  Doncha just love it!  lol :o)

    • SimpleSimon says:

      10:21am | 15/09/12

      You mean like the IPA?

    • jonesy says:

      11:37am | 15/09/12

      @Sherlock - you like the unbiased information that comes from the right wing conservative Institute of public Affairs.

    • cheap white trash says:

      07:45am | 15/09/12

      Get Up,just a bunch of PC Progressive Wankers,Who thinks it has the Moral right to tell the Great un washed what to do and think.

    • Mike says:

      08:12am | 15/09/12

      Sounds like the “Occupy” movement - just with a different name, now that they aren’t in the media anymore.

      Funny how such groups seem to think that having money or lots of it is evil, yet, readily accept monetary donations !

    • George says:

      10:34am | 15/09/12

      +1. Just a bunch of white man hating chardonnay socialists like the Greens. They pretend to be for the environment but want about 10 bazillion immigrants here. Preferably Muslim ones. The most misogynist and homophobic religion and the one that advocates capital punishment.


    • Alfie says:

      07:52am | 15/09/12

      “GetUp! received a ‘small’ donation of $1.12 million from the CFMEU.”

      Their credibility as an independent organisation Got-Up and left a long time ago.

    • Fred says:

      03:19pm | 15/09/12

      $1.12million just think what a Hostel for Isolated Students could do with that.

    • Frances says:

      08:04am | 15/09/12

      Thank you! Finally some wants to hold them accountable.

    • Best Interest says:

      08:06am | 15/09/12

      As long as we don’t stop the good that they are doing.

    • I hate pies says:

      09:03am | 15/09/12

      And what’s that? Ramming their views down peoples throats, and unequitably influencing policy?
      There’s no rooms for organisations like this - get rid of them all, on both sides of politics. If you want to have the influence of a political party, become a politcal party; otherwise, piss off and let us form our own opinions.

    • Best Interest says:

      12:10pm | 15/09/12

      Geez do all you people just sit around trying to find things to hate?

      What is wrong with you?


      YOU are what is wrong with this country and society.

      Get a bit of positivity into your lives for crying out loud.


    • Cynicised says:

      12:20pm | 15/09/12

      Rubbish, IHP. Lobby groups are a fact of life in politics on both sides. Do you think industries ie people like Gina Rhinhart, (and Mr Emery here, who works for the Minerals Council of NSW) don’t lobby government and us poor voters? And not always transparently, either. Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. The alternative is to have five hundred political parties like Italy, and look what that gets them - unworkable chaos.

    • I hate pies says:

      04:23pm | 15/09/12

      You’ve missed my point Cynised - there’s room for lobby groups, but GetUp is different to a lobby group. They campaign on political party lines, and they campaign for many and various policies, just like a political party. A lobby group, generally, has a specific interest they are trying to protect, and are only trying to influence the specific policy that affects them.
      Not at all Best Interest - just because I don’t agree with GetUp doesn’t make me “what’s wrong with this country and society”. What you say to me is an insult, and reflective of the shut-down nature of political debate in this country. I mean, how could allowing people to form their own opinions be bad for the country unless, of course, you are trying to shut down debate. And what’s with the generalisation about negativity? How about I make a generalisation - why don’t you pinko lefties go and work for your own money rather than trying to take other peoples. And get a hair cut and have a shave. Seriously? What’s wrong with you? Grow up and take some responsiblity for yourself.

    • P. Walker says:

      08:06am | 15/09/12

      Thank you Brad Emery for an insight to this movement.  I am now aware of their position, not that I didn’t know their political leanings.  Proof is good to hear.

    • Unaligned says:

      08:08am | 15/09/12

      Geez- donations from CFMEU?
      As a GetUp member I need re-visit their policy on refugees and same sex marriage to see whether that aligns with the current govt.

      btw - strange choice of picture and caption.

    • Futureproof says:

      08:12am | 15/09/12

      Just wasted five minutes of my time examining their website.  Delete the GetUp banner and insert The Greens banner

    • Monty says:

      08:38am | 15/09/12

      “Accepting such a sum from one of Australia’s largest and most militant unions, with direct links to the Australian Labor Party, may explain some of GetUp!’s anti-conservative, anti-Coalition, anti-mining, anti-capitalist campaigns.”

