Thursday, 16 November 2017
That the Senate—
(a) notes that political activist organisation GetUp!:
(i) was seed-funded by organisations closely connected with Mr George Soros, a renowned globalist and funder of socialist politicians and causes,
(ii) has provided and received support for left-of-centre political parties, trade unions and other organisations, and
(iii) has actively campaigned like a political party, and in every such instance, against right-of-centre politicians during election periods; and
(b) affirms that GetUp! is deserving of greater electoral regulation or scrutiny, given its impact upon our political process, economic development, support for litigation against major job-creating projects, border protection policies, national security, sovereignty and our institutions.
Labor will be opposing this motion. Electoral regulation, particularly in the form of determining whether third parties have met the requirements to be determined as associated entities, is a matter for the Australian Electoral Commission. The AEC is an independent body, one vital for the operation of our democracy, and Labor won't be supporting any undermining of this independence. This motion comes after a long line of attacks from conservative members in this place—
Honourable senators interjecting—
some of them interjecting now—bitter that people might actually organise and campaign against their terrible decision-making. I'm not sure who Senator Bernardi is referring to when he states GetUp! sides with left-wingers, but, judging by the fact that they've previously supported his good factional friend Stephen Marshall in South Australia, Labor understands his apprehension.
There was a time when upholding the democratic principles was the key tenet of conservative thinking, but not anymore. What we're seeing is an unprecedented attack on civil society not just from Senator Bernardi but, indeed, from the conservatives in the Liberal Party. We saw that unprecedented attack in the raid of the AWU offices, where we had the media there before the police arrived. We've seen the attack on civil society organisations in the ban on foreign donations—for example, organisations like Oxfam, who would be prevented from advocating for more aid to poorer countries. This is an assault on democracy. Of course, if we're talking about taking money to advance causes, let's look at the roll call of organisations that are lining up to fill the pockets of the LNP.
I put the motion. The question is that notice of motion No. 582, standing in the name of Senator Bernardi, be agreed to. I think the ayes have it. The final notice of motion is No. 585, standing in the name of Senator Whish-Wilson.