Contributed by Ugly
Environmental activist organisation Friends of the Earth has joined the campaign to defeat an attack on environment and other community groups by removing their charitable status. This will restrict their ability to raise funds.
On 7 December, the Turnbull government announced the appointment of Gary Johns, as the head of the Australian Charities and Non-Profits Commission, the body responsible for granting charitable status. This is a political appointment, for the purpose of applying the government’s policy.
In doing this, it is falling in line with the long running campaign being waged by the Minerals Council, the peak body of the mining industry, fuelled by an obsession to restrict the effectiveness of of organisations defending the environment. Members of the Council are major contributors to the Liberal and National parties that make up the Coalition in government and its no surprise that Turnbull and his team return the favour.
Gary Johns is one of the most public opponents of environmental organisations.
At a time when the threat of global warming and destruction of the environment, for example the Great Barrier Reef, have become more intense, the attack on these organisations takes on an even more sinister shape. Sustainability is far more important than digging holes in the ground and continuing to build the use of coal, oil and gas.
There is no doubt that the Minerals Council is being driven by the success of the campaigns against coal seam gas (fracking) and Adani’s Carmichael coal mine.
However, the threat affects more than environmental organisations. The whole not for profit sector is under threat and this means that a whole range of valuable and necessary services are as well.
The Turnbull government wants to hurt them and Gary Johns is also a vigorous opponent of the whole not for profit sector.
Friends of the Earth has taken up this issue and insists that the work put in by thousands of volunteers must be respected and valued as important contributions to Australian society.
This offensive is meant to interfere with the important work of the not for profit sector, by damaging the organisations that are coordinating this work.
It is clear that pressure need to build until this is turned around and Gary Johns is removed form his present post.
Friends of the Earth are asking people to send emails though the following link.