      No, I think the fact that they are a progressive, left leaning lobbying group is the reason for their campaigns and people with shared values donate to them. Are conservative groups against the mining tax only because of the money they receive from donors?

      Are conservative lobby groups required to be as “transparent” as GetUp? Are they going to be subject to the same demands to “stand up and admit who they really are or sit down and be quiet.”. Methinks not.

    • marley says:

      09:08am | 15/09/12

      @Monty - are you seriously describing the CFMEU as a progressive group?  I’d have thought they were stuck back in the ‘50s, myself.

      Conservative lobby groups have been much criticised for their lack of transparency in regard to funding.  The point is that Get!Up shouldn’t be exempt from similar criticism.

    • Bill says:

      10:25am | 15/09/12

      Monty - you couldnt’ be more wrong.

      Get up is not progressive. Quite the opposite in fact. Its reactionary, 1940s political attitude has no place in 21st century Australia.

      It is not ‘left leaning’. It is completely far left wing with no support from intelligent Australians. The sooner it and that other radical left wing organisation (the Greens) disappear the better off we all will be.

    • Monty says:

      11:45am | 15/09/12

      Marley, no I’m not calling the CFMEU a progressive group, I’m calling GetUp a progressive group. They both share similar values on some issues though. The inference that GetUp only hold these views because of a donation from a union is ridiculous.

      Calls for transparency in conservative or business groups such as the IPA, ACCB, etc have hardly come from mainstream news sources (especially News Ltd). Even those calls haven’t come with the demand of “shutting up”. The attacks on GetUp are nothing more than the rights efforts to silence, not combat, dissenting views.

      Bill, the fact you regard the Greens as ‘radical’ left wingers shows just how skewed your political and moral compass is. Wanting to process refugees in Australia or scaling back coal mining doesn’t make you Lenin reincarnate.

    • View from the centre says:

      12:03pm | 15/09/12

      Getup campaigns include:
      Marine parks
      Mental Health reforms
      Banning of Live export
      Saving Native forests
      Charter of Human Rights for Victorians
      Pokies reform
      No Children in detention
      NO to the internet filter.

      Far left wing? Nah campaign that make sense.
      Policies of the 1940’s?
      Nah, You must have getup confused with the LNP.

    • marley says:

      04:15pm | 15/09/12

      @Monty - hell, I’m not asking for GetUp to shut up.  I’m asking them, and their right-wing counterparts, to come clean about their funding and their political affiliations.  That way, we can all get a better handle on the level of independence they claim to exercise.

      I’m asking for more, not less, information. You’d want to know if a climate change sceptic was being funded by the petroleum industry, or whether a critic of the pokies laws was getting money from the AHA, and you’d take that into consideration in weighing what they have to say.  If GetUP were to suddenly come forward with radical proposals for the Fair Work Act, it’s relevant to know that they’re getting big bucks from a union.

      Why does everything have to be left vs right?  Why can’t the same standards and expectations apply to all sides, and the same criticism as well when they both fail to meet those standards?

    • Alfie says:

      08:41am | 15/09/12

      I’m thinking of starting an ‘independent’ group to oppose the Gillard government. I will call it Get-Out.

    • pa_kelvin says:

      12:20pm | 15/09/12

      Sign me up .....Where do I pay my dues…..Hope it doesn’t cost me as much as I’m paying now…....... smile

    • mcben47 says:

      08:54am | 15/09/12

      Surely in these days of “Truth in Advertising” the ACCC should be asking for a please explain on this point made in the story
      GetUp!’s website states ‘GetUp! is a not-for-profit organisation and relies on small donations to fund its work and in-kind donations from the Australian public. GetUp! does not accept donations from political parties or the Government.’ I won’t hold my breath however as that mob are the toothless tigers when it comes to something near to the heart of government

    • iansand says:

      09:13am | 15/09/12

      Do the policies follow the money or does the money follow the policies?  The same question applies to the IPA.  Has anyone tracked a change of direction after donations to either GetUP! or the IPA?

    • marley says:

      11:16am | 15/09/12

      I don’t know that it matters much.  Are climate change sceptics saying what they say because they’re getting paid by Big Oil, or are they getting funding from Big Oil because they promote a point of view that Big Oil agrees with? 

