The GetUp story
While researching this article, I tried to be mindful of my
personal experiences with GetUp both as one of the many people who clicked like
and instantly became a member, and as one who has personally endured their
deceitful practices on more than one occasion. I still receive their emails, so
I am sure I remain one of their quoted 400,000 supporters, which begs the
question “How many of the quoted 400,000 supporters genuinely are?”
My first experience with GetUp, was to support their save
the senate campaign, which seemed as it was designed, as a grass roots campaign
to support democracy, something very close to my heart, the idea was to ensure
no one party controlled the senate, well that is what the campaign appeared to
be, “Come meet your local senate candidates” and become informed.
I have always believed that the day our representatives were
chosen by the Free will of an informed electorate will be the day we see the
change we all seek.
GetUp had their own agenda, and it was not to support grass
roots democracy, as I quickly found out when I attended their first forum,
seems only senate candidates chosen by GetUp where welcome, not as their email
had explained, Independents, some minor parties and the Liberals were not
welcome, it seems the word “Independent” to Getup means Labor/Greens, how would
I have known.
Seems since then the agenda has remained the same, with
Getup regularly taking up issues that either attack the liberal government or
promote the Labor/Greens coalition, even there on-line “How to vote” guide and
sms service was found wanting, as regardless of how a person filled in the
questionnaire, Labor or the Greens was the resulting answer, and trust me I
tried every combination.
The Australian Electoral commission were the first to be
questioned on GetUp’s “Misleading and Deceptive” conduct, as was the Court of
Disputed returns, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, were also
asked to investigate their back ground, but as usual a slap on the wrists
wasn’t even made public, by now I decided to do some research myself.
In brief 2 people, Jeremy Heimans and David Madden formed
GetUp in 2005, some information links have recently been closed, but they reign
from one of several similar lobby groups, MoveOn.org established in 1998, and
Avaaz.org a similar political lobby group. Heimans history links appear to now
be missing, Madden has a history with the World Bank and the United Nations,
both are included in the top 10 people who have influence in world politics, both
have also been accused more than once of being Labor policy supporters, so is
Their first executives included Evan Thornley (Labor, Fabian
Society) Bill Shorten (Labor) and Cate Faehrman (Greens) and more recently Skye
Laris (Labor, Rann and Tony Burke) along with several Union officials,
previously aligned with the Labor party.
The group advisory board with history in similar groups
included Tony Lake (CIA, UN, Politics) Gary Hart (US senator) and Leon Fuerth
(Advisor to Al Gore) as well as their largest donor George Soros.
GetUp’s donors have changed over the last few years,
Australian workers unions are their largest donor, followed by individuals with
similar connections to the picture already painted, Joseph Skrzynski a major donor,
was just appointed a lucrative seat with SBS by the Labor Party, Ex Telstra,
AUSTAR, and other multinational players divert past labor support, to donate
heavily to GetUp, many dead ends from links relating to funding and the recent
financials of GetUp make the story even more intriguing.
Brett Solomon tidies up the direct connections between
GetUp, AVAAZ and Accessnow.org , Simon Sheikh is now put up by the media as the
brains behind GetUp, but so many big players have their hand in the GetUp pie, with
their other groups having direct links to people like George Soros.
I would think that their most recent campaign to demand a
price on Carbon, is the nail in the coffin when seeking the truth, with GetUp
backing Gillards new carbon tax, with out the details even being on the table,
let alone passed by the house, and the ideal of a grass roots campaign is
soured by the fact 146 of our 150 federal representatives were recently elected
on a promise “Not to introduce a Carbon Tax”.
Simon Shiekhs words “We are the last line of defense for
mother nature” not only makes a mockery of our 4.5 billion years of existence,
but belittles the use of the words “Carbon Pollution” to describe Co2 the very
gas that feeds the forests they stand to protect or do they?
Don Mercer’s sudden disappearance from GetUp may just
warrant further investigation, with long links to Orica ltd, Shell petroleum
and Newcrest mining ltd, not something that supports GetUp’s green agenda, just
ask the Indonesians.
GetUps most recent idea of allowing all members to submit
ideas for future campaigns seems, on the surface, a promising example of
grassroots democracy. However, regardless of how many votes a campaign
suggestion might generate, the GetUp executive maintains the power to veto any
issue they don’t consider consistent with their organisation’s agenda.
Tony Abbot himself entered the debate, regarding the human
rights of Gillards intension to process asylum seekers of shore, knowing too
well, GetUp could not oppose the Labors government’s position. GetUp have made
a habit of denying many issues put up by their supporters, regardless of the
support from their own members, in once case saying “A few people try to
game the system by flooding certain campaign suggestions with votes from fake
accounts” so what does that say about their membership quota, let alone
their online grass roots actions remaining valid?
It seems strange that a so-called grassroots democracy
movement, which is rarely shy to boast about its membership base of over 400,000,
would suddenly take such a dismissive attitude to many of these same members
when they overwhelmingly vote in favor of an issue, which a select few
individuals at head office don’t approve. Coincidentally in each case they were
issues, which went against the Labor/Greens agenda.
Misinformation and missing information is not my idea of a
genuine and honest grass roots peoples movement, in fact it reminds me more
about what our system of politics has become in the eyes of the electorate,
“promise and do what ever is needed to achieve an agenda” rather than working
towards what the people themselves prefer.
reports for both the 06/07 and 07/08 financial years are both absent from its
website, which also claims replacements for
Thornley and Shorten are “imminent”, well that was years ago, and they still
remain heavily involved, and copies of their reports I saved years ago, clearly
show both as large donors to Getup.
I must admit to
being confused by GetUp’s financials, when they proudly announce their “Not for
Profit status” while spending excessive amounts on wages and administration.
The ASIC filings reveal a massive $1 million wages bill, an issue former
Executive Director Brett Solomon was grilled on in 2007. The $2.2 million gap between
total donations ($3.4 million) and political expenditure ($1.2 million) would
indicate a significant proportion of total revenue is spent on
day-to-day running costs, on top of a huge wages bill, but where are the
“Divide and conquer”
is a relevant saying here and clouding the truth is an integral part of
maintaining the divide, just like the words “climate change” rather than
“Environmental protection” continue to divide opinion, we may all back the
later words, but unity is not part of the plan, and haven’t we all had enough
of games when it comes to our future?
While the people of
the world continue to reward false promise and deception, our path will remain
in the same direction, genuine grass roots unity is the only way forward, and a
large part of that is seeing through the lies and deceit, which if we all sit
back and reflect on what we all know, is not that hard.
It may be the case
genuine grass roots movements like the Alliance, have no chance with out big
money and the almighty spin machine, as if we the people simply can not unite
without others pulling our strings, in the same way our supposed
representatives must adhere to policy direction not of the peoples choosing,
lets hope that is not the case.
PS' GetUp achieved exactly what they wanted, in 2007 they wanted to ensure Liberal did not own the senate, even though the liberal allowed their senators to cross the floor, it was never about independents holding the balance as their campaign appeared to support, it was about their masters Labor/Greens, and as of July 2011 they now own the senate, sad