Attack on civic right to defend nature

 

Why is the federal government concerned about the activities of environment groups?

As reported in The Conversation in early 2015:

"The environmental register was established as an incentive for citizens and corporations to fund organisations that are active in the public sphere, while also feeding into the logic of small government and shifting the burden of catering for social needs back onto the community.

In Australia, an environmental organisation is defined as a body or society whose primary purpose is to protect the environment or conduct education and research.

Importantly, however, in 2010 the High Court ruled that groups with tax-deductible status also have the right to engage in political debate and advocacy. The judgement described the freedom to speak out on political issues as “indispensable" for “representative and responsible government."

On the 26th March 2015, the Australian House of Representatives Standing Committee established an inquiry into the Register of Environmental Organisations.

Why should I care?

How will we campaign if we don’t have the resources to fight for the Reef? The Kimberly? The Franklin? Kakadu? If groups advocating on behalf of  lose tax deductibility it will be much harder for all of us to protect the environment and places we love.

The tax deductibility of donations to environmental advocacy groups are directly affected by this inquiry is at risk. Find out more about the inquiry here.