      The important thing to know is who’s getting funding from where, so you can take it into account when assessing the value and independence of the opinion being presented. 

      Writers of scientific papers pretty much always identify sources of funding and any potential conflicts.  Maybe groups like GetUp! and the IPA should be required to do the same.

    • rebarr says:

      09:42am | 15/09/12

      Monty you seem to have missed the point of the article which is that Get up claims to be unaligned.

    • GetUp Member says:

      09:44am | 15/09/12

      As a GetUp member and someone who voted for the coalition at the last election, I can assure all, they have taken on the current government on many issues with mixed success, they are NOT just anti-conservative, they represent their many hundreds of thousand supporters on issues that concern all of us. Receiving donations form the CFMEU should be of far less concern than receiving donations from the tobacco industry, one cares about their members the other cares only about profits with no concern for the health of their clients!

    • pa_kelvin says:

      12:25pm | 15/09/12

      “hundreds of thousand supporters”.............I think thats a furfy…

    • DocBud says:

      12:46pm | 15/09/12

      My son-in-law to be is a member of the ETU but is also a member of the CFMEU, not because he wants to pay double union fees but because he has seen the bullying of others who dare to not be members of the CFMEU. If the CFMEU truly cared about its members it would not give their money away to political organisations and parties, especially ones campaigning against the coal industry. In reality they don’t give a stuff about their members, the union movement is primarily about well paid jobs for union officers, support for the Labor Party and a stepping stone to politics. Any benefit its members get is purely coincidental.

    • I hate pies says:

      02:20pm | 15/09/12

      Haha - the CFMEU cares about its members! That’s golden. Seriously, why does ideology trump intelligence so often? Why are lefties so blind that they can’t even notice their own ripping them off? Fools

    • GetUp Member says:

      05:51pm | 15/09/12

      I hate pies - I actually voted for the coalition at the last election.

      My point with the CFMEU…They are doing less harm to their members than the harm that the tobacco industry is causing society, I have never been a union member but I have seen the damage caused by tobacco, I think it is hypocritical for any organisation to accept money from the tobacco industry while at the same time criticising unions.

      pa_kelvin - I think you’re wrong.

    • Alfie says:

      06:06pm | 15/09/12

      I suppose wasting union money on Get-Up is better than spending it on hookers? No…wait a minute….

    • Tony Marphis says:

      10:04am | 15/09/12

      This article is hard to take seriously when the author Brad Emery is Director of Media and Public Affairs at the NSW Minerals Council, it may be his opinion but it it hardly unbiased.

    • marley says:

      11:54am | 15/09/12

      That’s an “ad hominem” attack. 

      If you think he’s wrong, address his point.  Is GetUp being hypocritical in describing itself as non-aligned while taking vast donations from the CFMEU? I say yes:  it’s clearly politically aligned.  There’s nothing wrong with that, but it should be honest about it, rather than let people believe it really is a grass-roots organisation independent of partisan politics.

    • Cynicsed says:

      12:03pm | 15/09/12

      Bingo! Gotta love the hypocrisy. The author is asking for transparency from a left wing lobby group yet his own bio on this site states he’s a media advisor for “an industry group”. Yeah, transparent as glass. Not. His agenda becomes glaringly obvious when you know who he works for. Practice what you preach, Emery.

    • Cookookachoo says:

      05:24pm | 15/09/12

      Of course the piece is biased… Even if this guy wrote jingles for ads for a living or painted rocks white, he is making a stand against a group he obviously opposed to.  Why does it matter where he works? 

      Besides I think he has admitted he works for an industry group and anyone with the brain cells to use Google could find him with that reference alone.  I don’t think he’s trying to hide - otherwise he would use a pseudonym.

      Take a longer run up and get over yourself Tony.

    • Tony Marphis says:

      06:01pm | 15/09/12

      marley - I honestly believe GetUp is a grass-roots organisation independent of partisan politics…what more can I say?

      Plus whether my comment regarding the Author was “ad hominem” or not is irrelevant…I was merely pointing out a fact that was omitted from his bio on The Punch, there’s nothing wrong with a bit of honesty now and then, is there marley?

