Peter Whish-Wilson, Greens Senator for Tasmania, provides the following comments on the Liberals’ use of a House of Representative inquiry to persecute groups advocating for environmental protections. The government-controlled House of Representatives Committee on the Environment is currently inquiring, at the Environment Minister’s request, into the tax-deductibility status of environmental organisations with a hearing held in Hobart today.
Senator Whish-Wilson said, “Make no mistake, the government is gunning for groups who advocate for the environment but it’s not going to stop there.
“This inquiry into environment groups isn’t simply a witch hunt, it is just one small part of the larger Spanish Inquisition.
“This isn’t just about environmental groups. This is about the Liberals trying to intimidate and silence any community voices that they disagree with.
“Whether you are an environmental group, a human rights advocate or a doctor who is brave enough to highlight abuses in detention centres, the Liberals want you silenced.
“This is a government that isn’t focussed on the major challenges facing Australia. This is a government that prefers to spend its energy in attempts to persecute those who it perceives as its enemies.
“Furthermore, this is an attempt to delegitimise community involvement in the policy-making process. The Liberals are happy for a business to claim its payments to a lobbyist as a tax deduction but are trying to prevent a member of the community who wants to support an advocacy group from having the same privilege.
“This strategy will backfire. It will bring environmental and community groups closer together to fight the Abbott government and throw them out at the next election,” he concluded.