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Friday Analysis: Charities do not invade, or encourage illegal behaviour

It’s hard not to applaud Liberal Senator Claire Chandler’s call for the Bob Brown Foundation’s charity status to be revoked. What has irked the Tasmanian Senator is the foundation’s online funding page which seeks tax-deductible donations for its activism. This, she says, should be the “final straw” for its charitable status. Source: Bruce Mitchell

In terms of some doubtful “charities” it’s not a new argument, but the case of the Bob Brown Foundation probably deserves further examination by the appropriate authorities.

The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission has already set a precedent.

In November last year, Aussie Farms Inc was stripped of its charity status.

At the time Aussie Farms was running a website listing the private details of thousands of Australian farming families and encouraging activists to take part in farm invasions. In fact, the website and map are still up.

The group sparked outrage among farming organisations and propelled the little-known outfit into the national spotlight after Prime Minister Scott Morrison branded the activists as “grubs” and pledged to strengthen trespass laws.

Agriculture Minister David Littleproud at the time welcomed the decision.

“This is a win for common sense,” Minister Littleproud said.

“Charities do not invade people’s privacy and encourage illegal behaviour,” he said.

That’s worth repeating – charities do not invade people’s privacy and encourage illegal behaviour.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack then flagged the potential for “sterner and tougher” crackdowns on activist group Animal Farms.

It was a huge win for the livestock industry. It surely sets a precedent for Senator Chandler to prosecute her case.

Predictably, the Greens countered with mind-boggling arrogance. Greens Leader Cassy O’Connor said logging was not an essential service and should cease during the pandemic.


Perhaps as many people as possible should write to the good Senator voicing support for her call. The address is 152 Macquarie Street, Hobart 7000.

The timber industry needs all the support it can get, particularly after this week’s Federal Court decision which has thrown the native timber into chaos.

The court found that VicForests had not followed what appear to be conflicting Federal and State Government rules to protect endangered species.

Its ramifications could extend beyond Victoria to logging operations in other states by throwing doubt over the future of Regional Forest Agreements.

And AFPA CEO Mr Ross Hampton said the livelihoods of tens of thousands of workers in Tasmania, Victoria, NSW, and Western Australia are at stake if the questions about RFAs are not urgently resolved.

It can only be hoped that the Federal Government can urgently sort this one out.

At least the New South Wales Government has shown it support for the timber industry, with Deputy Premier and Minister responsible for Forestry John Barilaro visited Blowering Nursery in Tumut this week to kick off the seedling season.

Mr Barilaro emphasised a recent $46 million funding boost for regrowing state forests highlighted the sustainable nature of the forestry industry.

It would be petty to link the funding, the visit and the words of support with the forthcoming Eden-Monaro by-election.

But it is a timely reminder for the people in the electorate where the NSW Government, and the Coalition, stands.