    • Achmed says:

      10:07am | 15/09/12

      The institute of Public Affairs is a conservation right wing think tank that is named in a way to make people believe it is some kind og quasi government organisation. Deceptive.
      But at least i can go to their website and see who the Board members and directors are.  Unlike GetUp who choose to hide and keep secret who are their governing people.  I hate secret organisations and organisations that keep secrets

    • mel says:

      05:26pm | 15/09/12

      Achmed, have you actually gone to the GetUp website and had a look at one of their Annual Reports? I had a look at the 2010-11 version: it listed the seven board members there.
      Nothing secret at all, but I suppose a rabid rant is better than calm research to some people.

    • Liz says:

      10:09am | 15/09/12

      Great article, I have been asking the same questions you raise in this piece for a long time.  Where does the money come from GETUP! and who are your real backers? Are these only based in Australia or could they be some of the wealthiest people in the world????

    • Taryn says:

      10:09am | 15/09/12

      I agree with Monty in part, but I also believe that GetUp has tried to define and market itself as something quite different as a group. It has certainly sought to pitch itself as independent, community based and activist, and as trying to influence they system from outside and giving people a voice. And on those grounds, I don’t think GetUp stands up. It is certainly a popular organisation and it has certainly had some success, but I think it’s time for some more critical thinking.  And any organisation once it gets to a certain level of influence in the public conversation, has to be ready for this kind of scrutiny and debate.

      I removed myself from its list some time ago for many of the reasons in this article, and my conclusion that GetUp’s model is little more than PR for populist issues already well and truly on the public radar. I’ve also been concerned by what I think is an absence of policy thinking and advocacy on the issues they promote. As a community based activist in a particular community of interest I find the claims of activism by GetUp to be hugely problematic. 

      What I’d like to see is an organisation that supports activists in their own communities through sharing and developing the range of skills and networks that successful activism needs, and also providing a broader audience and platform when needed to help raise the profile of an issue.

    • Dan says:

      10:27am | 15/09/12

      A quick google search reveals Brad Emery, the “contributor”, is of course the Director of Media and Public Affairs for the NSW Minerals Council.

      A fact left out from the tail of the article, or the hyperlinked author bio.

      Seems Mr Emery doesn’t always practice the transparency he preaches. It certainly he explains why he feels the Australia Institute’s report on mining was “riddled with unfounded assumptions and technical inaccuracies, failing the most basic tests of fair and comparative research.” Also, his strong opinions on organizations like the CFMEU.

      Why should GetUp be more transparent? They’re not a Government body. Their many thousands of individual donors, the millions who sign their petitions, attend their rallies, read their publications, seem satisfied by the job they’re doing. They’re a private entity - without those members, they lose relevance (and since Simon Sheik left, I feel their public profile has dimmed somewhat).

      Much like the NSW Minerals Council. If they’re not doing an effective job advocating the interests of their paying members, they will fail.

    • marley says:

      12:10pm | 15/09/12

      What you’re saying is that private entities don’t need to be transparent.  Fair enough.

      Does this mean you have no problems with the IPA trying to hid the fact that it gets money from Big Tobacco?  Now I have a problem with that, myself.  But you can’t, because you just said private entities don’t need to be transparent. And what’s good for the goose has to be good for the gander?  Right?

      But,  here’s a thought. If you claim to your members that you are an independent, grass roots organisation which will hold all politicians to account, yet you are actually heavily funded by a union with heavy political involvement in one political party, are you perhaps misrepresenting yourself to your members?  Do they actually know that they are involved in an organisation which is representing not just their views, but those of one of the more thuggish unions in the country?  Do you, as a private organisation, not have a duty to be honest with those grassroots members you claim to represent?

    • Best Interest says:

      12:14pm | 15/09/12

      Thank you Dan.

      Strange to find a voice of reasoned common sense amongst the great Troll Crusade that infests these Punch posts.

    • SimpleSimon says:

      10:27am | 15/09/12

      Whilst I don’t disagree that transparency is paramount, I think there’s a level of irony in the “Director of Media and Public Affairs at NSW Minerals Council” attempting to use accusations of hidden agendas to discredit the organisation that funded the ‘Pouring Fuel on the Fire’ report.

    • Gratuitous Adviser says:

      10:35am | 15/09/12

      Great idea Brad, this is your best piece yet. 

      Let’s start with “works as a media manager for an industry group in Sydney”.  Who is the industry group and why the secret? 

      We then will follow with Getup, the unions, the Sydney institute, Mr A Downer’s company and let’s see; Why not all on the Australian Government Register of Lobbyists.

    • mikem says:

      10:58am | 15/09/12

      Some people just don’t get it that you don’t have to be a strong follower of a political party to have a political view on an issue.  Political parties are unresponsive to issues raised by their members because of their undemocratic structure and rigid control policies.  What they do respond to though is public opinion and that is where direct action campaigns can have an impact.  That is why organisations like GetUp exist and work.  Politicians will need to get used to it because that is the new political landscape.

    • marley says:

      01:42pm | 15/09/12

      But the point is, GetUp is very closely aligned to one political party, so it’s really just part of the political structure, not the independent body it claims to be.  It’s not a new political landscape at all.

    • stephen says:

      12:09pm | 15/09/12

      If the CFMEU is now irrelevant to policy and societal formations, then what is wrong with them financing drop-out Uni students and failed academics to bring to our attention matters that no current political party has the - sorry, I meant to say no Union - has the clout to investigate.
      Unions have been dictating social policy in this country for too long now, (and from the lowest common denominator, up) and Get Up! is their last gasp.

    • thatmosis says:

      01:15pm | 15/09/12

      In my book Get Up is an irrelevant organisation funded by the Unions to dig muck, be it true or no, on the Opposition and therefore not worth even reading or listening too.

    • Muggles says:

      01:27pm | 15/09/12

      Get Up! are a front for the “progressive” left of the Labor and Greens.  Simple as that.

      Far from being objective and unbiased, they are unelected political players.

      They are stridently anti-Coaltion, and specifically anti-Abbott.  (Or more accurately, anti-Coalition-leader-of-the-day).

      Basically, they are a sham.

    • BJ says:

      01:30pm | 15/09/12

      $!.12 million is alot of money that is supposed to be spent on getting a better deal for the workers. I am sure that Get-up has a set of political views that won’t get much support on a building site.

    • pa_kelvin says:

      03:29pm | 15/09/12

      If GetUp are so great and have as many members as stated in some of the posts here, why do they not start their own Political Party???

    • GetUp Member says:

      06:14pm | 15/09/12

      pa_kelvin…With the greatest respect, if you had a better understanding of what GetUp is about (don’t believe the hype) then you would realise what you said would defeat the whole purpose for their very existence, they would simply be another political party with their snouts in the trough. GetUp have taken more stances against the current government that what many people care to realise, they are far from being lap dogs for the ALP and Greens.

    • A Concerned Citizen says:

      04:19pm | 15/09/12

      Just introduce binding “Citizen Initiated Referenda” and the problem would be solved. Lobby groups would not be able to sway politicians over policy because the public could simply vote on it if they choose.

    • Tory Maguire

      Tory Maguire says:

      11:11am | 18/09/12

      This is a statement from Serena Rogers, Director of Media and Operations at The Australia Institute:

      Mr Emery criticises The Australia Institute’s paper yet he makes no attempt to outline where he believes we, or our sources, got it wrong. The figures quoted in our paper come from the ATO’s Australian Taxation Statistics, Treasury’s Tax Expenditure Statement and the Productivity Commission’s Trade and Assistance Review. With regard to the paper being commissioned by GetUp, the acknowledgement is on page 1 and you have to pass it to get to the substance of the paper. Indeed, far from trying to bury it in the ‘small print’, it is in exactly the same size font as the rest of the paper. In the spirit of transparency, the Institute received $4,400 (inc. GST). I’m not aware of it being standard practice for organisations to disclose an amount in an acknowledgement but if Mr Emery can point to examples of this then we’re happy to take that on board. Finally, I find it interesting that Mr Emery should write an article calling for greater transparency while criticising our paper on the mining industry, yet when I read his Punch bio it did not disclose that his day job is Director of Media and Public Affairs at the NSW Minerals Council.


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